Archive for the ‘Tom Bakk’ Category
The SC Times Editorial Board isn’t as unflinchingly liberal as the Strib’s Editorial Board but it’s a close second in Minnesota. This editorial isn’t the worst that they’ve published but it’s still a cheerleading editorial.
For instance, this editorial says “Earlier, the Times Editorial Board gave this advice to Gov. Mark Dayton: Don’t call a special session. Make the lawmakers deal with the consequences of failing to find agreement on some major legislation.” Clearly, the Times Editorial Board is picking Gov. Dayton’s side. It’s as if they’re absolving him of any responsibility for the trainwreck.
Gov. Dayton isn’t innocent in all this. He’s the idiot that vetoed the Tax Bill that would’ve provided tax relief to small businesses, farmers, students with crushing student loan debt, parents trying to save for their kids’ college education and military veterans. Is the Times Editorial Board cheering this disastrous decision? That’s what it looks like.
Dayton’s glum status report: “We’re moving backward.”
Gov. Dayton ought to know. He’s the politician who’s moving things backwards. During the session, he signed a supplemental spending bill. It wasn’t for nearly the amount that he’d originally wanted. Gov. Dayton is now insisting that a special session won’t be called until Speaker Daudt agrees to give him the rest of his spending request.
Thankfully, Speaker Daudt rejected that demand. Meanwhile, the Times apparently doesn’t care that hard-working blue collar people have gotten deprived of tax relief thanks to the actions of a spoiled trust fund liberal. Listen to Sen. Hann’s opening statement in this video. It’s quite compelling:
Dayton’s limousine liberalism and his my-way-or-the-highway negotiating style sends the clear message that he puts his ideology ahead of doing the right thing for Minnesotans. Lumped in with that is the DFL itself.
Sen. Hann noted the bipartisan nature of the bonding/transportation bill. Now Gov. Dayton wants to essentially start over and include all of his priorities while refusing to accept Republicans’ proposals. That’s what obstructionist liberalism looks like.
Let’s be clear. If Sen. Bakk were a profile in courage, he’d break with Gov. Dayton and insist that Gov. Dayton call a special session to fix the Tax Bill. The fact that he’s stayed silent says everything.
Finally, why has Gov. Dayton and the DFL insisted on a bonding bill that funds Southwest Light Rail? Twin Cities progressives insist that it’s needed. They’ve never explained why it’s needed. That hasn’t mattered to the Times. Like an obedient puppy, they’ve refrained from asking important questions. That isn’t surprising, especially considering the Times’ puppy dog reputation.
Yesterday, negotiators from the Minnesota House and Senate theoretically met in the hopes of hammering out a bonding bill agreement. That wasn’t the DFL’s goal. DFL senators, led by Jeff Hayden, blamed Republicans for not getting the bonding bill passed.
The DFL used the same misleading arguments they’ve been using since the DFL Senate sabotaged a bill that had broad bipartisan support. Here’s what’s important to know. The House passed a $1,000,000,000 bonding bill without funding for SWLRT. SWLRT funding wasn’t part of the agreement reached by Speaker Daudt and Sen. Bakk. Simply put, it didn’t have the votes to pass in the House.
Key questions: Why does the DFL insist on pushing a controversial project that didn’t have the votes to pass? Isn’t that a definition of insanity? Isn’t that what you’d do if you wanted to prevent a bill from passing while blaming the other side for your obstruction?
Another tactic that the FL is using to deflect criticism from Gov. Dayton’s veto of the tax bill is talk about the $100,000,000 drafting error. The minute Gov. Dayton brought it up, Speaker Daudt agreed to fix it the minute a special session was called. Problem solved, right? In Sanityville, yes. In Dayton-DFLville, that molehill turned into a mountain. At least, that’s how some of Twin Cities media are playing it.
Simply put, Gov. Dayton vetoed a tax bill that a) provided tax relief to farmers, small businesses, students will college loan debt, veterans and parents saving for their kids’ college education and b) passed 178-22 in the House and Senate.
Key question: Doesn’t real leadership accept yes for an answer and move onto bonding bill negotiations?
Gov. Dayton and the DFL aren’t about fixing things, though. Their word salad automatically talks about ‘bringing people together’ and ‘making progress’. The DFL never talks about fixing problems. The DFL doesn’t talk about doing the right thing.
There’s a reason for that. The DFL doesn’t want to get to a point where things are running smoothly. The DFL doesn’t want to fix things. If that happened, people might expect that. If that happened, people might notice that they prefer limited government that gets the important things right all the time and worries about peripheral things once they’ve gotten the important things right. The day that that happens is the day that progressives are out of a job.
The DFL’s whining is aimed at one thing: regaining control of the House so they control state government again. Thoughtful people should reject that possibility ASAP. The last time the DFL ran St. Paul, taxes got raised, including property taxes, spending went through the roof and they checked off tons of things from their special interest allies’ wish lists.
As a result, capitol flight accelerated and young, productive, people left the state at a greater rate. If losing the border battle brain drain sounds appealing, vote DFL. If you want statewide prosperity, vote GOP. It’s that simple.
There’s an important question Minnesotans should ask themselves before they head to the polls this November. Should they vote for a political party that’s owned by the special interests? If they don’t want to vote for a political party that’s owned by the special interests, then they can’t vote for DFL candidates.
The child care unionization vote provides the perfect illustration of how much the DFL is owned by the special interests. On May 15, 2013, the Minnesota Senate debated the child care unionization bill for 17 hours. The bill passed 35-32, with 4 DFL senators joining all 28 Republicans in voting against the forced unionization legislation. Five days later, on May 20, 2013, the House passed the unionization bill 68-66.
The DFL passed the bill despite a strong self-organized marathon lobbying effort by the in-home child care providers. When the DFL took up the debate in the House of Representatives, in-home child care providers were legion in the halls outside the House chamber. Repeatedly, these child care providers told the few DFL legislators who would listen that they’d reject unionization.
That didn’t matter to the DFL. Mike Nelson, the DFL’s point person on all things unions, argued for passage of the bill. The DFL passed the bill by the narrowest of margins, 68-66.
Rather than listen to the people, the DFL listened to the special interests. The bill passed. The DFL bragged about another legislative victory to go along with raising taxes and making historic investments in schools.
The DFL’s victories were short-lived. Several of the taxes that they raised were repealed 9 months later. The “historic investments” in education were touted as a way to stop property tax increases. Less than a year later, school districts were raising property taxes to sustain their operating levies.
On March 1, 2016, in-home child care providers pounded the final nail in the DFL’s forced unionization plans, defeating the organizing effort with 1,014 child care providers voting against unionization and 392 child care providers voting for unionization. In-home child care providers rejected unionization by a 72%-28% margin. That didn’t surprise Jennifer Parrish:
We know that over the 10 years that we’ve been working on this that child-care providers are hands down overwhelmingly opposed to this. They were waiting by their mailboxes just so they could have an opportunity to vote no. Family child-care providers are small business owners. We set our own rates, we create our own working conditions, all the things that unions typically negotiate for, we determine for ourselves.
The DFL listened to the SEIU and AFSCME. Republicans listened to in-home child care providers. Remember that the next time you wonder which party to vote for.
Let’s be blunt about this. The DFL isn’t sad that Gov. Dayton vetoed the Tax Bill. Instead, a defiant DFL defended Gov. Dayton. For instance, said Rep. Tina Liebling said “The tax bill was put together very hastily and brought to the floor very hastily and had very little debate. It’s not too surprising to me that it had a $100 million error in it, and I think (the governor) was absolutely right to let it expire.”
Rep. Liebling is defending the indefensible. Thanks to Gov. Dayton’s stubbornness, small businesses ravaged by fire in Madelia, MN, won’t get the property tax relief they were waiting on. Shop owner Ryan Visher explained why the Tax Bill Gov. Dayton vetoed was so important, saying “And so we looked to Sen. Rosen and to Rep. Cornish and Rep. Gunther and asked what can help us do this because no developer is going to come into our town to develop that area so it came up to us, all 4 of us land owners, to redevelop that, to use our insurance proceeds and make it whole. The problem, though, with that is that the insurance money will build the building but now we’re gonna have a building that’s going to be valued at 5 times, 6 times than what it was originally and we probably can’t pay the taxes on that.”
Visher then explained his disappointment:
We’d have a great building that isn’t viable for us and so they came up with a plan to give us some tax relief and so both parties and both houses supported that and it got to the Governor’s desk. And the Governor was down here and he said that he would help us and he hasn’t yet and it’s unfortunate that being in outstate Minnesota, we’re being held hostage to some things that will only affect Metro.
Sen. Bakk said that setting up a special session should be easy. Sen. Hann’s response was as firm as it was swift:
The part that sticks out comes when Sen. Hann says “We agree with Gov. Dayton on the tax relief bill, and we should pass the bipartisan compromise transportation and infrastructure bill that was agreed to on the last day of session. We are not going to rehash the entire session by repeating negotiations on half a billion dollars of new spending demands.”
Gov. Dayton promised to help these shopkeepers in Madelia, MN. That’s what Minnesotans of all political persuasions have done throughout the years. This time, Gov. Dayton reneged on his promise to help the Madelia shopkeepers when he vetoed the Tax Bill. That isn’t a Minnesota tradition.
Gov. Dayton, prove that you just had a momentary lapse of judgment. Gov. Dayton, call a special session that passes the bonding bill before SWLRT funding was shoved down Minnesotans’ throats. Call that special session so that Mr. Visher and the other shopkeepers can get their lives restored rather than be held hostage in the name of political gamesmanship.
On Monday, I wrote this post to highlight Paul Thissen’s hypocrisy on a tax bill that got
strong overwhelming bipartisan support in the Minnesota legislature. Monday night, Matt Swenson confirmed that Gov. Dayton won’t sign this year’s tax relief bill, saying Dayton “will not sign a tax bill that includes a $101 million error.”
That’s BS. Gov. Dayton signed a tax bill in 2013 that contained far more than $101,000,000 in errors. Then, there was a DFL governor and DFL majorities in the Minnesota House and Minnesota Senate. That year’s tax bill included $90,000,000 for Sen. Bakk’s Senate Office Building. The DFL Tax Bill of 2013 applied, for the first time in Minnesota history, Minnesota’s sales tax to farm equipment repair, telecommunications equipment and warehousing operations. Those taxes were passed over the strenuous objections of the business community. According to this article, “Dayton’s plan would dramatically alter the state’s revenue streams. Over time, the state’s system has tilted toward the property tax, which supplies 40 percent of the state’s revenue. Income taxes provide 33 percent and 27 percent come from sales taxes. The overhaul would ensure that each of the three sources provided roughly a third of state revenue.”
If that’s accurate, then one-third of the Dayton-DFL tax increase came from the sales tax increase. That year’s tax increase was projected to be $2,250,000,000. When the DFL legislature went home after the 2013 session, they found out that the B2B sales tax increases were wildly unpopular. By August, the DFL had essentially admitted that those B2B sales tax increases were a mistake. The DFL didn’t issue a statement admitting it in those words. Rather, they admitted it by initially considering the repeal of the B2B sales taxes during that summer’s special session.
The repeal of those sales taxes didn’t happen during that summer’s special session. Instead, they were repealed in the regular 2014 session. Either way, the repeal of those sales taxes represented a mistake of over $350,000,000. Couple that with the $90,000,000 Senate Office Building and you’re talking well north of this year’s drafting error of $101,000,000.
It’s worth noting that the DFL’s tax mistake was a major policy mistake. They made a $400,000,000+ mistake by not understanding how counterproductive those tax increases were. In the case of the GOP Tax Bill’s mistake, it was simply a drafting mistake, something that happens multiple times each year. It’s an easy fix.
Gov. Dayton’s threat is now a reality.
Gov. Dayton isn’t being honest with Minnesotans. Here’s what Gov. Dayton demanded during negotiations for a special session:
The demands essentially call for about $423 million in additional spending, on top of the $183 million in additional spending this session, on top of the additional spending added last year when the state crafted its new two-year budget.
That means Gov. Dayton vetoed a bill that would’ve a) helped students pay off their student loan debt, b) helped parents save money for their kids’ college education and provided property tax relief to farmers and small businesses. Further, it’s been confirmed that Speaker Daudt suggested a meeting between the governor, Senator Bakk and himself and that Gov. Dayton refused to meet.
Gov. Dayton ignored Minnesotans’ needs. Gov. Dayton didn’t pay attention to the “farmers, parents and veterans” that Republicans brought to St. Paul to lobby Dayton. Instead, Gov. Dayton vetoed a tax bill that would’ve helped these Minnesotans because Republicans didn’t say yes to Gov. Dayton’s spending demands. Gov. Dayton said no to providing tax relief to thousands of Minnesotans because Republicans didn’t spend half of the surplus on Gov. Dayton’s and the DFL’s wish list.
Technorati: Mark Dayton, Pocket Veto, Paul Thissen, Tom Bakk, B2B Sales Taxes, Tax Increases, Special Interests, Lobbyists, DFL, Kurt Daudt, Tax Cuts, Student Loan Debt, Property Tax Relief, College Tuition, Small Businesses, Farmers, Middle Class Tax Cuts, MNGOP, Election 2016
Rep. Thissen just posted this tweet in an attempt to criticize Republicans to distract attention away from Gov. Dayton vetoing a series of middle class tax cuts. In his tweet, he said “I bet those Republican House members wish they’d voted w/ us for 24 hrs. to review bills. That’s how you avoid $100 million mistakes.”
Rep. Thissen is a man living in a glass house who throws stones recklessly. In 2013, Rep. Thissen joined with Sen. Bakk and Gov. Dayton to pass a tax bill that raised taxes on farmers, warehouse operators and telecommunications equipment. In 2014, Rep. Thissen joined with Sen. Bakk and Gov. Dayton in admitting that Republicans were right in voting against those sales tax increases. They didn’t admit it in a press release. They admitted it by repealing those sales taxes.
Rep. Thissen, Sen. Bakk and Gov. Dayton reached agreement on these tax increases a week before the end of the 2013 session. They passed these sales tax increases the last day of the session, which meant the DFL had tons of time to read through the Tax Bill.
Those sales tax increases weren’t the only mistakes made by Rep. Thissen, Sen. Bakk and Gov. Dayton in that 2013 Tax Bill. That year, Rep. Thissen, Sen. Bakk and Gov. Dayton and the DFL included $90,000,000 to build Bakk’s Senate Palace. To be fair, though, Rep. Thissen, Sen. Bakk and Gov. Dayton haven’t admitted that was a mistake. Minnesotans admitted it, though, when they threw out Rep. Thissen as Speaker of the House. In 2014, it wasn’t coincidence that the DFL returned to being the minority party in the House.
Between the sales tax increases that were later repealed and $90,000,000 spent on Bakk’s Palace, it isn’t a stretch to think that Rep. Thissen’s mistakes added up to much more than $100,000,000. It’s more likely that the DFL’s mistakes made in 2013 and admitted in 2014 topped $300,000,000. Though I don’t have the spreadsheet in front of me, the article I linked to earlier talks about “a $443 million tax reduction bill.” Add $90,000,000 for the Senate Office Building to the $443,000,000 and you’re easily over $500,000,000.
Rep. Thissen shouldn’t shoot his mouth off about $100,000,000 mistakes after he joined Sen. Bakk and Gov. Dayton and the DFL majorities in the Minnesota House and Senate in making a series of far bigger mistakes in 2013 and 2014.
Heather Carlson is one of the better reporters at the state capitol. That’s why I’m paying particular attention to this article about whether DFL Sen. Dan Sparks voted for the DFL amendment to the bonding bill. Sparks insisted that fellow Democrats “told him the light rail amendment was part of an end-of-session agreement between the Senate DFL and House Republicans.”
After the session, Sen. Bakk and Speaker Daudt disagreed whether there was an agreement on SWLRT. According to Carlson’s reporting, “GOP House Speaker Kurt Daudt denied there was such an agreement while Senate DFL Majority Leader Tom Bakk insisted there was a deal.”
Let’s be clear about something. There wasn’t a deal on SWLRT. I don’t doubt that Sen. Bakk wants to sell that but I’ve been in touch with lots of GOP legislators. They’ve all essentially told me that they’d rather get bit by a rattlesnake than vote for SWLRT funding. Since the bonding bill needs 81 votes to pass in the House, there’s no way SWLRT funding was part of a deal. A bonding bill with SWLRT funding in it would require a minimum of 20 Republican votes in the House.
If Sen. Bakk wants us to believe that Speaker Daudt could find 20 GOP votes for SWLRT without first consulting his caucus, he’d better be the world’s greatest salesman of all time. Frankly, I’m not buying Sen. Bakk’s story.
Sparks said his concern with the light rail amendment was that it was being pushed forward by seven DFL senators who threatened not to vote for a public works bill, also known as a bonding bill, unless they got funding for the project. Those bills require a three-fifths majority to pass. “I just think when you start to get these groups of seven or eight members that can tie up a whole bonding bill, I think that’s a really dangerous road to go down,” Sparks said.
It takes 41 votes to pass a bonding bill in the Senate. There are 39 DFL senators. A little simple math shows that Sen. Bakk would need 9-10 GOP senators to pass a bonding bill that didn’t include funding for SWLRT. Without hesitation, there’s no question that John Pederson, Michelle Fischbach, Dave Senjem and Jim Abeler would vote for that bonding package. I’d bet that Julie Rosen, Julianne Ortman and Carrie Ruud would vote for that bonding bill, too. It isn’t a stretch to think that Karin Housley and Jeremy Miller would vote for a bonding bill.
Rep. Paul Thissen’s statement sounds reasonable until you think things through. Then it sounds totally unreasonable. In his statement, Rep. Thissen said “We are supportive of Governor Dayton’s parameters for a special session and agree that we should work to reach consensus on a long-term transportation package. That was everyone’s top priority heading in to session and it would be a failure if the House Republicans walked away from a compromise.”
The DFL’s plan calls for raising the gas tax and funding SWLRT. The GOP plan wisely rejects that proposal because the DFL’s tax increase doesn’t produce the revenue required to fix Minnesota’s roads and bridges and because the SWLRT is the biggest waste of money this side of Sen. Bakk’s Senate Office Building spending spree. Actually, Sen. Bakk’s Senate Office Building is the better deal because it ‘only’ cost $90,000,000. That’s kind of a frightening thought.
When Rep. Thissen talks reaching consensus, what he really wants is for Republicans to do everything that the DFL wants. That isn’t happening this time so Rep. Thissen is issuing threatening-sounding statements like Wednesday’s statement.
Minnesotans are frustrated that the legislature did not get the job done. Yet instead of taking any responsibility, Speaker Daudt continues to play the blame game.
This is the pot calling the kettle black. I wrote this post to highlight the fact that the DFL’s hatchet operation, aka ABM, was already affixing blame on Republicans while the legislature was still in session. What’s worst is that ABM’s hatchet lady was still getting paid by Minnesota’s taxpayers because she’s a DFL staffer, too.
Rep. Thissen, the DFL intentionally sabotaged the bonding bill. They did it through the amendment process in the Senate. They killed a bill that passed by a 91-39 margin in the House. That’s 10 more votes than they needed to pass a bonding bill.
The DFL is a contemptible political party, something that I’ll highlight in a future post. In that respect, Rep. Thissen is perfectly qualified because he’s a contemptible human being.
Rachel Stassen-Berger’s article provides a little levity at a critical time. Ms. Stassen-Berger’s article opens by saying “Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton will spend his holiday weekend reviewing the minute details of the spending and tax bills the Legislature delivered for his signature as he decides their fate.” If that’s true, it will mark the first time in his administration that Gov. Dayton will have paid any attention to the details of any legislation.
Right before FarmFest 2013, Gov. Dayton discovered the farm equipment repair sales tax in the Tax Bill he personally negotiated with Sen. Bakk and then-Speaker Thissen. After FarmFest, Gov. Dayton promised to repeal the farm equipment sales tax during a special session of the legislature. Then Gov. Dayton and the DFL legislature broke that promise.
In 2012, Gov. Dayton was outraged to find a provision in the Vikings’ stadium bill that gave the Wilfs the authority to charge extra for PSLs, aka Personal Seat Licenses. Like the farm equipment repair sales tax, the Vikings Stadium bill was a bill Gov. Dayton personally negotiated with the legislature.
In the interview, the governor said he had already pored over the lawmakers’ work.
“I spent six hours on Wednesday and about four hours yesterday going through them in detail with staff,” Dayton said. “We went through all the major bills with a fine-toothed comb and asked for some further analysis I’m going to get by the end of the day.”
If Gov. Dayton vetoes the GOP’s tax relief bill, Republicans will hang that veto around the necks of every DFL legislator or challenger in a swing district. Not even Gov. Dayton is that foolish. Here’s why:
The Legislature, on wide bipartisan votes, also approved tax cuts and credits that cost the state cash in its short- and long-term budgeting. Students with college debt, veterans, tobacco companies, families and cities are among the beneficiaries.
Throughout the session, the DFL’s top priorities were for broadband expansion, raising the gas tax and spending more to reduce racial disparities. They voted for tax relief because voting against it would’ve been political suicide but it wasn’t a priority with the DFL. Likewise, it isn’t a priority with Gov. Dayton.
Predictably, the DFL, led by Rep. Paul Thissen, Gov. Dayton and Sen. Tom Bakk, is overreaching in a major way. Predictably, they’re pushing a bonding bill that’s the biggest in state history by orders of magnitude. It isn’t surprising to hear Rep. Thissen whining about the bill. In this article, Thissen is quoted as saying “This bill is an unfortunate, sad joke that House Republicans are playing on Minnesotans. We should vote no on this bill and get to work on a real bonding bill that will create jobs and strengthen communities in every part of this state. The clock is ticking. Let’s get to work.”
The DFL is constantly telling people that Minnesota’s economy is going great. They’re also telling people that the bonding bill is a jobs bill. What the DFL won’t say is that the bonding bill costs Minnesotans tons of money in higher taxes, money that could be used by businesses to create permanent jobs when they expand their companies. The DFL won’t say that the jobs that are getting created are temporary construction jobs.
The Senate’s bonding bill tops out at $1,470,742,000. That’s a ton of pork. Spending $28,055,000 on tearing down buildings on the Bemidji State campus and the Hibbing Community College campus, then rebuilding the buildings that are getting torn down. The Senate bill also includes $20,385,000 for Rochester Community and Technical College to “complete design, demolish Memorial and Plaza Halls, construct, equip, and furnish an academic building expansion, and renovate,
equip, and furnish replacement space for classrooms, labs, and office spaces.”
That’s before spending $17,780,000 to “complete the Heart of the Zoo II project, including renovation of the snow monkey exhibit and surrounding public spaces and construction of a meerkat exhibit.” That’s before appropriating $10,000,000 for the Metropolitan Regional Parks and Trails Capital Improvements. That money will pay for “the cost of improvements and betterments of a capital nature and acquisition by the council and local government units of regional recreational open-space lands in accordance with the council’s policy plan as provided in Minnesota Statutes, section 473.147.”
That’s $76,220,000 just on those 5 projects. There are other projects in the Senate bonding bill that are equally unworthy of a Republican’s vote. For all of Rep. Thissen’s whining, he’s frequently been short of solutions and positive suggestions. Sen. Bakk is better than Rep. Thissen but mostly because it’s difficult to do worse than Rep. Thissen.