Search
Archives
Categories

Archive for the ‘Tom Bakk’ Category

ABM Executive Director Joey Davis just sent me an email that’s essentially pure propaganda. The email starts with “Funding our schools so our children have a great start in life. Closing corporate loopholes so small businesses have a level playing field. Making the economy work for all of us, not just the wealthy. These are the priorities that Democrats in the Minnesota legislature have focused on, while conservative Republicans continue to try and divide us and keep the deck stacked against working families.”

Nothing tells voters that the DFL wants to level the playing field for small businesses and working families than Gov. Dayton’s veto of a tax bill that would’ve provided substantial property tax relief for small businesses and farmers.

ABM and the DFL (pardon the repetition) want Minnesotans to forget that Gov. Dayton, like he’s done each year, vetoed popular legislation that had strong bipartisan support. This year, he vetoed the Tax Bill that garnered 178 out of a possible 200 votes in the House and Senate. Last year, Gov. Dayton vetoed most of the budget bills that passed. Those bills were the product of bipartisan negotiations between Sen. Bakk and Speaker Daudt.

Later in the email, we find this gem:

Republicans want us divided and focused on who we should be scared of, but we know that to build a better Minnesota we need to go a different way.

In 2015, Speaker Daudt met with Sen. Bakk and hammered out a solid bipartisan budget. It’s difficult to say that Republicans want Minnesotans divided when the top-ranking Republican in the state negotiates a solid bipartisan budget. Considering the fact that Gov. Dayton said that he couldn’t trust Sen. Bakk in 2015, it’s impossible to believe that Republicans are the dividers. It’s important to remember this:

Gov. Mark Dayton erupted in anger Thursday in a dispute with the DFL Senate leader over a weeks-long controversy surrounding pay raises the governor gave to his cabinet. “To have a majority leader of the Senate come in and stab me in the back and blindside me is absolutely unacceptable,” Dayton said.

Dayton’s ire came after Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk led the Senate in voting to suspend the salary increases for state commissioners. All but two members of the DFL-controlled Senate voted with Bakk in favor of the proposal. The friction between the Capitol’s two most powerful DFLers threatens to cast a cloud over the rest of the 2015 legislative session. The two have tussled before, but Dayton indicated Thursday that their relations now were beyond repair.

Dayton said Bakk, a former ally, has proved himself untrustworthy because he brought forth the salary smackdown without any warning. “I’m confronted with two hostile bodies of the Legislature, one with a leader I believe I can trust (Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt) and one I know I can’t trust,” Dayton said. “I certainly learned a brutal lesson today that I can’t trust (Bakk.) I can’t believe what he says to me and connives behind my back.”

ABM wants to paint the picture that they’re unified and that their agenda is popular. Last year’s fight between Sen. Bakk and Gov. Dayton indicates that ABM isn’t tethered to reality.

Technorati: , , , , , , , , , ,

This weekend, I wrote that I was skeptical of reports that a special session would be called this August. After reading Don Davis’ article, I’m hoping that a special session only happens if Republicans stand steadfast against SWLRT.

In the article, Sen. Bakk thinks that, with regards to SWLRT, “there appear to be some alternatives available.” Here’s hoping that Speaker Daudt shoots that down immediately and harshly. Anything that gets SWLRT built is unacceptable. Any Bakk-favored alternative should be shown the door in as hostile a manner as possible.

LRT projects are a disaster. If communities want to build them, let them build them with their tax revenues. Then let them subsidize their operations with their property taxes or their sales taxes. Talk that the business community wants them isn’t justification for building SWLRT. If businesses think LRT is so fantastic, let them pay for building them.

The dirty little secret is that LRT isn’t worthwhile except if taxpayers build it and subsidize its operations. Even then, these projects benefit the few while hurting others. Ask the displaced businesses in St. Paul if they’re fans of LRT. Hint: when asking that question, wear a bullet-proof vest.

There is some good news in the negotiations:

Dayton said he is more optimistic than ever that there will be a special session. “Where there is a will, there is a way.” The governor said he gave up all spending he earlier wanted to come up in a special session other than work needed on sex offender facilities and at the state hospital in St. Peter.

That’s the benefit of steadfastly saying no to unreasonable spending demands. Give Speaker Daudt and Sen. Hann and their caucuses credit for that. It wouldn’t have been possible if members of their caucus had left their reservation.

That’s why Speaker Daudt needs to return to that position and why Sen. Hann needs to be given the title of majority leader. Conservatives would applaud them shutting down Gov. Dayton’s reckless spending demands. Minnesota’s economy would improve by not having the legislature and the governor pile tons of new regulation on small businesses, too.

Technorati: , , , , , , , , ,

According to this article, Sen. Bakk, Speaker Daudt and Gov. Dayton are close to an agreement on a special session. I question the accuracy of that statement.

The article opens by saying “A special Minnesota legislative session to approve tax cuts, transportation projects and public works construction could happen in a month, but the governor and key legislators are not quite ready to promise that.” Notice the hint that all is not well? Saying that “the governor and key legislators are not quite ready to promise that” set off red flags with me. Several paragraphs later, my suspicions were vindicated.

The vindication came when the article said a “major unresolved issue continues to be whether to approve a light rail line from downtown Minneapolis to the southwestern suburbs.” That’s indisputable. That’s the line Republicans shouldn’t cross under any circumstances. It’s the Minnesota equivalent to the infamous Bridge to Nowhere.

Speaker Daudt needs to realize that he’s sitting in the power position. I’m betting that DFL candidates aren’t popular because Gov. Dayton vetoed a major tax cut bill. Bakk and Dayton aren’t striking a more conciliatory tone because they’re altruistic. They’re striking a more conciliatory tone because they aren’t getting the response they’d hoped for.

Speaker Daudt, Sen. Hann and all Republicans should stand steadfast against the SWLRT project. If metro DFL legislators object, fine. Republicans don’t need to flip urban seats to flip the Senate. They need to flip seats in rural Minnesota. That’s where the tax cut bill is popular. If DFL candidates and incumbents want to defend Gov. Dayton’s veto of the Tax Bill, Republicans should rejoice that the DFL is giving them that gift.

Further, I’d encourage Republican House and Senate candidates to highlight the fact that the DFL put broadband and SWLRT at the top of their priority list and that Republicans put gutting taxes on farmers, the middle class, the military and small businesses at the top of their priority list.

Let’s fight that fight on our side of the battlefield. Let’s see if the DFL is capable of fighting that fight. I’m betting they’ll lose that fight by a significant margin.

Technorati: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

Technorati: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

Technorati: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

Technorati: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

Technorati: , , , , , , , , , , ,

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: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

Technorati: , , , , , , , , ,

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.

Technorati: , , , , , ,