Archive for the ‘Tom Bakk’ Category
This MPR article highlights the distinct differences between the DFL’s and the MNGOP’s priorities. Check this out:
Minnesota Senate Democrats want free education at the state’s two-year colleges, loan forgiveness for rural doctors and dentists and a program to link up career-minded students with employers in need of skilled workers. Their initial batch of bills would also fund early childhood education, child protection measures and disaster relief for counties hit by storms last summer.
Republicans contend that tax reductions for businesses are the best way to boost the economy and grow jobs. Toward that end, the first bill introduced by House Republicans calls for a series of business tax cuts.
Our ‘friends’ at the Alliance for a Better Minnesota are predictably criticizing Republicans’ approach in this e-letter:
The Republicans in the Minnesota House just released their priorities for the year. And I’ll give you one guess what is included. Tax cuts for businesses. Sounds pretty familiar, right?
Republicans regained the majority this fall, giving them the chance to implement their priorities after being in the minority for two years. And this is what they chose.
Once again, Republicans chose big corporations over real commitments to working families, schools, roads, bridges, and colleges. This has been their main priority for years, and it looks like nothing has changed.
Actually, ABM is lying through their teeth on the tax cuts. It’s indisputable that they’re directed at businesses. It’s totally disputable, though, that they’re directed at “big corporations.” Many of the Dayton/DFL tax increases were characterized as taxing the rich. The truth is, though, that most of the DFL’s tax increases were on small businesses.
The reality is that lots of sole proprietorships and LLCs are the DFL’s targets. The wealthy have their wealth protected and don’t pay much in taxes. They’re essentially protected from the DFL’s tax increases.
This statement is pathetic:
Bakk also criticized the quickness of Republicans to pursue tax cuts. He said that approach has been tried, and failed. “I just do not believe that you can drive economic development by reducing a business’s taxes,” he said. “Because, one, you have no assurance that it’s going to get passed on to build the business.”
That’s BS. When Gov. Dayton tried recruiting companies to relocate to Minnesota, he put together a package of tax cuts for them. Further, it’s important that Sen. Bakk answer whether businesses expansion is possible without capital formation. The answer to that is it isn’t.
ABM and the DFL have shown that they’re anti-jobs. You can’t be pro-employee and anti-employer. It’s that simple.
In 2012, the Republican Party of Minnesota (RPM) accused the DFL of ignoring Minnesota state campaign finance laws when it filed a complaint with the Campaign Finance Disclosure Board. Here’s part of the Board’s Findings of Fact:
Lit Happens is a political media consulting company based in Minneapolis, MN operating as a sole proprietorship of Vic Thorstenson. Lit Happens was retained by the Senate Caucus Party Unit to design, produce, and distribute communications advocating the elections of Vicki Jensen, Alan Oberloh, and Tom Saxhaug.
The Pivot Group, Inc. (Pivot) is a political media consulting company based in Arlington, VA. Pivot was retained by the Senate Caucus Party Unit to design, produce, and distribute communications advocating for the elections of Jim Carlson, Kevin Dahle, Kent Eken, Melisa Franzen, Laurie McKendry, and Matt Schmit.
Compass Media Group, Inc. (Compass) is a political media consulting company based in Chicago, IL. Compass was retained by the Senate Caucus Party Unit to design, produce, and distribute communications advocating for the election of Greg Clausen, Alice Johnson, Susan Kent, and Lyle Koenen or the defeat of their opponents.
The reason why this is important is because these expenditures weren’t attributed to the “Senate Caucus Party Unit.” The disclaimer on the mailers said that they were paid for by “the DFL Central Committee Party Unit.” Here’s what happened:
Lit Happens either took photos during the candidate’s door knocking event with the Senate Caucus Party Unit or when the candidate was in St. Paul on other business. In each case, someone acting on behalf of the Senate Caucus Party Unit contacted the candidate or a representative of the candidate to arrange for the candidate to be at a location where Vic Thorstenson would take the photographs. The candidates followed all direction, if any, provided by the photographer.
In other words, DFL Senate candidates worked with the Senate Caucus Party Unit on mailers sent out by the “DFL Central Committee Party Unit” and paid for by the “Senate Caucus Party Unit.” This information is important, too:
In the cases of those candidates about whom literature pieces were prepared by Compass and Pivot, Senate Caucus Party Unit campaign staff contacted the candidates or the candidates’ campaign managers or other representatives to arrange schedules for the photo shoots with the photographers. Each candidate agreed to a schedule involving multiple locations for the photo shoots and arrived at the specified starting location at the scheduled time.
In connection with the photo shoots taken by Compass and Pivot, the candidates were asked to bring wardrobe changes so that different looks could be obtained in different settings. Each candidate who was asked to bring wardrobe changes did so. All candidates followed the photographers’ directions regarding wardrobe changes and other matters relating to the photo shoots and fully participated in the photo shoots.
That’s what’s known as coordination and it’s illegal under state and federal election laws. Coordination between candidates and state party units or independent expenditure groups is prohibited. Of the 13 candidates that coordinated their activities with the DFL Central Committee Party Unit and/or the Senate Caucus Party Unit, 11 were elected. That gave the DFL a majority in the Senate.
In short, the DFL paid a $100,000 fine in exchange for their Senate majority. I’m betting that Alida Messinger, Mark Dayton and Tom Bakk think that that was a wise investment. Thanks to the DFL’s lawlessness, they passed a horrific budget that benefitted the DFL’s special interest allies in the Twin Cities but did little or nothing to help the regular folks in outstate Minnesota.
I’m betting that the DFL’s ends-justify-the-means attitude towards elections won’t play well in 2016. The DFL’s willingness to do whatever it takes to acquire and maintain power isn’t an attractive attribute.
This LTE isn’t rooted in historical fact or reality. Here’s proof:
After the 2012 election, District 14B Rep. Zachary Dorholt and the Legislature had the tough task of cleaning up our state’s finances, which had been left in shambles. Previous Legislatures had passed along a $600 million budget deficit and nearly $1 billion in debt to our schools.
That isn’t accurate. The DFL legislatures of 2007-2010 left behind multi-billion dollar deficits and about $2,000,000,000 in school shifts. Republicans inherited a $5,000,000,000 deficit when they became the majority party in 2011.
They passed tons of reforms, including permitting reform, budget reform while insisting that high school teachers pass a Basic Skills Test. All of these things became law thanks to Republicans sticking to their principles of accountability and efficient government that works for people.
It’s worth noting that Republicans passed a bill that would’ve paid off the school shifts, too. The disappointing part is that the DFL legislature voted against repaying the school shift. Then Gov. Dayton vetoed the bill that would’ve paid off the school shift.
That’s verifiable historical fact. It’s indisputable.
When the DFL took total control of state government, the deficit had dropped to $600,000,000. That’s one-eighth the size of the deficit Republicans inherited in 2011.
By the time the 2014 session finished, the all-DFL government had repealed the Basic Skills Test reform and the budget reforms the GOP had passed. That’s inexcusable. Education Minnesota opposed the Basic Skills Test so Zach Dorholt and his DFL colleagues voted to repeal it. Nobody in the DFL, starting with Gov. Dayton, Senate Majority Leader Bakk and Speaker Thissen, liked the budget reforms so they repealed those reforms.
These paragraphs are total propaganda:
But Dorholt did not back down. He helped pay back every penny owed to schools and used new revenue (largely from closing corporate tax loopholes and asking the wealthiest 2 percent to chip in a fair share) to eliminate the deficit and make long-overdue investments in priorities Minnesotans broadly share.
Those priorities included all-day kindergarten; a two-year college tuition freeze; bigger property tax refunds; more funding for nursing homes; and resources to help small businesses. As a result, our economy is growing, Minnesotans are going back to work and more children have an opportunity to reach their full potential.
Dorholt the ideologue fit right in, voting against his constituents in raising a) income taxes on “the rich”, b) sales taxes that hit the middle class and c) the cigarette tax that hits low income Minnesotans.
All-day kindergarten wasn’t a priority for most middle class families but it was a priority for Education because they saw it as a way to increase funding to their members. It doesn’t have anything to do with providing a better education to students. Property tax relief is mostly a mirage. Yes, there will be refund checks on the back side but there’s also property tax increases on the front side. As for helping small businesses, that’s a myth. Many small businesses are either expanding in other states, starting in other states or moving to other states.
Rep. Dorholt and his all-DFL legislature have made a total mess of things. They should be fired this November.
Technorati: Zach Dorholt, Mark Dayton, Tom Bakk, Paul Thissen, Special Interests, Education Minnesota, School Shift, Tax Increases, Tax the Rich, Dayton-DFL Deficit, Permitting Reform, Budget Reform, Basic Skills Test, Accountability, MNGOP, Election 2014
The highlight of Bill Hanna’s article about his interview with DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin is this quote:
“I think we’re in a good position to close out the election. But we can’t be too cocky. That’s how we lose.”
Here’s a hint for Martin. The DFL doesn’t lose when it’s too cocky. It’s always too cocky. The DFL loses when it pays too much attention to its special interest allies and ignores the people. It loses when it goes hard ideological. That’s what happened in 2009-2010. That’s when the DFL legislature insisted on passing a budget filled with tax increases that paid for its payoffs to its special interests.
Tom Bakk, the Senate Majority Leader, has said that Minnesotans “don’t mind paying a little more in taxes” because they get their money’s worth from those taxes. That’s the DFL’s Achille’s Heal this year.
- Minnesotans aren’t getting their money’s worth from those increased taxes when DFL plutocrats take $90,000,000 to pay for an office building for part-time politicians instead of paying to fix Minnesota’s pothole-riddled streets.
- Minnesotans definitely aren’t getting their money’s worth from those increased taxes to pay for the utter incompetence at MNsure.
- The DFL can’t claim that Minnesota’s entrepreneurs were helped by raising their taxes. Job creation has virtually stopped since the Dayton-DFL tax increases hit these small businesses.
The only thing that’s helping the DFL right now is that the Twin Cities media’s coverage has changed since early summer. Back then, they actually talked about the negative effects the DFL’s policies were having, especially on the Iron Range. Now they’ve returned to talking only about the race to the finish.
DFL pundits, from Larry Jacobs to Ember Reichgott-Junge to Mindy Greiling, praise the strength of the Dayton-DFL economy because Minnesota’s unemployment rate is artificially low. They don’t talk about things like how many people have quit looking for work or how many “Starbucks MBAs” are employed in jobs that they’re vastly overqualified for.
The DFL promised jobs during their campaigns. They didn’t promise careers, with the exception of a career as a government bureaucrat. During the past 12 months, the Dayton-DFL economy has created 21,523 public sector jobs. That’s compared with the Dayton-DFL economy creating 2,900 total jobs in the last 7 months.
Chairman Martin’s job is to elect as many Democrats as possible, regardless of how much that’d hurt Minnesota. With outstate Minnesota’s unemployment rate high, it’s safe to say that the Dayton-DFL economic policies are hurting Minnesotans.
That’s especially true for the Range, where the region-wide unemployment rate is 8.02% compared with a statewide unemployment rate of 4.88%. Doing nothing while a major region of the state stagnates isn’t doing what’s best for the state. That’s the result of the DFL telling the Range that they’ll pay attention to the environmental activist-elitist wing of the DFL while ignoring the blue collar wing of the DFL represented by the Range.
It’s time for the Range to wake up and realize that the DFL is playing them for fools. It’s time they realized that Ken Martin’s DFL isn’t the Iron Range’s friend. It’s its enemy.
If the Iron Range realizes that, it’ll result in a happy ending for the Range because it’ll mean an end to DFL reign in St. Paul.
Technorati: Ken Martin, Iron Range, Blue Collar Workers, Twin Cities Elitists, Environmental Activists, Media Bias, Twin Cities Media, Larry Jacobs, Mindy Greiling, Ember Reichgott-Junge, DFL, Election 2014
Tomorrow morning, I’ll enthusiastically cast my primary vote for Jeff Johnson. The reasons I’ll cast my vote for Jeff are similar to why I’ll vote for Tom Emmer.
Though he hasn’t published a post to the Hennepin County Taxpayers Watchdog blog in over a year, it’s clear that Jeff Johnson isn’t afraid to highlight wasteful government spending. The fact that he’s willing to do that in the Twin Cities shows that, if he’s elected governor this November, he won’t hesitate in calling out Tom Bakk’s pork. He certainly won’t hesitate in line-item vetoing things that, had they happened while he was commissioner, would’ve earned the Golden Hydrant award.
Things like spending $500,000 on 10 artistic drinking fountains would’ve won the Golden Hydrant Award.
Simply put, Jeff’s a proven watchdog of the taxpayers’ money. The DFL legislature and Gov. Dayton trampled taxpayers the last 2 years. They spent money on things drunken sailors would’ve been ashamed of.
On that note, Jeff Johnson held a special event last week at the site of Gov. Dayton’s and the DFL legislature’s biggest pork project. Last week, Jeff held a mock groundbreaking ceremony for Sen. Bakk’s Senate Legislative Office Building, aka the SLOB.
That’s a $90,000,000 monument to the DFL’s disdain for the taxpayers. After the event, the Dayton administration and the DFL legislators who voted for that ‘monument’ issued a statement saying that they didn’t hold a groundbreaking ceremony because there’s a tight schedule to get the thing built. That’s BS.
Gov. Dayton didn’t hold a ground-breaking ceremony because he didn’t want that to be turned into an ad against him this election cycle. (You know something’s terrible when even Gov. Dayton thinks it’s excessive.)
I’m voting for Jeff Johnson because Jeff will be a reform-minded governor. That’s what’s required of Minnesota’s government at this critical point in our history.
I’ll also be voting against Marty Seifert. I’m voting against him because of the stunt he tried pulling at the GOP State Convention in Rochester.
Dave Thompson spoke at the podium and withdrew from the race, telling his delegates to support Jeff Johnson. When Mr. Seifert asked to address the delegates, it was understood that it would be to withdraw his name from the endorsement fight. Instead, he instructed his delegates that they could leave.
With that decision, Seifert alienated 2,000 delegates and alternates in a single action. Now he’s saying that he’s the right candidate to unite the party. What a joke. I suppose he’d unite people in opposing him. I’m fairly certain that isn’t the type of unification he’s talking about, though.
The bottom line is this: I have lots of reasons to enthusiastically pull the trigger for Jeff Johnson. He’ll be a great governor.
Towards the end of the 2014 legislative session, the DFL quietly passed a $400,000,000 bailout of MNsure. Technically, the bailout was for MinnCare but MNsure caused MinnCare’s insolvency. Based on the information in this Pi-Press article, that bailout was just the tip of an iceberg. Here’s what I’m talking about:
Most of those enrolled through the exchange are on public subsidies. As of last week, nearly a quarter-million Minnesotans had enrolled. Of those, 88 percent, 218,615 out of a total of 249,369, are receiving a public subsidy.
That leaves 30,754 Minnesotans who purchased a plan on their own via MNsure.
The ratio of subsidized to “commercial” enrollees “needs a long hard look going forward,” said Julie Brunner, executive director of the Minnesota Council of Health Plans. Unless they “ramp up significantly,” she wonders if the low numbers on the commercial side will provide “the financial support that MNsure needs to have a balanced budget.”
That’s stunning information. Based on that information, MNsure isn’t sustainable financially. If MNsure needs a bailout, that means tax increases can’t be far behind. This is more bad news:
The system is preparing to absorb still more public enrollees. MNsure has delayed until August a major transition of public insurance beneficiaries to the system. About 800,000 Minnesotans will be renewing their current coverage.
MNsure CEO Scott Leitz told the editorial board earlier this month that the agency “wanted the system to be stable” to handle the influx.
That’s disturbing because MNsure isn’t stable:
During the assessment, 47 of the 73 sub-functions addressed were found either to be absent or not functioning as expected. Six of the 73 sub-functions could be considered for implementation post-open enrollment. The remaining 41 sub-functions need to be provided for the 2015 Open Enrollment either through changes/enhancements to the systems or through contingent means.
That’s what instability sounds like. Last fall, MNsure’s rollout was a disaster. This year’s open enrollment will be a bigger disaster than last year’s open enrollment. Thanks in part to that, the revenue shortfall will be greater this year than last year.
With MNsure stability being at least a year away, it’s likely that the shortfall for the next biennium will be huge. It’s difficult to see this turning out well for Minnesota taxpayers. In the end, though, these shortfalls will put pressure on the DFL Senate to resist changing MNsure.
It’s time for the DFL to accept the reality that it’s time to start over on health care reform. When a system is this disfunctional, this expensive and this unpopular, it’s time to start from scratch. Minnesota was a leader in health care. We should’ve learned from that. Instead, Gov. Dayton and the DFL legislature created this financial nightmare.
Sen. Michelle Benson might’ve put it best:
A key point, however, noted by the Pioneer Press’ Christopher Snowbeck: The report couldn’t say exactly where the uninsured found coverage, that is, whether insurance was obtained through public programs, private insurers available through MNsure or commercial plans sold outside the health exchange.
He noted pushback from legislative Republicans, including the contention of Sen. Michelle Benson of Ham Lake that, to the extent the reduction came from people enrolling in the state’s Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare insurance programs, the state “didn’t need MNsure at all.”
That’s spot on. Rather than weighing the options, Gov. Dayton, Sen. Bakk and Rep. Thissen let their ideology drive their votes. As a result, all Minnesotans will be hurt financially.
Let’s be clear about this. There aren’t enough rich people in Minnesota to raise taxes on…again. The DFL will have to raise taxes on the middle class if these MNsure deficits continue as expected.
According to this article, medical device manufacturer Medtronic is leaving Minnesota’s high state taxes. In fact, it’s leaving the federal government’s high corporate rates, too:
Medtronic Inc. (MDT), the globe-spanning medical device maker founded in a Minneapolis garage in 1949, is poised to become the biggest company yet to escape the U.S. tax system by shifting its incorporation abroad.
Medtronic said yesterday it plans to take a legal address in tax-friendly Ireland as part of a $42.9 billion takeover of Covidien Plc. (COV) Although Covidien is run from Mansfield, Massachusetts, it’s been incorporated in Ireland since 2009.
That’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Here’s more:
Minneapolis-based Medtronic joins some 44 American companies that have reincorporated abroad or struck plans to do so, including 14 in a recent wave of moves that began in 2012. Earlier this year, Pfizer Inc., the largest U.S. drugmaker, briefly proposed taking a U.K. address, a move that might have cut its tax bills by as much as $1 billion a year.
The truth is that Medtronic is running from Minnesota’s high taxes just like it’s running from high federal tax rates on corporations. While it’s true that Medtronic isn’t shipping its manufacturing operations overseas yet, that’s just an eventuality.
More companies are looking at this option:
Shareholders are pressing drugstore chain Walgreen Co. to get a Swiss address. Without a change in law, a congressional panel estimated last month, future deals will cost the U.S. $19.5 billion in tax revenue over the next 10 years.
President Obama and Gov. Dayton apparently haven’t learned that capital and labor are mobile. At this point, it isn’t likely that they’ll ever learn. Apparently, they haven’t figured out that companies are in business to make profits for their shareholders. They aren’t in business to support out-of-government spending, which is what President Obama and Gov. Dayton think.
If Gov. Dayton is re-elected and he keeps Minnesota’s corporate tax rate high, more companies will leave. That’s before businesses worry about whether Sen. Bakk will bring back the B2B sales taxes that were just repealed.
It’s time Democrats, both in Minnesota and on the federal level, understood that high marginal tax rates matter. It’s time they noticed that companies are leaving and, with them, good paying jobs for Americans.
Technorati: Mark Dayton, Tax Increases, Tom Bakk, B2B Sales Tax, President Obama, Corporate Income Tax Rates, Medtronic, Walgreen, Phizer, Covidien, Ireland, Switzerland, Jobs, Democrats, Election 2014
One way to verify the hostility level between Rebecca Otto and the Iron Range DFL is to read this article. Suffice it to say that minced words were kept to a minimum. Check out Dave Dill’s statement:
“I don’t support candidates who don’t support economic development in northeastern Minnesota. And I especially don’t support them when they placate people to raise money. That’s an unholy alliance,” Dill said of Otto’s vote on the leases and following effort to raise campaign funds off of it. Then he really took off the gloves. “Much of fundraising today is done electronically. To do that candidates need the minerals that will be produced in copper/nickel mining. Perhaps they should communicate by using a string with two cans like we did in grade schools.”
“We are doing nothing wrong. We’re following the rules. She voted against something that has been going on in the state for more than 100 years. She voted against the birth of mining. You don’t mine until you drill.”
Dill’s statement is definitely harsh, most likely because he’s in a tough re-election fight. It serves him right because he’s been silent for years on PolyMet/mining/economic development.
Here’s another way to verify the hostility level between Metrocrat environmental activists and the Range DFL:
And it also draws a clear line in the political sand on mining and economic development in the region.
“WHEREAS, Iron Range cities will no longer stand for politicians who don’t clearly and unequivocally stand for us on issues such as mining and economic development in our area,” it reads in part.
That’s part of a proposed resolution that the Virginia City Council will vote on this Tuesday night. It clearly puts Otto in their cross hairs. It puts other politicians, like Gov. Dayton and Sen. Franken, on notice, too.
Otto didn’t need to hear this:
The elected leader of the state Senate said Otto called her shortly after strong reaction against her mineral leases vote erupted on the Range. “‘There’s ‘Dump Otto’ signs showing up on the Range,’ she said. I said, ‘What did you think was going to happen?’” Bakk said in a telephone interview on Wednesday.
Bakk told her she would “probably be fine” unless she received a primary challenge. She now has that. “I’m just going to sit down and think on this. I won’t immediately get on board, either way,” said Bakk, referring to both Otto and Entenza.
I wrote this post to highlight the fact that Matt Entenza might be as anti-mining as Otto is:
Matt graduated from Worthington Senior High School and won a scholarship to Augustana College in Sioux Falls, S.D., with an eye toward eventually going to law school. After his sophomore year, he transferred to Macalester College in St. Paul and was elected student body president. He received a degree in environmental studies with honors.
The environment isn’t a passing fancy with Rep. Entenza. One of the organizations who has honored him is the League of Conservation Voters. Here’s what LCV’s mission is in their own words:
LCV runs tough and effective campaigns to defeat anti-environment candidates, and support those leaders who stand up for a clean, healthy future for America.
Simply put, LCV supports candidates that are anti-mining. LCV doesn’t support candidates that are pro-mining. There’s no question but that both DFL candidates for State Auditor are anti-mining.
Most importantly, there’s no question but that Ms. Otto gave the GOP a gift of immense proportions when she sent out that fundraising email where she bragged about voting against mining. Reaction on the Range to that fundraising email was instant and hostile. Sen. Bakk is right in telling Ms. Otto that she should’ve expected that hostile reaction.
Nolan is rightly getting criticized:
A “Dump Otto” supporter tweeted out the following message Wednesday afternoon in response to a report that Nolan’s campaign manager said the congressman is backing Otto in the campaign: “Interesting that [the congressman from the Eighth District] is supporting an anti-mining candidate.”
Nolan responded in a telephone interview with the Mesabi Daily News late Wednesday afternoon.
“I endorsed the endorsement team and that includes Rebecca Otto, but with reservations because of her mining vote on mineral leases. She assured me she’s not anti-mining, but she’s going to have to prove that to me. I’m going to hold her feet to the fire,” Nolan said.
TRANSLATION: Nolan is a typical politician. He’s playing political games, having it both ways on this issue. That isn’t what leaders do. That’s what cheap career politicians do.
Simply put, trusting Nolan is a major mistake. His political career has been marked by his being as slippery as a greased pig. It isn’t that he’s pure evil. It’s just that I wouldn’t trust him as far as I could throw him if I had a pair of broken arms and a bad back.
The same is true of Ms. Otto and Matt Entenza.
Technorati: Rebecca Otto, Matt Entenza, Mark Dayton, Tom Bakk, Environmental Impact Statement, Virginia City Council, Council Resolution, Al Franken, Rick Nolan, Dave Dill, Career Politicians, DFL, Election 2014, League of Conservation Voters, Environmental Activists
If Patrick Condon’s article highlights anything, it’s that the courts really aren’t accessible to average citizens. With their ruling, the Minnesota Supreme Court essentially said that the judiciary is only for deep-pocketed people:
The state’s high court ruled that former Republican Rep. Jim Knoblach would have to post an $11 million surety bond if he wanted his challenge to the project to continue. He said he can’t afford to post a bond of that size.
“Requiring a member of the public to come up with $11 million in a case like this is a chilling precedent to a citizen raising a constitutional challenge,” he said.
This is stunning on multiple fronts. First, the constitutional case is clear. If the Supreme Court read the merits of the lawsuit, they’d know that the lower court’s ruling was a joke and an insult to Minnesota’s constitution. Second, saying that a lawsuit can’t proceed without the litigant putting up an $11,000,000 surety bond is the fastest way to stop a lawsuit.
First things first. Judge Marek ruled that Sen. Bakk’s bill didn’t violate the Single Subject Clause of Minnesota’s Constitution because “the office building provision is linked to the rest by a common thread of “financing and raising revenue to fund state and local government operations.” In other words, the legislature can put anything it wants to pass into the tax bill if it’s something that’s linked to “state or local government operations.”
In other words, Judge Marek’s ruling essentially gutted Minnesota’s Constitution. That’s either proof that she’s corrupt or proof that she’s ignorant of Minnesota’s Constitution.
Next, it’s exceptionally elitist of Minnesota’s Supreme Court to require this surety bond. They’ve essentially said that deep pockets are required if a person wants to appeal legislative decisions. That’s stunning in its elitism.
If ever there was justification for citizens voting out judges and replacing them with judges who’ll obey Minnesota’s Constitution.
What just happened is that Judge Marek ignored Minnesota’s Constitution. Later, government lawyers convinced a judge that a pesky citizen shouldn’t really have access to the courts. Finally, the Minnesota Supreme Court completed the whitewash by agreeing with the government’s attorneys, putting the final brick in place stopping citizens from accessing judicial remedies to legislative overreach.
It’s a sad day for Minnesota’s citizens. The elitists on Minnesota’s Supreme Court just ruled that the court won’t hear lawsuits pertaining to legislative overreach unless the litigant has exceptionally deep pockets.
I wrote this post to highlight part of Sen. Bakk’s end-of-session spin. I wouldn’t be telling the entire story if I didn’t write about something Sen. Bakk said at the end of his interview. Here’s what he said on the subject of medical marijuana:
SEN. BAKK: I think when this session started, there were probably few lawmakers that thought medical marijuana would likely be the marquee issue of this session. Not many of us, myself included, were thinking about it rising to such a level of that intensity and emotion in the legislature. And it happened because a group of families with their largely disabled children came to the Capitol and they visited legislators and they put the breath under that issue and made legislators ‘look at the plight of my kids and want them to have a better quality of life’.
It was a remarkable example of how a small group of people can come to their state capitol and advocate for a change and, even though nobody was thinking about it, it ends up happening.
It’s true that these parents succeeded in getting this legislation passed but it comes with an asterisk.
The asterisk is that these parents got this legislation passed because the DFL’s special interests didn’t oppose it. We needn’t look any further than last year, when hundreds of parents and in-home child care providers visited their state capitol to tell legislators that they opposed the unionization of in-home child care providers.
They told DFL legislators how unionization would drive up the cost of child care. They told DFL legislators how that legislation would force in-home child care providers to reject children from families getting government assistance because these child care providers didn’t want to be part of a union.
How did the DFL react in that situation? They repeatedly recited AFSCME’s and SEIU’s talking points, ignoring the parents and the children’s care providers.
In that instance, the DFL didn’t care about the children’s quality of life. The DFL didn’t care that their legislation made life miserable for parents receiving government assistance. For all the DFL’s talk about standing with ‘the little guy’, last year, the DFL ignored the little guy while siding with their well-funded special interest allies.
Sen. Bakk might fool some people with his spin but the reality is that the DFL routinely ignores parents and families when the DFL’s special interest allies oppose the parents’ initiatives. In the DFL’s world, special interest activists outrank parents and the average Joe.
This November, people of all political stripes have the opportunity to reject the DFL’s politics of, by and for their special interest organizations.
Another thing that just popped into my head is how people lobbied against the B2B sales taxes. Initially, they were removed from the DFL’s tax bill, only to be put back in by Sen. Bakk during the conference committee.
Then things hit the fan politically.
Gov. Dayton told FarmFest he didn’t know that Sen. Bakk had included the Farm Equipment Repair Sales tax in the tax bill. Then talk started about repealing them during last summer’s special session. When that fell through, pressure built until the B2B taxes were repealed this session.
Now, Sen. Bakk, Gov. Dayton and the DFL are bragging about cutting taxes this session. That’s Clinton-worthy spin on steroids. Raising taxes by $2.4 billion, then reducing the size of the tax increase by $400,000,000 still equals a tax increase, albeit a smaller tax increase.
Here’s the question the DFL won’t want to answer: If cutting taxes was a priority to them, why weren’t they in the 2013 tax bill? Let’s remember, too, that Sen. Bakk insisted prior to the special session that he didn’t think the B2B taxes should be repealed. That’s why they weren’t part of the special session agenda.
In 2013, the DFL showed its true colors by raising taxes. That isn’t surprising. What’s stunning, though, is the fact that they didn’t even know how their tax increases would impact people.
Finally, any party that presides over a 33% spending increase over 4 years isn’t fiscally responsible. The DFL can spin all they want but raising taxes and fees by $2 billion and increasing spending by $5 billion are the net results of total DFL control.
That’s a ton of money to take out of the private sector, which, unlike the DFL, actually uses the money efficiently on the things people need most.