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Now that it’s settled that we won’t have a special session, it’s time to state clearly what happened. What happened is that Gov. Dayton, Sen. Bakk and Rep. Thissen negotiated in bad faith. It’s one thing to have a goal of funding SWLRT. As foolish as funding that is, it’s still a legitimate goal for the DFL, especially considering who their constituents are.

What Gov. Dayton did, though, was insist that funding for SWLRT be included in a special session agreement. We know this because Speaker Daudt told MPR that Gov. Dayton insisted on it. The direct quote reads “I did ask him in the meeting if he would consider doing a special session, set aside the things we can’t agree on and let’s be Minnesotan. Let’s be Minnesota nice and focus on the things we can agree on. Let’s get a session and just work on the things we can agree on. The governor flat out said ‘no, we’re not going to work on those things without Southwest Light Rail.'”

That’s where Gov. Dayton essentially told Minnesotans that he and the DFL only care about the Metro. Don Davis summarized things perfectly in his opening paragraph, saying “Farmers can forget about tax breaks to lighten their burden in funding new schools. Drivers on some of Minnesota’s most dangerous highways will not see immediate safety improvements. New state aid cities expected is not coming.”

That’s how Gov. Dayton and the DFL told outstate Minnesota that they weren’t important enough. That’s how Gov. Dayton and the DFL said that safe highways weren’t a priority for them, that SWLRT funding was their highest priority.

Rural Minnesota voters should send an unmistakable and clear message to Gov. Dayton and the DFL this November. They should defeat every DFL legislator who voted for tax relief but wouldn’t fight for that tax relief. That’s simple enough because the list of DFL legislators that voted for tax relief and the list of DFL legislators that wouldn’t fight for that tax relief are identical.

These DFL politicians showed their true colors. The best way to determine what’s important to them isn’t by looking at their votes. The best way to determine what’s important to them is in seeing what they vote for but won’t fight for. That’s how you determine their loyalties.

In this instance, the DFL showed their loyalty was with the Twin Cities and with Gov. Dayton, not with their constituents.

The upshot of this article is that the DFL has finally admitted what I’ve said from the start. The DFL is finally admitting that they don’t care about veterans, students with student loan debt, parents trying to save for their kids’ college education or farmers.

By insisting that Republicans agree to funding SWLRT, the DFL is insisting that the GOP fund a low-priority item. It ain’t happening. Light rail is a terrible investment. It doesn’t take hundreds of cars off the street, as the Met Council insists. It doesn’t increase flexibility for people. It’s extremely expensive. Bus lines are much more efficient and flexible.

Essentially, the DFL wants SWLRT funding because they want their pork.

Gov. Dayton admitted he doesn’t give a shit about the middle class when he said “I’ve concluded … I am not going to call a special session.” What a shock. The spoiled rich brat threw another hissy fit because he didn’t get everything he wanted. While he threw that hissy fit, he vetoed $800,000,000 worth of middle class tax relief. Gov. Dayton did that after promising that he wouldn’t use the tax cuts as leverage for getting everything he wanted in the bonding bill. Specifically, Gov. Dayton said no to $800,000,000 of tax relief for farmers and other blue collar workers because the GOP wouldn’t cave on hundreds of millions of dollars worth of spending on a light rail system that shouldn’t be a priority to anyone.

The DFL apparently doesn’t want these tax cuts either. If they did, they’d stand up to the spoiled rich brat in St. Paul, something that they haven’t done. Rep. Thissen and Sen. Bakk haven’t challenged Gov. Dayton on this. Locally, Dan Wolgamott and Zach Dorholt haven’t insisted that Gov. Dayton call a special session. Neither has fought for middle class tax relief. Wolgamott’s about Dan page says this:

Dan understand how to build relationships to pass tough legislation to support students, fix our roads and bridges, and reform state government.

That’s BS. Wolgamott hasn’t lifted a finger for any of these things. He’s sided with Gov. Dayton 100% of the time. This is BS, too:

Dan is innovative and forward-thinking and will create opportunities to grow an economy that works for everyone that works for everyone by supporting policies that help our local businesses, workers, students, and families.

Wolgamott has done nothing to show he’s anything except a cookie-cutter career politician. He’s done what he’s been told to do. He hasn’t been innovative. He hasn’t been forward-thinking. He’s done what the DFL told him to do.

That’s what puppets do.

Bakk’s puppet

The more things change, the more the DFL insists on staying the same. It’s been months since DFL senators undermined a bonding bill agreement that would have paid for lots of road repairs. They’re still insisting on funding for the SWLRT project. Predictably, Gov. Dayton is throwing a temper tantrum, saying “The Legislature won’t let us improve the economic and social vitality of the metropolitan area. I think that’s really irresponsible.”

Gov. Dayton is wrong. Republicans won’t sign off on a project that’s pure pork. A handful of business leaders want SWLRT. As for improving “the economic and social vitality of the metropolitan area,” that won’t change one iota if SWLRT is approved.

Kurt Daudt, fresh off impressively winning a primary battle, has the right idea, saying “We’re going to lose everything that’s on the table right now. I don’t think that’s very good legislating. I don’t think that’s very good leadership.”

This is what he’s talking about:

Daudt warned that the benefits of tax cuts and a package of public works construction projects could be lost if Democrats walk away from the table over light rail.

Gov. Dayton vetoed $800,000,000 worth of middle class tax cuts in his attempt to force Republicans into funding SWLRT. Gov. Dayton’s veto stopped the tax cuts but it hasn’t rallied support for SWLRT funding. Thanks to Gov. Dayton’s idiotic decision, DFL legislators have to defend his veto of tax cuts for veterans, students, farmers and small business owners.

This is a political winner for Republicans. They shouldn’t give an inch on this. If the DFL wants to fight this, let them be highlighted as the party that doesn’t like outstate Minnesota.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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