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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.

If Rep. Thissen’s destructive attitude wasn’t enough to disqualify him from a leadership position, then Rep. Thissen’s persistent whining should tip the scales against him.

Rep. Thissen’s latest diatribe is essentially his whining that Democrats didn’t get everything they wanted in the last session, mixed with a healthy dose of bragging that essentially says that the DFL would’ve done better.

For instance, when Rep. Thissen said “After nearly 3 months of indecision, this week is crunch time for a special session decision”, what Rep. Thissen doesn’t want to say is that Kurt Daudt has done a fantastic job of saying no to the DFL’s insistence on funding the SWLRT, a project that the citizens don’t want but that the special interests want in the worst way. Here’s what the GOP should say loudly to the DFL on this issue: “Shut up, go away or we’ll use this issue against you in the upcoming election.”

“Behind closed doors negotiations have produced little progress and all of the political obstacles to compromise, including Speaker Daudt’s primary, are behind us,” said Thissen. “After nearly 3 months of indecision, this week is crunch time for a special session decision. Once we hit the State Fair, it’s too late and we need some time for the promised public hearings. I continue to believe we should finish our job, but if agreement is not reached, I pledge that under a House DFL Majority we will bring a robust bonding bill to the House floor for a vote in the first 30 days of the next legislative session.”

It’s the DFL’s fault that a bonding bill wasn’t passed. An agreement was reached between the House and Senate. Rep. Thissen didn’t like the compromise so he worked with DFL senators to blow the agreement up. Now the saboteur is promising to fix the bill he helped demolish.

That’s rich.

Notice that Rep. Thissen doesn’t mention any of his sabotage in his statement. Why would he? Rep. Thissen isn’t a leader. He couldn’t care less about the average person. That’s indisputable. While he was Speaker in 2013, Thissen worked with the unions on the forced unionization of in-home child care providers. The in-home child care providers fought against it. Thissen didn’t care. He had his marching orders from AFSCME and SEIU. The bill was passed. Gov. Dayton signed it into law.

This spring, the in-home child care providers had the final say, telling Rep. Thissen, AFSCME and the SEIU to shove it:

In the end, in-home child care providers rejected AFSCME’s forced unionization plan. In fact, the vote wasn’t that close. According to this article, the “vote was 1,014-392 in a Tuesday count by the state Bureau of Mediation Services from ballots mailed to providers last month.”

Voters would do well to remember that the DFL did exactly what the special interests wanted while ignoring the in-home child care providers. To Thissen and the DFL, you’re a nobody if you aren’t a special interest group aligned with the DFL.

Dan Kimmel made just one mistake as a candidate. As a result, he’s essentially a dead man walking. Kimmel is running the Minnesota House of Representatives in District 56A, which is Burnsville. He’s running against Rep. Drew Christensen. Here’s Kimmel’s mistake:

That’s breathtakingly foolish. What person says “ISIS isn’t necessarily evil. People doing what they think best for their community. Violence isn’t the answer, though.”? I’m betting the only politicians that say things that foolish are politicians that should start writing their concession speeches in July.

Kimmel is so radioactive that Paul Thissen won’t support him:

Alpha News reached out to House Minority Leader Paul Thissen for comment on Kimmel’s renewed campaign bid. When asked if he supported the candidate, a representative for Thissen responded “he does not.”

Mr. Kimmel isn’t done fighting, though:

After several attempts to reach Kimmel, Alpha News received the following response via email: “I haven’t responded because I haven’t come up with the simple answer I think you want.” Alpha News reached out to Kimmel a third time and did not receive another response.

TRANSLATION: I know I screwed up. There’s nothing I can say.

Get out the butter. Mr. Kimmel is toast.

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Back in late May, 6 GOP legislators sent a letter to Paul Thissen, criticizing him for his temper tantrums that he directed at GOP staffers. That’s what elitists do when they don’t get their way. In Rep. Thissen’s instance, he’s spent 2 years in political Siberia. While Thissen mistreated GOP staffers, DFL legislators sat silent.

Lest anyone think that the DFL’s corruption is tied only to the House while they’re the minority party, the truth is that the DFL’s corruption is much deeper than that. The DFL is the majority party in the Senate. Still, DFL Senate Deputy Majority Leader Jeffrey Hayden has admitted to accepting money from Community Action of Minneapolis for “plane tickets, hotel stays and spa services for he and his wife.” That’s metro DFL-speak for saying he got caught red-handed doing something he shouldn’t have done.

They caught Hayden after the Minnesota Department of Human Services investigated Bill Davis, then the CEO of now-defunct Community Action of Minneapolis, aka CAM. When they investigated CAM, the investigation found that Davis had “spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayer money on trips, golf and other perks. The Minnesota Department of Human Services and the Minnesota Department of Commerce pulled their contracts with the group after a DHS audit found Community Action overcharged state and federal grant programs for more than $600,000 of administrative costs.”

Now, Sen. Sandy Pappas is stonewalling an Ethics Subcommittee hearing in her attempt to protect Sen. Hayden. Alpha News’s Julia Erynn has done an outstanding job covering this scandal. Make sure to check out her latest article, which focuses on Sen. Hayden’s ethics difficulties.

Electing DFL majorities, then expecting ethical behavior, is foolish. They’re experts at sitting silent while they watch other DFL legislators mistreat staffers or rip off public programs for thousands of dollars. At the 1996 Republican National Convention, J.C. Watts gave a memorable keynote speech, saying that the definition of character is “doing the right thing even when no one was watching.” Rep. Thissen and Sen. Hayden don’t fit that definition.

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When it comes to dishonest DFL politicians, Paul Thissen is in the conversation. Though he isn’t at the top of the list, he’s certainly part of the conversation. Yesterday, Rep. Thissen issued this statement. To be fair to Rep. Thissen, there were fragments of truth in his statement.

For instance, Rep. Thissen was sort of right in saying “Republicans have refused to provide any compromise offers to get needed tax, bonding and budget bills passed in a special session.” I say sort of right because they’re sticking with the House bill, which included lots of DFL priorities in it. I wrote this article to highlight the amount of compromise included in the House bonding/transportation bill. I included a lengthy quote from Sen. David Hann in the article. He was clearly and justifiably upset with Gov. Dayton’s refusal to drop any of his demands. Here’s what Sen. Hann said:

I would just reiterate that the bills that we had on the last day of session were compromise bills. Go back again. Look at the tape. Look at Sen. Stumpf talking about the bonding/transportation bill. He called it a “true compromise between Republicans and Democrats.” The Speaker has pointed out that half of that bill, more than half of it, had the Governor’s priorities in it. And now we’re supposedly at a point where all of those compromises are off the table and we’ve got another $243,000,000 of additional spending that we are being asked to do without any backing away from that number — an additional couple hundred million in bonding.

And all of this is kind of in complete denial of all of the compromise work that had gone on this entire last session. This is what I find so remarkable. I think it is a setback. Why, after a whole session and actually going back to the session before of talking about some of these issues, to now have a bill get killed at the last minute with a request for a light rail project that no one had ever seen a hearing on and now, that becomes a must have and they say we have to start over and renegotiate everything, I think it is a setback.

Rep. Thissen, why should Republicans offer additional compromises when Gov. Dayton refuses to move a square centimeter from his post-session positions? Rep. Thissen apparently thinks that Republicans should always compromise and that DFL politicians don’t ever have to compromise.

Later in his statement, Rep. Thissen said “If House Republicans were serious about doing the job they were elected to do, they wouldn’t be bringing controversial new policy into the discussion at this stage.” That’s rich. The only reason we’re in this position is because a handful of DFL senators amended the House bonding/transportation bill with less than 10 minutes left in the session to include a provision for funding for the Southwest Light Rail project. That provision was controversial. It wasn’t discussed in any House or Senate committee hearings. As Sen. Hann points out, “now it becomes a must have and we have to start over and renegotiate everything.”

It’s time Speaker Daudt and Sen. Hann turned up the heat on Gov. Dayton for killing the Tax Bill, then refusing the legislature to fix it. Gov. Dayton said he wouldn’t hold the Tax Bill hostage. I guess he meant he wouldn’t hold it hostage until he started using it as leverage in negotiations. Here’s why that’s important.

Gov. Dayton wants to increase the size of the bonding bill by more than 40% over the House bonding/transportation bill. Further, he wants $243,000,000 worth of additional spending for the Twin Cities added to a new supplemental appropriations bill after signing a major supplemental appropriations bill a month ago.

In other words, Gov. Dayton is insisting on getting everything he’s wanted from the start of the regular session. Republicans need to expose him for the autocrat that he is. Similarly, they need to expose the DFL as the party who hasn’t negotiated in good faith and that aren’t interested in doing what’s right for Minnesotans. Here’s Rep. Thissen’s statement:

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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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The DFL, especially Rep. Thissen, has been whining about how dysfunctional the House GOP is. The DFL’s criticism is based on a myth but that doesn’t mean they won’t keep lying to regain complete control of Minnesota state government. In fact, the only thing that the DFL cares about is raw political power. Another myth is that the DFL cares about ‘the little guy.’ That’s BS. I’ll let Harold Hamilton explain why it’s BS.

This morning, Hamilton wrote “Tell your friends, neighbors, family and co-workers the truth about the tax bill that was vetoed. That bill was a conference report, jointly authored and unanimously passed by a House-Senate conference committee.” Later, Hamilton noted that the conference committee was comprised of “Sen. Rod Skoe (DFL – Clearbrook) – Senate Tax Committee Chairman, Sen. Paul Gazelka (R – Nisswa),
Sen. Ann Rest (DFL – New Hope), Sen. Lyle Koenen (DFL – Clara City), Sen. Kari Dziedzic (DFL – Minneapolis), Rep. Greg Davids (R – Preston) – House Tax Committee Chairman, Rep. Steve Drazkowski (R – Mazeppa), Rep. Bob Barrett (R – Lindstrom), Rep. Chris Swedzinski (R – Ghent) and Rep. Gene Pelowski (DFL – Winona).”

Hamilton then noted that “the conferees assembled a bill that passed the full House by a vote of 123-10.”

House Minority Leader Paul Thissen has been leading the chorus against the bill, now that it has been vetoed.

Let the record reflect that the following DFL members of the House voted for the conference report: Allen, Anzelc, Applebaum, Atkins, Bernardy, Bly, Carlson, Clark, Considine, Davnie, Dehn, Ecklund, Erhardt, Fischer, Flanagan, Halverson, Hausman, Hilstrom, Hortman, Isaacson, Johnson C., Kahn, Laine, Lein, Lillie, Loeffler, Mahoney, Mariani, Marquart, Masin, Melin, Metsa, Moran, Mullery, Murphy M., Nelson, Newton, Norton, Pelowski, Persell, Poppe, Rosenthal, Schoen, Schultz, Wagenius, Ward, Yarusso, Yuakim.

In fact, only 9 House Democrats voted “no.”

Let’s dispel this myth that Republicans are hard-headed ideologues. The Tax Bill passed 123-10 in the House and 55-12 in the Senate. That’s 178 legislators voting for the supposedly deeply flawed bill vs. 22 legislators voting against the deeply flawed bill.

Gov. Dayton insists that the GOP must make more bipartisan gestures. With all due respect, Gov. Dayton, that’s BS. Any bill that was put together by a conference committee composed of equal numbers of DFL legislators and GOP legislators is necessarily bipartisan. Additionally, any bill that passes with 89% of legislators is necessarily bipartisan.

Next, let’s examine the Capital Improvement Bill that passed the House. It passed 91-39. It passed with 70% of the vote:

Democrats who voted in favor of the bill:

Anzelc, Bly, Carlson, Clark, Dehn, Ecklund, Erhardt, Fischer, Frieberg, Hausman, Isaacson, Johnson C., Johnson S., Kahn, Lien, Lillie, Mahoney, Mariani, Marquart, Masin, Melin, Metsa, Moran, Murphy M., Newton, Pelowski, Pinto, Poppe, Rosenthal, Sundin, Yarusso.

It’s too much to think that the DFL will relent. That isn’t happening. They’ll continue their lies through Election Day. The next best remedy to the DFL’s dishonesty is to continually call them out as dishonest power-mongers.

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I’ll be appearing on Ox in the Afternoon at 3:10 this afternoon. Sorry for the short notice. We’ll be talking all things Thissen. Read all my articles by clicking this link. Follow this link to listen to all of Ox’s podcasts. My interview will be posted there Thursday night after the show. PS- This is the article that got everything started.

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.

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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.

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