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Jim Knoblach, the GOP-endorsed candidate for House District 14B, issued this press release on his fundraising totals thus far:

KNOBLACH RAISES OVER $57,000, HAS $42,000 IN BANK

Jim Knoblach (St. Cloud), the Republican candidate for State House District 14B, announced today that he had raised $57,249 in the four months since he filed for office, and that he had $41,941 in the bank as of July 21, the preprimary reporting date.

This contrasts with his opponent, Zachary Dorholt, who reported raising $19,820, and reported having $8,626.61 in the bank. The vast majority of Knoblach’s funds were raised from Minnesota individuals. Over 60% of Dorholt’s funds were raised from out of state individuals, PACs, or lobbyists.

“I am gratified at the support of my many contributors,” said Knoblach. “This is a campaign funded by Minnesotans who care about our state, not out of state individuals and special interests.”

Knoblach also announced that he would not be accepting public subsidies for his campaign, for which he is eligible. This includes both a state check of approximately $3,000, as well as eligibility for the state political contribution refund.

“This move is necessary to allow me to combat the special interest money that already flowing into this race,” said Knoblach. “District 14B was the most expensive State House race in the state in 2012. My opponent beat King Banaian in large part because outside special interest groups poured over $300,000 into this race against Banaian. It would be crazy to agree to abide by the spending limit of $62,600 in exchange for receiving public funding, knowing this will likely happen again. It is an added bonus that by not agreeing I will not be spending taxpayer funds.

“I truly regret the enormous sums spent on these campaigns,” said Knoblach. “However, with my opponent likely to again benefit from hundreds of thousands of dollars of out of state special interest money, I need to be able to respond to his negative attacks.”

This is a shot across Mr. Dorholt’s bow. I’m sure Dorholt expected Jim Knoblach to be well-financed. I’m betting, though, that he wasn’t expecting this fundraising total from Jim.

What’s interesting is reading Mr. Dorholt’s campaign finance report. The reason it’s interesting reading is because it has a lengthy list of out-of-state special interests contributions. That begs the question of who Mr. Dorholt represents. Does he represent his district or does he represent the DFL’s Metrocrats? At this point, there’s little question that Dorholt represents Speaker Thissen’s wishes. He voted with Speaker Thissen 99% of the time on issues of importance.

The Twin Cities doesn’t need another representative. St. Cloud, however, needs a real representative in the worst way. HD-14B needs a legislator who’s interested in the important local issues. Zach Dorholt’s press releases don’t read like they’re written by someone interested in St. Cloud. They’re mostly about touting Gov. Dayton’s and the DFL’s so-called accomplishments.

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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.

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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.

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I just published this post to highlight the DFL’s failure to put the highest priorities on the most important things. In that post, it was mostly about what I’m calling the Pothole Crisis. According to the Minnesota Transportation Alliance, the DFL legislature only appropriated $15,000,000 for pothole repairs on Minnesota’s trunk highways and county roads.

As frightening as it is to think that the DFL didn’t put a high priority on this crisis, that isn’t the only thing where the DFL didn’t put a high priority on an important matter. Rep. Matt Dean explains in this post:

Dean said there are some major differences between what the House and Senate bonding committees propose. The biggest one, he said, is a southwest Minnesota water project.

“Lewis and Clark is a big deal,” Dean said. “We think that should be the first project in and not the last project in.”

The project should receive the nearly $70 million it needs to move water to residents in the Luverne and Worthington areas, Dean said. Dean, like other Republicans, said that museums, theaters and other arts projects should get less money so Lewis and Clark can be fully funded.

The DFL wrote the bonding bills. They put in a few projects that the Republican legislators want in their attempt to pick off a few votes to pass the bill. What they didn’t do is prioritize their spending.

The fact that the DFL’s bill shortchanges an important infrastructure project but puts in tons of money for frivolous projects highlights the Democrats’ inability to say no to silliness and their inability to say yes to important infrastructure projects.

Minnesota’s taxpayers can’t afford more of the DFL’s foolish priorities. They shouldn’t have to deal with a political party that isn’t putting the highest priorities on the most important projects. Spending $90,000,000 on the ‘Part-Time Politicians’ Palace’, aka the Senate Office building but only spending $15,000,000 on Minnesota’s Pothole Crisis isn’t just foolishness. It’s outright stupidity.

The DFL’s decision to spend money on theater renovations and other entertainment projects instead of fully funding an important infrastructure project is proof positive that their priorities aren’t Minnesota’s priorities.

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Contrary to what this SC Times editorial says, St. Cloud legislators should vote against the DFL’s pork-filled bonding bill. When you factor this information into the equation, it’s the right thing to do:

Not quite so clear-cut are a mix of additional projects statewide proposed to be paid for with cash lawmakers want to pull from the state’s projected budget surplus.

Unlike the bonding bill, any negotiated bonding deal using this money requires majority votes only, meaning the DFL controls the outcome.

Dayton’s surplus-funded list totals about $126 million. The Senate plan pushes $200 million. And the House plan sits at $125 million, although House DFL leaders have talked of increasing that amount.

If the DFL insists on spending $200,000,000 of one-time surplus money in addition to the $850,000,000 bonding bill, then Republicans should vote no without hesitating. If the DFL wants to be that fiscally reckless, let them explain their actions. Republicans shouldn’t provide political cover for DFL legislators.

The Senate plan provides $11 million for a parking ramp near the center. Plans released earlier from the House and Gov. Mark Dayton both provided $11.56 million, which equates to full funding for the ramp. Obviously, full funding is preferred. Regardless, inclusion in all three plans is the best sign yet that the state will finally contribute to this vital regional project.

There’s no question that the St. Cloud business community and St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis want this project. Similarly, there’s no question whether the DFL’s additional nonbonding spending is a deal breaker, especially in light of the fact that none of the bonding bills includes much money for filling Minnesota’s potholes or fixing Minnesota’s bridges.

A bonding bill that prioritized fixing Minnesota’s potholes and bridges would be a worthwhile investment. It’s impossible to sell Minnesotans that a bill that’s mostly about funding convention centers and renovating the Ordway isn’t a Minnesota priority.

That’s why voting no on the current proposal is imperative.

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This morning, I wrote this article about Rep. Rick Nolan’s cancelled fundraiser with convicted pedophile Peter Yarrow. Yarrow was convicted in 1970 of “making ‘immoral and improper’ actions with an underage girl.”

That’s a little too politically correct for me. The unabridged, politically incorrect version of the story is that Yarrow is a convicted pedophile who did unspeakable things to a 14-year-old girl and her 17-year-old sister. While Nolan insists that Yarrow has “done a lot of good for a lot of people,” the truth is that those children are scarred for life. They’ll never be whole again.

Unfortunately, this is just the most recent incident involving the DFL and a pedophile. In 2012, State Rep. Kelly Gauthier was caught in an almost equally disgusting act of pedophilia:

State Patrol will confirm that one witness approached a trooper around 11 at night on July 22nd to report an incident.

The State Patrol turned the investigation over to the Duluth Police Department. Well placed sources today told the Northland’s NewsCenter, the incident involved a 17 year old boy with whom Gauthier was reportedly engaged in a sexual act.

Because the age of consent in Minnesota is 16, it is not illegal to have sex with someone who is 17. However it can be a misdemeanor to engage in sex acts in a public place.

Our sources say Representative Gauthier met the young man on Craig’s List and that police are investigating the potential that money changed hands which could make it a criminal matter.

I suspect that most Minnesotans wouldn’t be satisfied with 16 being able to consent. I suspect that most Minnesotans would be disgusted with a forty-something-year-old having sex with a 17-year-old. I’m betting most Minnesotans would define that as pedophilia even if the courts wouldn’t.

What’s worse is that DFL Chairman Ken Martin and DFL House Speaker Paul Thissen knew about Rep. Gauthier’s actions in July, 2012, which is more than a month before this news broke. Martin and Thissen protected that disgusting person for more than a month before word got out.

The sad truth is that, whether we’re talking about Peter Yarrow hosting a fundraiser for Rick Nolan or Paul Thissen hiding Rep. Gauthier’s public sexual conduct with a 17-year-old, the DFL isn’t outraged by the actions of creeps like Peter Yarrow and Kelly Gauthier.

That’s a history I’d want suppressed if I were a Democrat. That’s a history I’d be disgusted with if I was just an average citizen.

It’s time that the DFL stopped making excuses for disgusting excuses of a human being. It’s time they actually stood against pedophiles.

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This morning, Rep. Matt Dean and Sen. Roger Chamberlain submitted a bill that would strip funding for Sen. Bakk’s Office Building:

Republican legislators are pushing a bill that would block construction of the much-maligned new Senate office building complex. Already a source of criticism from many conservatives, the building is now the subject of legislation brought by Rep. Matt Dean, R-Dellwood, and Sen. Roger Chamberlain, R-Lino Lakes, that would strip the crucial language from the 2013 tax bill, leaving the $90 million project unfunded.

Dean and Chamberlain highlighted their bill with a Monday morning Capitol press conference. Joined by numerous other GOP lawmakers, they spelled out a number of complaints with the construction plan, which they say is unpopular and unnecessary.

“Republicans’ priorities are family first, people first, before the needs of politicians,” Chamberlain said.

I can’t see Speaker Thissen letting this bill get a hearing, which means passing this bill is virtually dead in the water. Thissen can’t afford to let the bill get out of committee and to the House floor for a vote on final passage. If it gets a vote on final passage, his vulnerable members would have to choose between voting against the bill, which is political suicide or voting for the bill, which would put the Senate in a difficult position.

Frankly, this is a political hot potato for the DFL. Most DFL legislators in the House and Senate voted for the Office Building. Some, like Zach Dorholt, have said that they voted for the bill because they wanted to vote for the tax increases. If this comes up for a vote, Rep. Dorholt would have to decide whether he’ll leave Sen. Bakk and other DFL legislators hanging or if he’d vote against the Chamberlain-Dean legislation.

If the Chamberlain-Dean bill passes the House, Sen. Bakk will be in a predicament. If he tables it, it’ll create an anti-DFL backlash across the state. Every DFL legislator will be tagged as part of the party that puts politicians first. Voters won’t make a distinction between senators and representatives just like they don’t differentiate between DC politicians and state legislators.

The prevailing storyline will be DFL legislators looking out for each other. Either that or it’ll be politicians putting themselves first, families way down the list. This is a heads, the DFL loses, tail and the DFL can’t win situation. This is brilliant from a tactical standpoint.

That’s before talking about Jim Knoblach’s appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court. The first judge essentially ruled that anything could be included in the Tax Bill because it finances state or local government operations. In other words, that judge gutted the Single Subject Clause of Minnesota’s constitution.

If the Supreme Court rules the way the first court should’ve ruled, the Chamberlain-Dean bill will be moot.

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Last week, the DFL Senate’s spin about passing ‘tax relief’ was that the DFL added money to Minnesota’s Rainy Day Fund while providing tax relief to the people:

Nearly every Republican joined most DFLers in backing it, but GOP members criticized the majority for a provision in the bill that adds $150 million to state budget reserves. That brings the state’s rainy-day fund to more than $800 million, but Republicans said that money should go back to taxpayers too.

This puts the DFL in a difficult position. When they talk about a bonding bill, their predictable mantra is that spending x amount of dollars in a bonding bill creates thousands of jobs. When they’re talking about tax relief, though, taking $800,000,000 out of the private sector’s hands, the DFL’s argument essentially is that this doesn’t hurt job creation.

Having some money in the Rainy Day Fund is appropriate but having almost $1,000,000,000 in the Rainy Day Fund is criminal because it’s taking money that should be used for creating jobs and putting it away to maintain government spending longer than government spending should be maintained.

The other thing that the DFL has to be exposed on is the myth that the surplus is proof that Minnesota’s economy is booming. That’s BS. The government is wealthier than it was with the GOP legislature but that’s it. The surplus is proof that the DFL’s tax increase is stealing too much money from families and small businesses.

The DFL is ok with that because the DFL has sworn its allegiance to growing government to the point that it’s intruding in people’s lives too much. The DFL objected to PolyMet until recently. They’re still objecting to the silica sand mining in southern Minnesota. They’re objecting while chanting ‘the environment’. Nowhere in their chanting points is there a mention about families needing the high-paying jobs that silica sand mining and PolyMet would provide.

The DFL’s Rainy Day rip-off is proof that the DFL’s highest priorities are feeding government while appeasing militant environmentalists. Those aren’t the average Minnesotan’s priorities. They want policies that create jobs that don’t require raising taxes to create. At this point, the DFL doesn’t champion policies like that.

The DFL’s policies promote intrusive, expensive and inefficient government. How many people know that taxpayers’ money is being used to lobby the legislature to spend more of the taxpayers’ money? The Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities spent $840,000 lobbying for the legislature to spend more of the taxpayers’ money. While they’re the biggest in that classification, they weren’t the only organization doing that. The League of Minnesota Cities spent $628,945 lobbying the legislature to spend more of the taxpayers’ money on cities.

The definition of corruption is using the taxpayers’ money to convince legislators that they aren’t spending enough of the taxpayers’ money. In that scenario, the taxpayers are getting shafted twice. How isn’t that corrupt?

That’s before talking about the millions of dollars being paid to legislative liaisons. Legislative liaisons is government-speak for taxpayer-funded lobbyists. State agencies are littered with legislative liaisons. If that position was eliminated from state government, government spending would drop dramatically.

It isn’t that legislative liaisons get expensive salaries. It’s that they convince DFL legislators to spend tons of money they don’t need to spend.

If Minnesotans want a real economy, the DFL is the worst option. If Minnesotans want money spent efficiently, the DFL is the worst option. If Minnesota families want government dictating to them what they can and can’t do, then the DFL is the right choice. If Minnesota families want government ripping them off and putting productive money into a dead fund, then the DFL is the only choice.

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This article sickens me because it’s intellectually dishonest. Baird Helgeson is intent on portraying the DFL as heroic tax cutters. That’s BS. The DFL is the party that taxes first, then waits to see if there’s a backlash. If there’s a backlash, they pass a Tax Repair Bill like they did Friday.

“This is a monumental victory for the DFL leadership in the Legislature and just shows that we have a balanced approach to Minnesota,” Dayton said during a celebratory news conference with DFL House and Senate leaders. “That’s what people wanted.”

Despite Gov. Dayton’s attempt to praise the DFL leadership in the House and Senate, it’s just proof that Gov. Dayton is intent on painting over his criticism of Sen. Bakk earlier this week. Here’s what he said earlier this week:

I’m very disappointed that we have not been able to reach a bill and frankly, we’ve got a meeting this afternoon with House and Senate leaders. I just have to say that the impasse isn’t around the tax bill. It’s about the Legislative Office Building and the Senate’s insistence that they have the building and they aren’t willing to let a reasonable tax bill proceed on a timely basis until they get the building and the House’s unwillingness at this point to agree to that. So I hope that Minnesotans will communicate with their legislators, and these are Democrat legislators, I’m sorry to say, that this is inexcusable and unacceptable.

Which is it, Gov. Dayton? Does Sen. Bakk deserve praise for stalling a bill to pressure the House into approving Bakk’s Palace? Does the DFL deserve praise for passing the biggest tax increase in Minnesota history last year, then repealing a tiny fraction of them this year? Does the DFL deserve praise for raising taxes and fees by $2,400,000,000 last year, then giving $440,000,000 of that back this year?

Minnesotans shouldn’t be happy that the DFL finally listened to them. They shouldn’t be happy that the DFL did the right thing only after the DFL started worrying about this year’s elections. That isn’t representing the people. That’s voting the DFL’s ideology.

It’s proof that the DFL will always do the right thing…when it’s the only option left.

The House and Senate passed the bill overwhelmingly on Friday. Nearly every Republican joined most DFLers in backing it, but GOP members criticized the majority for a provision in the bill that adds $150 million to state budget reserves. That brings the state’s rainy-day fund to more than $800 million, but Republicans said that money should go back to taxpayers too.

Putting that much money into the state’s rainy day fund is criminal. That’s stealing money from businesses that would create jobs with it. The DFL is putting money aside so the DFL won’t have to spend money efficiently. They’d rather pay off their special interest allies with the taxpayers’ hard-earned money. The DFL wouldn’t be able to pay off their special interest allies with taxpayers money if money was spent efficiently. It’s time the DFL stopped feeding their special interest allies and started representing their constituents.

Thus far, the DFL hasn’t proven that they’re interested in doing the right thing the first time. They’ve proven quite the opposite. This week, the DFL proved that they’ll do the right thing only when they’re worried about the next election.

That isn’t leadership. That’s called brinksmanship, which shouldn’t be rewarded with praise. This isn’t tax relief:

Much of the tax relief is delivered by conforming to recent changes in federal tax law, and about $57 million of it is retroactive to taxes paid in 2013.

Typically, tax conformity is the first bill passed by the legislature each year. It’s typically the first bill the governor signs each year. By waiting until after thousands of people have filed their tax returns before passing the tax conformity bill, the DFL just caused taxpayers the headache of filing an amended return. The DFL didn’t give thousands of people the opportunity to do their taxes once. Instead, Sen. Bakk opted to force thousands to file amended returns.

That isn’t cause for celebration. That’s cause for criticism. The DFL, specifically Sen. Bakk, put a high priority on getting the Senate Office Building approved. The DFL, especially Sen. Bakk, didn’t put a high priority on passing what I’m calling the Tax Repair Bill. Sen. Bakk said that the Senate couldn’t be rushed into passing the Tax Repair Bill because they were studying the impacts the tax repeals would have.

Sen. Bakk said that until he was exposed as playing political games with the Tax Repair Bill. Then he went into warp speed.

The GOP deserves praise in this for not supporting the biggest tax increase in Minnesota history. The GOP deserves praise for not buying into the DFL’s counterproductive tax increases. Minnesotans deserve praise for passionately criticizing the DFL’s tax increases.

UPDATE: This video is sickening:

Speaker Thissen spoke about tax relief for possibly 1,000,000 Minnesotans. Sen. Bakk praised the DFL for working at warp speed to get these tax ‘cuts’ passed. Isn’t it interesting that Sen. Bakk conveniently omitted the part about how he tried holding the tax repeals hostage to force the House to approve his Senate Office Building project? He didn’t budge until Gov. Dayton threw him under the bus because the political backlash was threatening a second Dayton term.

Sen. Bakk deserves criticism for playing politics with this Tax Repair Bill. Speaker Thissen and Gov. Dayton deserve criticism for passing the original tax increases which they repealed Friday. The DFL ‘leadership’ deserves criticism for putting a higher priority on voting their ideology than representing their constituents.

The good news is that we can fix two-thirds of the problem this November.

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Based on this article, I’ve got to question whether the DFL is the united party that Twin Cities journalists, aka the DFL praetorian guard, would have us believe. Here’s the latest information that suggests the DFL isn’t the united party it’s pretending to be:

Gov. Dayton made his first public appearance since undergoing hip surgery in February to voice his disappointment for Senate DFLers, who he claimed were holding a tax relief bill hostage unless their demands over a new building were addressed. “The impasse is not around the tax bill,” Dayton said. “It’s about the legislative office building and the Senate’s insistence that they have the building.”

But Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk of Cook denied allegations that his members were holding up millions of dollars. “I don’t believe it’s been delayed any and I don’t know how much faster we could’ve gotten this up to the floor than we’re doing right now,” Bakk said.

That high-level back-and-forth between Gov. Dayton and Sen. Bakk over Sen. Bakk’s precious office building is just the tip of the iceberg. Here’s where the fight escalates:

Though he wasn’t willing to provide names of which senators were holding up the bill, Dayton did state, “The differences on tax policy are relatively minor and easily resolvable. It doesn’t do justice for the people of Minnesota to be in the situation we’re in now.

But House Speaker Paul Thissen of Minneapolis was willing to point fingers and right at Bakk. “It became clear that Sen. Bakk thinks that including a Senate Office Building in the tax bill is the only way he’s going to get his Senate Office Building done. We don’t believe that is the case but that is where we are,” Thissen said.

The animosity between Sen. Bakk and Speaker Thissen is one of the worst-kept secrets at the Capitol. Simply put, they’re enemies, not rivals. You can practically feel the joy Speaker Thissen felt in criticizing Sen. Bakk. This isn’t just a little dispute. This is the start of a full-fledged war:

Addressing the Senate building accusations, Bakk did admit that he was “disappointed” that the House hasn’t made progress on the issue and assumed it was because House members wouldn’t be impacted by the need for space. “To think that the Senate is going to give up all this space and just be kicked out on the street. That’s just not going to happen. And we just don’t understanding why the House hasn’t acted in some urgency,” Bakk said.

I’d say that someone needs a timeout for not playing well with others but that’s just my opinion. Seriously, Sen. Bakk’s mini-diatribe might indicate that he realizes he’s just lost his biggest bargaining chip against the House in his quest for getting Bakk’s Palace built.

That’s before talking about the erupting fight between the Iron Range Democrats and the Metrocrats. Sen. Bakk represents the Iron Range while Thissen and Dayton represent the Metrocrats. Thanks to their differing opinions on PolyMet, a fight is about to break out on that issue:

“Clearly this opens up the clash and conflict between those DFLers who value the environment first, versus those who value jobs first. We will all have to answer the question, ‘Whose side are you on?’” Anzelc said. “I think this issue has the potential to divide the DFL convention this summer. The table is set for Democrats running for statewide office to have a real challenging time of it in the ’14 elections.”

This is one of those rare times when the Republicans’ best strategy is to step to the side and watch the DFL fur fly. There’s no sense interjecting one’s self into a fight when your enemies are destroying each other.

It’ll take some effort resolving to get Sen. Bakk on board with the DFL agenda after he’s gotten shafted on his office building project. It’ll take a minor miracle to unite the DFL considering the looming fight over PolyMet. This is shaping up to being a major food fight for the DFL.

It ain’t gonna be pretty.

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