Archive for the ‘Keith Downey’ Category
Let’s be clear about something from the start. Today’s DFL activists are thugs without character. They’re people who should be locked up for years. Last week, there was a fundraiser in Minneapolis for GOP presidential nominee Donald J. Trump. DFL protesters didn’t bother trying to act like decent human beings. They acted like thugs. In fact, some of them allegedly committed crimes. That’s right. Some DFL thugs allegedly committed crimes.
Betsey Hodges needs to answer for her decisions. Ken Martin needs to be asked why DFL protesters are thugs, not protesters. Minneapolis police need to explain who told them to not protect people attending the Trump fundraiser. At this point, none of those things have happened.
Apparently, Mayor Hodges didn’t beef up security for the Trump event. Why she didn’t anticipate a violent reception is beyond explanation This is the Twin Cities, after all, the place where Black Lives Matter protesters started the night by blocking traffic on I-94 before escalating that to throwing cement blocks and rebar at police officers.
Even someone as airheaded as Betsey Hodges should’ve figured it out that violence was imminent. This didn’t require a rocket scientist. Betsey Hodges should’ve figured this out. Check out this video:
There’s no need for Keith Downey to demand an apology of anyone. There’s no need to halfheartedly criticize Ken Martin. What’s required is a chairman who would’ve told reporters that Ken Martin is the chairman of a political party that’s composed mostly of two-bit thugs and lowlifes. What’s required is a chairman that will call Betsey Hodges incompetent to run a Kool-Aid stand, much less a large city.
Chairman Downey, there’s a time for politeness. This wasn’t one of those times. Friday night was a time for you to empty both barrels at Betsey Hodges for not protecting citizens visiting her city. Friday night was a night to expose the DFL as the party that panders to the violent thugs of the Black Lives Matter movement of thugs.
It’s been years since the regular session of the Minnesota Legislature was this ‘colorful’. It didn’t take long for the fireworks to start, which leads into the regular session’s losers list:
- Mark Dayton — Dayton announced that he was unbound now that he’d run his last campaign. It didn’t take long before we learned that that meant he’d start lobbing grenades at whoever got him upset. Tom Bakk ambushed him on the commissioners pay raises. Sen. Bakk, here’s your grenade. Republicans proposed a new way to fund fixing Minnesota’s potholed roads. Here’s your grenade. Gov. Dayton also misread the Republicans and Kurt Daudt. He thought he could bully them into compliance. Though his bullying was ever-present, it didn’t move Republicans because their agenda was popular with Minnesotans. Gov. Dayton never figured that out. He’s still whining about it after the special session.
- Tom Bakk — Sen. Bakk ambushed Gov. Dayton on the commissioners pay raises but he didn’t do it until they became unpopular with Minnesotans. Sen. Bakk’s ambush smacked more of political opportunism than voicing displeasure with a bad policy. That was especially true when a reporter actually pointed out that Sen. Bakk voted for the pay raises. Sen. Bakk got stung hard when Gov. Dayton accused him of stabbing him in the back. Later, Gov. Dayton said that he trusted Speaker Daudt more than he trusted Sen. Bakk. FYI- That wound never healed. I don’t know that it ever will.
- Metrocrats — They came in with high expectations. Tina Flint-Smith was the new Lt. Governor. They had a bold progressive spending agenda. By the time the session was over, Rep. Thissen’s face was more likely to be seen on milk cartons than at negotiating sessions.
- Move MN — They fought for a gas tax increase. They lobbied both caucuses hard, sometimes sneakily. In the end, they got their lunch handed to them.
- Brian McDaniel — Brian McDaniel isn’t a household name to most Minnesotans but he’s known by political nerds like me. McDaniel is Republican lobbyist who lobbied for the aforementioned gas tax increase. What’s worst is that he didn’t disclose that he was lobbying for Move MN when he went on Almanac or At Issue. That’s definitely unethical.
- Keith Downey — His ‘Send it all back’ tax refund campaign was a disaster. He knew that a $2,000,000,000 tax cut didn’t have a chance of passing. Period. When he appeared in the ad himself, he made himself the face of opposition to the House Republicans’ agenda. The Twin Cities media had a field day playing up that dispute.
I’m sure there were other losers during the regular session but that’s my list. If you want to add to this list or if you want to disagree with me, knock yourself out.
MNGOP Chairman Keith Downey’s op-ed mentions a statistic that needs to be expanded upon:
Most importantly, Schultz never once mentioned the most basic budget facts: State spending on autopilot is scheduled to grow 21 percent over four years, from $34 billion to $41 billion, without spending a dime of the surplus or raising any new taxes. And Democrats have proposed a budget that spends almost the entire surplus — and raises taxes, for an $8 billion, 24 percent increase in spending over four years, from $34 billion to well over $42 billion.
The DFL automatically calculates inflation into their budgets. That’s because, in their way of thinking, that every penny ever appropriated needs to be spent forevermore. It presumes that that money is being spent efficiently and that there isn’t a better way of providing the same service less expensively.
That’s assuming that each agency’s and department’s staffing must increase. The DFL wouldn’t think of eliminating the Met Council or the MnSCU Central Office. In the DFL’s mind, they’re pictures of efficiency and importance. In reality, they’re neither. They’re portraits of inefficiency, cronyism and corruption.
When MNsure was created, the legislature created an oversight committee. It met a couple times, then went silent for months while MNsure imploded. The committee didn’t meet again until after April Todd-Malmlov resigned after taking a 2-week vacation to Costa Rica while MNsure imploded.
The DFL doesn’t believe in oversight. They never have because they don’t think money is ever misspent. Either that or the DFL legislators that think there’s a need for change get bullied by the DFL machine into giving up their reform ideas.
That’s what happened with Gene Pelowski. Everyone knows Rep. Pelowski hates MnSCU. He initially talked a great reform/accountability game while he chaired the House Higher Ed Committee. That changed when it came time to put a budget together. Suddenly, Chairman Pelowski, the reformer, turned a blind eye towards MnSCU. He didn’t even know that Dr. Rosenstone had signed a contract extension that raised his pay by almost $50,000 a year.
If Minnesotans want to continue getting fleeced, all they have to do is keep voting for budget by autopilot. As a bonus, they’ll get a legislature that doesn’t believe in oversight or accountability.
Technorati: Keith Downey, Reforms, Accountability, MNGOP, David Schultz, Gene Pelowski, MnSCU, MNsure, Met Council, April Todd-Malmlov, Cronyism, Community Action, Corruption, DFL Culture of Corruption
There hasn’t been much of a dispute as to whether the DFL is attached at the lip with the Alliance for a Better Minnesota, aka ABM. After watching Almanac’s opening interview tonight, the debate is over on that. Ken Martin and the DFL are definitely attached at the lip to ABM.
During the opening part of the interview between Keith Downey and Ken Martin, Martin said that “the Parties’ priorities” were visible, that the DFL wanted to give free all-day Pre-K to 4-year-olds while the Republicans’ first bill called for “tax cuts for the rich, the powerful and corporations.” When I heard that, I immediately remembered this e-letter from ABM:
Once again, Republicans chose big corporations over real commitments to working families, schools, roads, bridges, and colleges.
ABM could sue Martin for plagiarism if he didn’t still get his marching orders from them. While it’s true that he’s technically the DFL Party Chair, he’s still working for ABM.
What’s stunning is the DFL’s intellectual dishonesty. I’ve read millions of articles about the DFL’s proposed middle class tax cuts and the Republicans’ proposed tax cuts. In all that time, I’ve yet to see the DFL’s imaginary tax cuts described as anything but targeted at the middle class. (The fact that the DFL’s proposed tax cuts never seem to materialize is seemingly irrelevant.) I’ve yet to hear the Republicans’ proposed tax cuts as anything but helping “the rich, the powerful and corporations.”
Let this post remind conservatives that the DFL a) isn’t tethered to the truth, b) is the same entity as ABM and c) won’t tell the truth about Republicans even if their lives depended on it. Ken Martin’s interviews are consistently filled with, putting it gently, inaccuracies. Put a bit more directly, I wouldn’t trust Ken Martin as far as I could throw him if I had 2 broken arms and a bad back and I was weak to begin with.
Brian Bakst’s AP article contains this quote, which proves Gov. Dayton will lie if that’s what he thinks he needs to get elected:
Dayton sees it as “an indication of how desperate the Republicans are to find something to complain about because they know the economy is improving and growing rapidly.”
Gov. Dayton’s statement is, at minimum, fiction. At most, it’s an outright lie. If Minnesota’s economy is “growing rapidly”, as Gov. Dayton insists, why haven’t revenues met projections 5 of the last 6 months? If Minnesota’s economy is “growing rapidly,” why did revenues fall 6.6% short of projections last month?
There’s little doubt in my mind that Gov. Dayton will continue repeating that fiction the rest of the campaign. He isn’t worried that the media will question his statement. Brian Bakst certainly didn’t question Gov. Dayton’s statement. I haven’t seen other reporters question the Alliance for a Better Minnesota’s latest video that insists that Minnesota is working, either.
Let’s be blunt about this. Gov. Dayton hasn’t hesitated in insisting that Minnesota’s economy is doing well. ABM hasn’t hesitated in insisting that life under Gov. Dayton is a return to the DFL’s glory days. The Twin Cities media hasn’t questioned the voracity of Gov. Dayton’s statements or ABM’s lies.
ABM won’t say anything about the fact that DEED just announced the fact that Minnesota’s economy just lost 7,800 in the last jobs report. DEED reported that Minnesota’s economy shrunk by 4,200 jobs in July and that they’d overestimated the number of jobs created in June by 3,600.
Gov. Dayton certainly won’t talk about the verifie fact that Minnesota’s economy has create a pathetic 2,900 jobs thus far this year. Why would he when he knows that ABM will lie for him and the Twin Cities media won’t question him?
If Republicans don’t start questioning the media, Gov. Dayton and ABM, they’ll lose this highly winnable election. When I say Republicans, that’s everyone from Keith Downey to Jeff Johnson and Bill Quisle to legislative candidates like Dale Lueck and Jim Knoblach to the activists working to win over voters, then getting them to vote for Republicans.
“The Republicans are right in saying the economy still looks dismal relative to reasonable expectations,” Chari said. “The Democrats are also right in saying there’s only a limited amount in what a governor of a relatively small state can do when faced with headwinds this strong.”
Actually, this graphic says that a governor’s policies can have a rather dramatic impact on the economy:
That graphic is proof that job creation tanked after the Dayton-DFL tax increase went into effect. That graphic verifies as fact that Minnesota’s economy has created few jobs this year. While jobs were created by the hundreds when Republicans had the majority in the House and Senate, jobs are being create by the dozens since the Dayton-DFL tax increases took effect. In fact, Minnesota had negative job growth last month.
It isn’t surprising that Gov. Dayton and the Alliance for a Better Minnesota is telling whoppers about the state of the state’s economy. It’s up to Jeff Johnson and the Republican Party of Minnesota to swat down Gov. Dayton’s and ABM’s myths.
The statistics are there. All we have to do is tell the truth.
Friday night, Keith Downey, the chairman of the Republican Party of Minnesota, faced off against Ken Martin, the chairman of the DFL. For the most part, it was nondescript, with the first questions focusing on each party’s strategy with absentee ballots. It turned feisty, though, when Cathy Wurzer talked about the Cook Report changing its rating of the Eighth District congressional race to toss-up:
WURZER: How worried are Democrats about that race?
MARTIN: I wouldn’t say we’re worried but we aren’t taking anything for granted. In a midterm, crazy things can happen and we’re working very hard in the Eighth Congressional District. We’ve got a great candidate in Congressman Nolan who has actually done the hard work of governing and getting things done on behalf of his constituents and I think that alone will help him win re-election.
WURZER: Are you surprised that experts — so-called experts — think that this is a toss-up in what we’ve long thought of as a pretty deep blue district?
MARTIN: No, I’m not surprised. Over time, the district has changed, no doubt about it. The addition of those southern counties has made it more competitive. There’s been a change in some of the demographics in the district sso I’m not surprised that pundits are saying that. I am surprised that they think it’s competitive because I think the candidate they have is really out of touch with the voters in that district. You have a guy in Stewart Mills who was born on third base and thinks he hit a triple. He’s never had to fill out a job application in his life and I don’t think that the blue collar workers of the Eighth District are going to take well to someone like Stewart Mills.
I’m not surprised that Ken Martin immediately attacked Stewart Mills as an out-of-touch rich guy. I also wasn’t surprised by Keith Downey’s response:
DOWNEY: Well, take away the personal insults and I think Stewart Mills is actually a fantastic candidate for the Eighth and you combine that with the fact that people are figuring out that people on the Iron Range are waking up to the reality that Democrats are committed to pretty much shutting down mining entirely up on the Iron Range. You look at the values that Stewart Mills holds and his lifelong residency in the district. I think he’s a great fit in that district.
What’s especially noteworthy is what wasn’t said. What didn’t get said is that Ken Martin didn’t dispute Chairman Downey’s statement that the DFL wants to shut down mining. The reason why that’s so noteworthy is because an attack unchallenged becomes the truth with voters.
Chairman Martin didn’t have any wiggle room because he’s still working hard at keeping the environmental activist wing of his party from bolting from the DFL’s coalition. Right now, the DFL’s coalition is fragile. Chairman Martin can’t afford it to start breaking apart.
That’s why Stewart Mills is a great candidate. He’s totally committed to making mining the Range’s economic growth engine for another generation. Rick Nolan isn’t.
Martin’s snotty remark that Stewart Mills has never filled out a job application in his life should be exploited by the Mills campaign. I’d recommend they turn that around and ask Nolan the last time he managed a company’s health insurange plan. I’d ask him the last time he opened another major retail store that’s committed to paying its employees more than the minimum wage.
I’d ask those questions because they’d expose Nolan to be the career politician he’s always been. I’d ask those questions to highlight the fact that Mills Fleet Farm is a popular store in the north country.
Friday night, Ken Martin and Keith Downey met on Almanac’s set. Martin hurled insults while looking defensive. Downey debated while looking confident about the position Republicans are in.
If it’s Sunday morning, rest assured I’m taping At Issue. This week, DFL Party Chair Ken Martin was asked about the DFL filing a complaint with the Campaign Finance Disclosure Board. The DFL filed this nuisance complaint in an attempt to deflect complaints about 13 DFL senators willfully breaking campaign finance laws by coordinating their ad campaigns with outside groups.
Allegedly, the GOP spent some money but didn’t report spending the money in the right place on the report. At best, the GOP might’ve committed a minor infraction. What the DFL did was painfully illegal:
On Tuesday the Board levied the fine against the DFL after it was discovered that 13 DFL candidates coordinated their campaigns illegally, since properly reclassifying the expenditures means that the candidates illegally exceeded their campaign contribution and/or spending limits. A total of over $300,000 in illegal contributions were not reported by the campaigns.. The board also plans to fine each individual campaign directly, according to a press release from the Minnesota Republican Party.
These 13 DFL senators broke one of the most straightforward campaign finance laws on the books. I knew that candidates couldn’t coordinate their advertising campaigns with special interests’ ad campaigns. That law’s been on the books since the Nixon/Watergate era.
Putting this most succinctly, these DFL senate candidates wanted to win their races so badly that they didn’t hesitate in breaking Minnesota’s campaign finance laws. It isn’t a stretch to think that Alida Messinger would’ve been willing to write the check for the fines in exchange for a DFL-controlled state government.
DFL lawmakers disagreed with the board’s ruling said that they are glad to put the matter to rest.
“Ultimately, it is best to set this distraction aside and allow our members to focus on governing,” DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin said.
It’s infuriating to hear Martin dismiss breaking one of Minnesota’s biggest campaign finance laws by essentially calling it a “distraction.” Then again, it shouldn’t surprise people, especially considering the fact that Martin played a major role in the biggest smear campaigns in Minnesota gubernatorial history. Let’s remember that Martin was an official with the Alliance for a Better Minnesota:
Martin is currently the director of “Win Minnesota“. If you read this blog, you know who they are: they are a PAC that launders the Dayton family’s political contributions to “Alliance For A Better Minnesota” and the “2010 Fund” and the other arms of the Dayton Campaign’s tightly-wound little money-laundering and distribution machine.
ABM was criticized by local reporters and national organizations for their lies. Martin was part of that. Now he’s running the DFL, where he’s dismissing outright cheating as a distraction.
Finally, Martin’s statement that we shouldn’t be ‘distracted’ by their cheating because they’ve got to govern is silly. Thus far, the DFL’s governance has been a disaster. Their tax increases hurt the middle class more than they hurt “the rich.” Their implementation of MNsure has been a total disaster. Gov. Dayton has made statements that question whether he knows what’s happening within his administration.
It’s time for Minnesota to head in a different direction.
True to their waste-aholic history, the DFL legislature voted against government accountability:
A commission designed to judge whether state agencies, councils or boards have outlived their usefulness may itself cease to exist.
The Democratic-controlled House and Senate have voted to abolish the Sunset Advisory Commission, a 12-member commission championed by Republicans as offering greater accountability and efficiency in state government.
“I think they’re (Democrats) scared,” Rep. Joyce Peppin, R-Rogers, said of taking tough votes on the commission.
A product of 2011 legislation, the Sunset Advisory Commission is patterned after a 30-year-old commission in Texas, one billed as having saved the Lone Star State almost $1 billion at a cost of about $33 million.
Minnesota’s Sunset Commission reviews state agencies and recommends whether a given agency should continue to exist.
Rep. Peppin is right. DFL legislators don’t want to vote on wasteful spending. DFL legislators don’t want to admit that their pet agencies, councils and panels are actually patronage positions.
The DFL is spinning their vote:
The idea of duplication was voiced by another commission member, Rep. Michael Nelson, DFL-Brooklyn Park. “One of the tasks of the sunset commission is to get rid of duplicative government functions,” he said. There’s already the Office of the Legislative Auditor.
Why have both? Nelson asks.
Rep. Nelson, we need both because it’s apparent that there’s a ton of bloat in state government, things that the OLA hasn’t discussed.
As for Rep. Nelson’s assertion of duplication, I’d love hearing his explanation on what it’s duplicating. I’d love hearing him cite the times when the OLA has recommended the sunsetting of a commission, panel or council.
Sen. Bonoff’s statement needs ridiculing:
Bonoff, like other Democrats, argues the commission is itself duplicative. “If committee chairs are doing their jobs, they should be doing this kind of detailed oversight,” she said.
There’s a simple explanation for Sen. Bonoff: the chairs have never gotten into this type of detailed oversight. The Sunset Advisory Commission would’ve been a great tool that forced the legislature to deal with commissions, councils and panels that outlived their usefulness.
Furthermore, does any thinking person think that the DFL would investigate the importance or relevance of these hideouts for their political cronies? Let’s get serious. When Keith Downey proposed reducing the state workforce by 15% by not replacing retiring workers, Eliot Seide accused him of waging war “against working families.” What DFL legislator will vote for sunsetting these commissions, councils or panels knowing that they’ll get primaried by an AFSCME-endorsed candidate?
That’s why the Commission is essential.
Finally, this DFL legislature has repeatedly proven that they oppose accountability. The GOP legislature passed a bill that required teachers to pass a basic skills test, which Gov. Dayton signed. The DFL wants to repeal that law. The GOP legislature passed the Sunset Advisory Commission, which Gov. Dayton signed. The DFL legislature just voted to repeal that essential accountability legislation. Will Gov. Dayton reverse himself & say no to government accountability? If he does, he should prepare for getting labeled as a) a hypocrite, b) a cheap politician who does what’s popular, not what’s right and c) the unions’ puppet, not the public’s servant leader.
This week, the DFL legislature voted for higher pay for themselves, higher taxes on the middle class and less accountability within government. I don’t think that’s the bumper sticker they’ll want to deal with in 2014.
Tags: Terry Bonoff, Mike Nelson, Tom Bakk, Paul Thissen, Mark Dayton, Eliot Seide, AFSCME Council 5, Public Employee Unions, Cronyism, DFL, Sunset Advisory Commission, Accountability, Government Oversight, Reforms, MNGOP
Each week, different proof appears that the DFL is intent on eliminating the GOP’s reforms. Months ago, I wrote about the DFL’s attack on teacher accountability, aka HF0171. HF0171 would repeal the basic skills test for teachers that Gov. Dayton signed last year. This week, I wrote about the DFL’s attempt to eliminate the Sunset Advisory Commission.
If the DFL would put forward a good faith effort on reforming government, the Commission would be a great tool for increasing government accountability. In some instances, the Commission would force agencies to justify their existence. In other cases, it would force the agency to justify their staffing and funding levels.
First, why won’t the DFL explain who wrote the bill that would eliminate the basic skills test for teachers? Requiring teachers and applicants to pass such a test isn’t revolutionary. It’s sensible. Why, then, did the DFL write legislation that would eliminate that requirement? They aren’t doing it “for the children” because they’re the first people it’d shortchange. Their parents and other taxpayers are the next people this legislation would shortchange.
It isn’t a stretch to think that EdMinn wrote this legislation because it’s their job to protect union members. If EdMinn wrote that legislation, why isn’t Rep. Ward representing his constituents, not EdMinn? Perhaps Rep. Ward thinks that EdMinn is his constituent and that he doesn’t have to represent the people living in his district.
Second, why is the DFL insisting on eliminating a great tool for increasing government accountability and transparency? Without the Sunset Commission, government oversight doesn’t exist. As recently as last year, the DFL threw a hissy fit when Republicans sought to make government more efficient. They accused the GOP of “waging war against working families.” Eliot Seide held a press availability in which he got exceptionally agitated.
He talked about how Republicans hated “working families” because they questioned whether state agencies, commissions, councils and panels had outlived their usefulness or had expanded themselves beyond their original charter. The Commission’s purpose was to examine these entities, then tell the legislature whether they were still doing what they were created to do and whether that mission was still important.
We know that the DFL doesn’t believe in oversight because they rejected that notion in 2007. That’s when they insisted that spending should be adjusted for inflation. In the DFL’s thinking, once an appropriation is made, it should increase by the rate of inflation in the future.
Another GOP reform required the Minnesota Department of Revenue to factor federal taxes into their annual tax incidence report. Minnesota is one of a tiny handful of states that didn’t do that. Gov. Dayton signed that legislation into law. Now he’s signed it out of existence after the DFL legislature voted to repeal that requirement.
This year’s report had been prepared but it hadn’t been released. That report included federal taxes. The DFL moved quickly, eliminating the federal taxes requirement. The new tax incidence report doesn’t include federal taxes. First, the new report doesn’t give an accurate picture of Minnesota’s taxes. Second, it means that all the time that went into preparing the first report was for nothing.
Is that the type of government efficiency Minnesotans deserve? I’d argue it isn’t. I’d argue that that’s the type of waste that must be eliminated.
While we’re on the subject of taxes, let’s talk about the fact that the DFL isn’t committed to a progressive tax system. I’ll stipulate that they’re great advocates of progressive taxation during campaigns. That’s as far as it goes, though. Then-Candidate Dayton argued passionately for a more progressive taxation system during his campaign. In 2010, he criticized Tom Horner for supporting increases to the alcohol and cigarette taxes:
you’re in favor of raising taxes on alcohol and cigarettes, another regressive tax. So the difference between us is I want to raise taxes on the rich, and you want to raise taxes on sportsmen and women and and middle income working families.
This year, Gov. Dayton’s objections to increasing taxes on alcohol and cigarettes disappeared, most likely because he needs the revenues to increase the size and intrusiveness of state government.
Tags: Mark Dayton, Tax Incidence Report, Minnesota Department of Revenue, Tax Increases, Cigarette Tax, Liquor Tax, Tom Horner, K-12 Education, John Ward, Education Minnesota, DFL, Sunset Advisory Commission, King Banaian, Keith Downey, Pat Garofalo, Accountability, Reforms, MNGOP
It isn’t shocking to think that DFL politicians love overbloated government. Annually, they reflexively propose raising taxes. They love spending the taxpayers’ money on their political allies, too. Protecting union employees is one of their specialties. Two years ago, Gov. Dayton and the DFL threw a collective hissy fit when Keith Downey introduced his 15 by 2015 legislation. From that point forward, every union official seemingly started their sentences with “the Republicans’ war on working families.”
The first bill King Banaian submitted as a legislator was a bill that created the Sunset Advisory Commission. A miracle happened when Phyllis Kahn announced her support for King’s bill. After ending the government shutdown he created, Gov. Dayton signed King’s bill into law.
With the DFL back controlling the legislature and with Gov. Dayton still in office, they’re thinking about eliminating the Sunset Advisory Commission:
A budget bill in the Democratic-led House would get rid of the Minnesota Sunset Advisory Commission. The panel was created two years ago when Republicans were in charge. They touted it as a way to weed out government offices some people deem ineffective.
The commission met about a dozen times over the last couple of years and didn’t recommend cutting any government entities altogether. It did press for further reviews of some boards, including one that regulates combative sports like boxing and mixed martial arts.
The push to eliminate the Sunset Advisory Commission is in a broad budget bill that funds core government agencies.
It isn’t irony. It’s predictable. The DFL legislature, both Sen. Bakk and then-Minority Leader Thissen, used their picks to load up the panel with politicians like Matt Entenza. In short, their picks were people who wanted to undermine the law rather than work in good faith on protecting Minnesota’s taxpayers.
Here’s language from King’s bill:
Sunset Commission. Provides that the Sunset Commission consists of 12 members appointed as follows:
(1) four senators appointed according to the rules of the senate, with no more than three senators from the majority caucus;
(2) four members of the house of representatives, appointed by the speaker, with no more than three of the house members from the majority caucus;
(3) four members appointed by the governor.
All members serve at the pleasure of the appointing authority. With respect to governor appointees, provides two-year terms expiring in January of each odd-numbered year. Provides term limits for service on the commission.
Staff. Requires the Legislative Coordinating Commission to provide staff and administrative services for the commission.
Rules. Authorizes the commission to adopt rules to carry out this chapter.
Agency report to commission. Provides that before September 1 of the odd-numbered year in which a state agency is subject to sunset review, the agency commissioner shall report specified information to the commission. The September 1 deadline does not apply in 2011.
Commission duties. Requires that before January 1 of the year in which a state agency is subject to sunset review, the commission must review the agency based on criteria specified in section 3D.10.
Public hearings. Requires that before February 1 of the year an agency is subject to sunset review, the commission must conduct public hearings regarding the agency, including the criteria specified in section 3D.10.
Commission report. Requires that by February 1 of each even-numbered year, the commission shall report on agencies subject to review, including findings on criteria specified in section 3D.10.
Criteria for review. Specifies criteria for the commission to consider in determining whether a public need exists for the continuation of a state agency or for performance of the agency’s functions.
Recommendations. Requires the commission’s report to make recommendations on the abolition, continuation, or reorganization of agencies, on the need for performance of the functions of the agency; on consolidation, transfer, or reorganization of programs within agencies not under review when programs duplicate functions of agencies under review; and for improvement of operations.
Requires the commission to submit draft legislation to carry out its recommendations, including legislation necessary to continue the existence of agencies that would otherwise sunset, if the commission recommends continuation of an agency.
Simply put, the bill requires the Commission to review whether the agency is performing an essential function, whether it’s doing what it was originally created to do or whether it’s ‘evolved’ into just another bloated part of state government.
The DFL’s disgust with governmental accountability is showing its ugly face. Taxpayers should be outraged that the DFL is thinking about eliminating a tool that’s designed to increase governmental accountability. If the DFL eliminates this commission, Republicans should make this one of their campaign themes in 2014. Hold every DFL legislator’s feet to the fire for voting against governmental accountability and thriftiness.
If they’re eliminating sensible laws like this, then they’re undoubtedly voting for creating more unaccountable agencies, boards, commissions and panels.