Archive for the ‘ABM’ Category

Most people don’t know what Joe Davis does or what he believes. Let’s start filling in the multitude of blanks about Davis by telling people that he’s the chief propagandist Executive Director of ABM. The Alliance for a Better Minnesota, aka ABM, is the chief propaganda unit of the DFL. The morning after Donald Trump’s hostile takeover of the Republican Party, Davis issued a statement, saying “Republican legislators have been avoiding saying whether or not they’ll support Donald Trump if he’s the GOP nominee for president. Now, the path towards the nomination is clear for him, and Minnesotans deserve to know whether or not their elected officials will support Trump. Minnesota Republicans have showcased their shared priorities with Trump by focusing on things like defunding Planned Parenthood and cutting taxes for corporations and the wealthy. These extreme priorities have become the hallmark of today’s Republican party, both at the national level and in our state, but Minnesotans just aren’t that extreme.”

In Joe Davis’s Minnesota, every Republican wants to cut taxes for “millionaires and billionaires” and evil “big corporations.” It’s important to highlight the fact that Joe Davis’s Minnesota, at least the one he talks about in public, doesn’t exist. Joe Davis’s Minnesota is just as imaginary as Joe Soucheray’s mythical empire of Gumption County and Garrison Keillor’s Lake Wobegon. The key difference, though, between Gumption County, Lake Wobegon and Joe Davis’s Minnesota is that Davis won’t admit that his wild statements about Minnesota Republicans are a myth.

Forgive me. I said that Joe Davis’s Minnesota was a myth. That isn’t true. Joe Davis’s Minnesota is an intentional fabrication. Saying that Minnesota Republicans prefer “cutting taxes for corporations and the wealthy” is verifiably false. It isn’t even close to the truth. This isn’t accidental, either. Whether you’re listening to Gov. Dayton, Rep. Thissen or Joe Davis, they’re repeating the line that Republicans love “cutting taxes for corporations and the wealthy.”

I wrote this article last May. Back then, Gov. Dayton criticized Republicans, saying “They are saving that money for tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires, and property tax relief for large corporations.” When I contacted Rep. Greg Davids about his tax plan, he replied “My bill does not do that. Eighty percent goes to individuals. Tax relief is for the middle class…. My tax bill is tax relief for the poor and middle class.”

It’s time to run Davis and his dishonest quislings out of Minnesota.

I used to think that the Alliance for a Better Minnesota, aka ABM, was the most dishonest collection of progressives in Minnesota. I’m rethinking that, not because I think ABM suddenly became an integrity-filled organization but because Rep. Paul Thissen is a disgustingly dishonest person. I’m writing this because Rep. Thissen is dishonest and deceptive. When he issued this statement, Rep. Thissen put words in Speaker Daudt’s mouth, words that Speaker Daudt didn’t say.

The thing that Rep. Thissen twisted is the sentence that Speaker Daudt said. It reads “Number one, it would fund our roads and bridges, but number two, it would start to starve out the general fund, so it would remove money currently going in to the general fund, which is a really good thing.”

Rep. Thissen twisted that into this sentence, which says “Speaker Daudt’s admission that the purpose of the House Republican transportation plan is to “starve out” the money we use to fund our schools, police officers, and other basic services is the most damning argument against their so-called plan to date. He is openly admitting not only that they do not have a real plan to fund our roads and bridges but that the real purpose is to send us into deficit so they can cut our schools and other basic services in perpetuity.”

Rep. Thissen’s insistence that Speaker Daudt secretly wants to starve K-12 Education and police officer funding is insane. Last year, Speaker Daudt and Senate Majority Leader worked out a bipartisan budget plan a week before the end of session. If Rep. Thissen wants to argue that Speaker Daudt wants to starve education, transportation and public safety, then he’d better argue that about Sen. Bakk, too.

This statement is exceptionally dishonest:

Speaker Daudt and Republicans should bring forward a real transportation plan that will adequately fund our roads and bridges without depriving our general fund of resources that educate our kids from kindergarten to college and fund basic government services that are important to the lives of Minnesota families.

That’s rich. Tim Kelly criticized (exposed?) Rep. Thissen in this op-ed:

Do you recall Thissen’s “comprehensive transportation solution that truly fixes the problem long-term” from two years ago? Me either, because it didn’t exist.

Rep. Thissen is a natural-born obstructionist. His first action is to criticize, not solve problems.

It’s truly a sad day in Minnesota. The DFL leader in the House isn’t interested in solving problems. He isn’t even interested in telling the truth. Paul Thissen is a cookie-cutter DFL weasel whose only objectives are to maintain power and to pass the DFL’s ideological agenda.

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This article highlights another instance in which the DFL is trying to drive companies out of Minnesota. They shouldn’t be blamed, though. Democrats in Washington, DC, are attempting to drive companies out of the U.S.

Specifically, “Senate DFLers are pushing a more generous paid family leave than the three states that require it, mandating up to 12 weeks of paid time off for new parents or people caring for sick family members. That’s double what is required in New Jersey and California; Rhode Island offers eight weeks.” Additionally, the “fight is gaining attention at the national level as Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have proposed leave policies.”

This is just another thing ton the DFL’s agenda that’s driving employment costs up for Minnesota businesses. (It isn’t like they aren’t already leaving for lower tax states.) The executive summary of Peter Nelson’s report doesn’t paint a positive picture for Minnesota.

This information is especially troubling to Minnesota’s long-term health:

Most of the taxpayers who leave Minnesota for lower-tax states are in their prime earning years. One might think that most high-earning families who leave Minnesota are retirees moving to Florida or Arizona, but this is not the case. Working-age people between 35 and 54 account for nearly 40 percent of Minnesota’s net loss of tax filers for the 2013-2014 period.

In other words, Minnesota isn’t losing people at the end of their prime earning years. If they were, they could recover from that fairly quickly. It’s more difficult to recover long-term income loss because you have to attract people who are entering or in their prime earning years.

Further factoring into this difficult situation is the fact that people in their prime earning years aren’t likely to be as loyal to Minnesota as someone in the last part of their prime earning years. Someone that’s 60 and still earning significant dollars likely has a family here. They’ve established their lifestyle and are comfortable with it. Their friends are likely here, too.

It’s understatement that government-mandated business costs don’t incentivize companies to stay loyal to Minnesota. Their first priority is to maximize their company’s profits, which contributes to their family’s security.

This says it all:

Doug Seaton said he believes that politicians have no business telling employers to offer paid family and medical leave.

When politicians start putting their capital at risk and start signing the front of the paycheck, they can choose to offer paid family and medical leave. Then there’s this:

“Politicians, most of whom have no experience signing paychecks for employees of any kind, are not in a good position to make these decisions,” Seaton said. “It restricts the ability of the business to tailor its benefits to all employees in a way that makes sense.” He added that it came on top of “what employers already perceive as a very extensive and expansive set of entitlements in Minnesota.”

That’s a polite way of telling politicians to stop imposing their will on companies that they don’t own. It’s a polite way of telling politicians to shut up.

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Though they’ll deny it, there’s indisputable proof that ABM, aka the Alliance for a Better Minnesota, hates the Iron Range. The indisputable proof is found in their opposition to mining on the Range. Joe Davis, ABM’s Executive Director, issued this statement on the House passing an unemployment extension bill for laid-off Iron Range workers. It said “Families on the Range could have gotten help weeks or months ago, but Speaker Daudt said they could wait while Republicans dragged their feet trying to get a tax cut for businesses in exchange. This political gamesmanship is representative of the Republican agenda that puts big businesses and the wealthy first, instead of working Minnesotans.”

Sen. Bakk isn’t a stranger to playing political games. In 2013, Sen. Bakk put funding for a new Senate Office Building in the Taxes bill that had to pass. What’s worse is that it happened near the end of session and without the public getting the opportunity to testify against Sen. Bakk’s initiative. Further, the fight between Gov. Dayton and Sen. Bakk that Speaker Daudt had to referee last year is proof that Sen. Bakk couldn’t be trusted. Sen. Bakk promised to do unemployment insurance reform after the House passed the unemployment insurance extension. There’s no reason Speaker Daudt should’ve trusted Sen. Bakk. Gov. Dayton didn’t trust Sen. Bakk last year:

For Dayton, it is not about cronyism, it is about trust. He said that he trusts House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, more than he does fellow Democrat Bakk, although he also said he and Daudt often do not agree politically.

Trust isn’t about whether you agree with another person. It’s about whether you think the other person is being straight with you. Here’s the official definition of the word trust:

reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence.

Here’s the official definition of agree:

to have the same views, emotions

There’s little reason to trust Gov. Dayton or Sen. Bakk. There’s little reason to trust ABM either. Their lobbying efforts have consistently undermined (pun intended) the Iron Range’s way of life.

This picture shows just how disgustingly dishonest the DFL is:

The agenda for this year’s special session is still being negotiated but the Alliance for a Better Minnesota is already lying about Jim Knoblach’s votes. In the interest of honesty and integrity, I’m proposing that the Alliance for a Better Minnesota be renamed. I’m open to suggestions, especially if they feature alliteration.

The ABM functions as the DFL’s clearinghouse for focus group-approved lies. Their interest in the truth is minimal at best. The education bill that Rep. Knoblach voted for was the Bakk-Daudt omnibus bill that Senate Majority Leader Bakk voted for, too. In fact, 7 Democrat senators voted against the omnibus bill as did 7 Republican senators.

I have visual proof that the bill that ABM says shortchanged schools passed the Senate with a veto-proof majority of 52-14:

I wrote this post to highlight this quote from ABM Executive Director Joe Davis:

“Minnesota Republicans — especially in the House — need to be held accountable for putting corporations ahead of working families’ priorities,” says Alliance for a Better Minnesota Executive Director Joe Davis. “The GOP repeatedly pushed for special treatment for big business, but shortchanged our schools.”

MPR’s Catherine Richert exposed ABM’s lie, saying “Of course, this being politics, the story the Alliance for a Better Minnesota is trying to tell in its ads is more complicated than that. House Republicans and Senate Democrats agreed to put $400 million more into K-12 education. Dayton wants $150 million more than that to fund pre-kindergarten in public schools, and says he will veto the bill as a result.”

The DFL is a morally bankrupt political party. Their interest isn’t in setting good public policy but rather in dictating to people what they can and can’t do. If that requires lying to the people, then that’s what ABM will do … without hesitation.

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Yesterday morning, another DFL LTE lied to the public in the DFL’s attempt to appease Education Minnesota. Here’s Kat Harrison’s LTE, complete with highlighted DFL propaganda:

Anyone trying to portray Senate Democrats as opposed to Gov. Mark Dayton is flat out wrong. Majority Leader Tom Bakk, Assistant Majority Leader Katie Sieben, education chair Sen. Chuck Wiger and many other senators have been very vocal about their support for the governor’s plan.

The reason why they weren’t able to pass a bill including pre-K for our youngest learners was due to the refusal of House Republicans. Why did they block this opportunity for Minnesota’s kids? It’s thanks to their quest for, above all else, tax cuts for businesses and the wealthy. They’d rather sacrifice our kids than the wealthy donors they bow down to.

First, Harrison’s assertion that Senate Democrats support Gov. Dayton’s plan is a fanciful portrayal of the truth. I wrote this post, complete with a picture of the voting board in the Senate, that showed the Education Bill passing by a vote of 52-14. If Ms. Harrison thinks that Democrats supported Gov. Dayton’s education proposal, why didn’t Gov. Dayton’s proposal pass the Senate? His proposal was defeated. Also, if Democrats supported Gov. Dayton’s proposal, why did the conference committee report, which rejected Gov. Dayton’s proposal, pass with a veto-proof majority in the Senate?

Second, Republicans didn’t reject Gov. Dayton’s proposal to pay for tax cuts for “the rich.” That isn’t saying Republicans didn’t want to pass tax cuts. It’s just that they weren’t for “the rich.” Republicans rejected Gov. Dayton’s early childhood learning proposal because it’s terrible policy. Why would a sane person pass a bill that’s filled with unfunded mandates and a hidden $2,200,000,000 property tax increase? Why would sane people vote for legislation that isn’t financially sustainable?

The Association of Minneapolis School Districts (AMSD) rejected Gov. Dayton’s proposal. The Minnesota School Board Association rejected it, too.

If the DFL insists on lying about tax cuts to “millionaires and billionaires”, then it’s time to tell the DFL to produce proof that substantiates their accusations. This Friday night, I hope a Republican panelist on Almanac’s Roundtable insists that the DFL legislator produce proof of their accusation. If they make that accusation, insist that they tell you what section of the tax bill the tax cuts for big corporations and “the rich” are located in. Tell them firmly that you’re rejecting their accusations as lies until they can cite which section of the tax bill these tax cuts for the wealthy are in.

Embarrass the DFL legislators if it’s required. Teach them the lesson that their reckless accusations comes with a price. Pitchers throw a pitch inside to a batter leaning out over the plate to stop them from getting an advantage on pitches to the outside corner of the plate. Republicans should apply that principle with Democrats by exposing their lies with facts.

It’s time to give the DFL an incentive to not lie. That doesn’t come by gently disagreeing with them when they’re lying through their teeth. It comes by exposing them as outright liars.

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TEA Party Alliance president Jack Rogers is upset with House Republicans for not delivering on his demands for tax cuts:

“My heart is heavy with grief from the actions taken by the MN House Majority and some of the MN GOP Senators,” wrote Minnesota Tea Party Alliance president Jack Rogers on his Facebook page.

“Unfortunately, every house rep let us down in the final 48 hours,” commented Jake Duesenberg, the Tea Party’s executive director. “No tax cuts at all. Huge spending increases in public education and socialized health care.”

That’s disappointing coming from a group that’s supposed to know the Constitution. To expect tax cuts with a DFL majority in the Senate and a DFL governor is like expecting to buy winning lottery tickets each month. The odds are the same. Republicans passed tax cuts in the House. They were DOA when they arrived in the Senate. That’s political reality.

It’s also political reality that Republicans weren’t going to win many battles when controlling one half of one of the two political branches. If Rogers and Duesenberg want some of these accomplishments, then they should work tirelessly to elect more Republican legislators and a Republican governor. Without that, Republicans can’t enact their reform agenda.

While I’m disappointed with Mssrs. Rogers and Duesenberg, I’m not surprised that Paul Thissen and Ken Martin still won’t tell the truth. Check out Ken Martin’s whopper:

Said DFL Party Chair Ken Martin: “Republicans refused to compromise and are more interested in providing tax giveaways to corporations than investing in education.”

What is it that causes DFL politicians to reflexively lie? Does Alida Messenger implant a chip in these politicians’ brains that forces them to lie profusely? Martin saying that “Republicans refused to compromise” is disgusting dishonesty. It’s quickly disproven. Speaker Daudt and Sen. Bakk reached a budget agreement a week ago today. Of course, they kicked Gov. Dayton out of the room to finish the deal but they got it done.

Then there’s Paul Thissen. Here’s what Thissen said:

“House Republicans failed to finish the job,” DFL Minority Leader Paul Thissen said Wednesday. “They refused to compromise with Gov. Dayton. They wanted to keep this money so they can give corporate tax cuts.”

There’s those non-existent corporate tax cuts again. It’s stunning how frequently the DFL lies about this. Last weekend, I contacted Greg Davids, the chair of the House Taxes Committee, about the House Tax Bill. Here’s what he told me:

Eighty percent goes to individuals. Tax relief is for the middle class…. My tax bill is tax relief for the poor and middle class.”

It’s disappointing when people I agree with don’t acknowledge political reality.

What’s worse is when an entire political party proves itself incapable of telling the truth.

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When Gov. Dayton said that he wasn’t running for office again, he said that he was finally “unbound.” What he really meant is that he’s finally unhinged. Insisting that the legislature pass Education Minnesota’s universal pre-K program appears to have turned Gov. Dayton into a walking diatribe machine. Doug Grow has noticed that Gov. Dayton’s plan is risky:

Dayton’s veto vow comes despite the fact that the Legislature has had little time to digest this major education initiative. And he’s making the vow despite the fact that it’s not just Republican legislators who are saying “no,” but many school administrators, who are cool to an idea that would not only be very costly but has raised other questions about its value. Even early-childhood advocates question whether a “one-size-fits-all” public school pre-K program is good policy.

Now, even Bakk is calling Dayton’s veto pledge “risky.” The obvious risk is to school districts, which are saying that even with the additional $400 million included in the current deal, they will have to cut programs and lay off staff. Without that $400 million infusion, there will be cuts deeply felt by every school district in the state.

That means there will be political fallout. If the veto happens, there could also be chaos. Administration officials say a veto could mean a shutdown of the Minnesota Department of Education, which would halt teacher licensing and, of course, mean no added funds to the formula going out to cash-strapped districts.

When Gov. Dayton travels the state campaigning for his pre-K plan, he will be met with lots of resistance, much of it from past allies. This won’t turn out well. Unfortunately for him, that isn’t his only problem:

A long-time teacher and state representative wants Gov. Mark Dayton to apologize for saying some Republican lawmakers “hate the public schools.”

Dayton’s remark came during a Tuesday news conference he called to discuss his plans to veto a education funding bill that passed the House and Senate Monday. The $400 million in new spending isn’t enough for Dayton and he’s frustrated it also omits his top priority of universal preschool.

Gov. Dayton will lose the state’s voters if he continues with these over-the-top diatribes. It’s one thing to be critical. It’s another to be unhinged. Right now, Gov. Dayton has jumped across the line from being critical to being unhinged to the point of being totally disrespectful. He isn’t just saying Republicans are wrong. He’s essentially accusing Republicans of being evil and mean-spirited.

ABM’s ad campaign will be a waste of money if Gov. Dayton can’t control his temper.

ABM is launching another ad campaign, this time to push Gov. Dayton’s universal pre-K initiative across the finish line. Predictably, ABM’s latest campaign is filled with dishonesty:

“Minnesota Republicans — especially in the House — need to be held accountable for putting corporations ahead of working families’ priorities,” says Alliance for a Better Minnesota Executive Director Joe Davis. “The GOP repeatedly pushed for special treatment for big business, but shortchanged our schools.”

Here’s how Catharine Richert dropped the hammer on ABM’s BS:

Of course, this being politics, the story the Alliance for a Better Minnesota is trying to tell in its ads is more complicated than that. House Republicans and Senate Democrats agreed to put $400 million more into K-12 education. Dayton wants $150 million more than that to fund pre-kindergarten in public schools, and says he will veto the bill as a result.

TRANSLATION: ABM omitted the part about Republicans and Democrats, specifically, Kurt Daudt and Tom Bakk, agreed to this budget last Friday. ABM’s ad campaign doesn’t mention that the DFL Senate voted down Gov. Dayton’s proposal 2 weeks ago. I’ve written repeatedly about Dayton’s unwillingness to accept a bipartisan rejection.

Education experts like Art Rolnick, a former member of the Federal Reserve of Minneapolis, have criticized Gov. Dayton’s plan:

Rolnick, now a policy fellow at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, has made researching early childhood education a big part of his life’s work. He argues that the earlier kids start a good education, the better off they will be in life. But he doesn’t back the governor’s universal preschool plan for 4-year-olds.

“It’s not cost effective,” Rolnick said. “There’s a much better way of doing this.” Rolnick prefers an existing scholarship program that pays for needy children to attend Head Start, a child care facility or a public school program that meets quality standards. He said Dayton’s plan is misguided because it would subsidize early education for all kids rather than target low-income children who need early education the most and are the least likely to have access to it.

Gov. Dayton’s had the entire session to build support for his plan. That clearly hasn’t happened. This article highlights why Gov. Dayton’s proposal likely won’t pass:

Some school districts indicated to the House Education Finance Committee that they don’t have space to add “basically an entire new grade in our public school system,” its chair, Rep. Jenifer Loon, an Eden Prairie Republican, told us.

There’s concern about facilities, equipment and transportation, she said. “There may be money the governor is proposing per pupil, but there’s no money there to help districts if they have to build classrooms,” for example. “That’s a huge cost that would largely fall on local property taxpayers.”

That’s a gigantic property tax increase waiting to happen. Then there’s this:

“The high return to the public is in investing in our most at-risk children,” Rolnick said. In the study that made him a national leader in the fields of child development and social policy, “we got an 18 percent inflation-adjusted return when you invest in our most at-risk kids.”

Such findings, it’s been suggested, run counter to committing a broad stream of resources to serve all children.

Plus, says Rolnick, we now have evidence from St. Paul’s Promise Neighborhood that a key approach — an emphasis on preschool scholarships — is closing the achievement gap between white students and their peers of color.

This is documented, indisputable proof of what works. Dr. Rolnick wants to solve a problem. Gov. Dayton wants to pay off a political ally. I’ll pick solutions to difficult problems over paying off political allies with terrible policies every time.

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This LTE was written by a DFL union propagandist. Here’s the proof:

The plans proposed this year by the House Republicans may be the worst, most damaging proposals I have seen. Instead of continuing the work begun two years ago to rebuild our schools after a decade of divestment, the plans call for a giant $2.2 billion dollar tax giveaway for the rich and corporations. It gets bigger over time and will create a gaping budget deficit, while offering an increase in education that is so low it would result in cuts to our schools.

First, it’s dishonest to call the Republican tax cut a “tax giveaway for the rich and corporations.” I can’t dispute the fact that the Republican tax bill includes tax relief for small businesses. Next, there aren’t any tax cuts for big corporations just like there aren’t big tax cuts for the Mark Daytons or Alida Messengers of the world.

Here’s more progressive BS from the DFL:

This is a doubling down on the dark days of the 2000s, when we paid for tax breaks for the rich by balancing our budget on the backs of our kids.

The only tax cuts over the last 15+ years are the infamous Jesse Checks from Jesse Ventura’s administration. It’s noteworthy that the DFL controlled the Senate from 1972-2011, meaning that the DFL signed off on those supposedly evil tax cuts. Another thing that’s important to debunk is that the Jesse Checks were “tax breaks for the rich”, as the DFL propagandist insists. That isn’t difficult. This article will expose the truth about those “tax breaks for the rich”:

“In late summer, I get to stand here and say, the checks are in the mail.”

Ventura pushed for returning surplus money in the form of a sales tax rebate, which some Minnesotans have come to call “Jesse checks.” This year, the average check is $512 for a married couple or head of household, and $232 for a single filer. State officials say all eligible taxpayers should receive their checks by Labor Day. But Ventura cautions that this may be the last year of rebate checks, since the state has cut taxes and the economy has slowed. “We are not bringing in the money that we used to bring in prior to my administration, and in light of that, and the economy, there may not be a fourth,” says Ventura.

In other words, this DFL propagandist is lying through her teeth. This LTE was written by a professional propagandist. Here’s more:

Two years ago, we finally made real investments in our schools. This gave many hope for our children’s future and the future of Minnesota. We saw free, all-day kindergarten, schools previously relegated to four days able to go back to five-day weeks, and health care and services for families expanded so all can succeed.

Despite the “historic investment in education”, property taxes in many school districts skyrocketed. What’s worse is that the achievement gap isn’t improving. That isn’t reason for celebration. That’s justification for worry.

Whenever the DFL uses terms like “tax giveaway for the rich and corporations”, that’s proof that they’re spinning. It’s proof that they aren’t telling the truth.

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