Archive for the ‘Regulations’ Category

This Duluth New Tribune Our View editorial is nothing if not a shot at the environmental activists who are trying to prevent PolyMet from becoming operational.

The Duluth News Tribune’s editorial starts by saying “More than 10 years of exhaustive, detailed, thorough, and both emotional and science- and facts-based research, study and review: Apparently all of it still isn’t enough for some. A citizens group, joined now by three Duluth city councilors, are calling on the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to conduct an evidentiary hearing with an administrative law judge before issuing a permit to mine copper and other precious metals in northern Minnesota.”

Clearly, the intent is to delay, not inform. That’s apparent when the DNT’s editorial says “An administrative law judge would serve as an impartial opinion-maker on the permit to mine, as those advocating for the evidentiary hearing point out. But the judge wouldn’t be an environmental expert or an authority on the science or business of mining. Those experts already have weighed in, prompted improvements to the plans, and signed off. It’s difficult to imagine what new evidence could be brought at such a hearing that hasn’t already been thoroughly researched, considered, vetted and, where appropriate, implemented.”

Let’s be straightforward with this: there aren’t many Republicans who are environmental activists, assuming you use the DFL’s definition of environmental activist. There are tons of Republicans who care deeply about preserving the natural resources that we’ve been entrusted with. That doesn’t fit the DFL’s definition of an environmental activist, though.

Relentless opponents of the $900 million Sandpiper pipeline project across Minnesota certainly cheered last week when Enbridge Energy Partners announced it had bailed on its project after years of protest and regulatory delays. Minnesota and the Twin Ports lost out on an estimated 3,000 badly needed, good-paying jobs.

The Sierra Club rejoiced when Enbridge pulled the plug on the Sandpiper Pipeline Project:

In response, Sierra Club Beyond Dirty Fuels Director Lena Moffitt released the following statement:

“The end of the proposed Sandpiper pipeline is a crucial victory for the tens of thousands of Americans who have fought to protect their communities, their health, and the climate from the threat of fossil fuel infrastructure expansion.

“As far too many communities throughout the Great Lakes region can attest to, when it comes to pipelines, especially an Enbridge operated pipeline, it’s never a question of if it will spill, but rather a question of when. This is a risk no community should face, and thanks to today’s announcement, thousands of people will remain safe from the dangers of the Sandpiper pipeline.

“Rather than continuing to expand our reliance on fossil fuels, we must continue to transition to clean, renewable energy, and leave dirty fuels in the ground, where they belong.”

The end of the Sandpiper Pipeline project isn’t a victory for the environmentalists. It’s just another instance where the company just took a different route. In this instance, the jobs were lost in Minnesota and Wisconsin because the pipeline will now go through the Dakotas, into Iowa, the finishing in Illinois.

The environmentalists didn’t win anything. They just screwed thousands of Minnesotans out of “3,000 badly needed, good-paying jobs.” The dirty little secret is that so-called environmental activists aren’t pro-environment as much as they’re anti-development.

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The DFL has insisted from the start of this election cycle that Angie Craig was competitive in CD-2, especially once John Kline announced his retirement. When the first fundraising report came out, the DFL’s cries got louder that Angie Craig would flip that seat.

I’ve been skeptical of the DFL’s claims from the start because Angie Craig, like Tarryl Clark in CD-6 in 2010, isn’t a good fit for CD-2. A loyal reader of LFR said that there are lots of entrepreneurs in CD-2. While Craig can appeal to those voters to a certain extent, she might have difficulty appealing to them because Bernie Sanders’ policies are definitely anti-small business. Sen. Sanders wants tons of regulations and higher top tax rates. Those definitely aren’t small business friendly policies.

The reason I mention Bernie Sanders is because an organization called Our Revolution has endorsed Angie Craig, Rick Nolan and Keith Ellison for congress from Minnesota. Here’s a little information on that organization:

Our Revolution will revitalize American democracy by unifying the millions of people who got involved over the course of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign in support of progressive causes.

Let’s rewrite that sentence to make it accurate. It would say “Our Revolution will revitalize American democracy by unifying the millions of people who got involved over the course of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign in support of socialist causes.” Small business entrepreneurship and socialism fit together like oil and water. In other words, they don’t fit together.

There’s nothing in Angie Craig’s history that suggests she’s truly pro-small business. These endorsements indicate that she’s a Sanders lefty:

Lori Swanson and Sandy Pappas are definitely 2 of the more far left lefties in Minnesota, with bigtime climate change credentials. The League of Conservation Voters is definitely anti-development and anti-small business.

So much for Angie Craig being pro-small business.

If you want to help get Jason Lewis elected, please consider contributing to his campaign. Also, if you want to get the word out on the real Angie Craig, please consider contributing to LFR by clicking on the “Donate” button in the top right corner of the page. You know that the MSM won’t tell Craig’s story. I will.

It’s time people understood just how many jobs anti-development environmentalists kill each year. It’s time people understood, too, the impact excessive regulations have on Minnesota’s state budget. This article helps illustrate the negative and devastating impact overregulation has on economic growth.

This paragraph lays things out perfectly, saying “Enbridge has been trying to build this petroleum pipeline from the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota to its regional terminal in Superior, Wis. The project is common sense. The oil from the Bakken needs to be moved to market. Building Sandpiper would create thousands of well-paying middle-class construction jobs, bring millions of dollars in much-needed business to rural communities and add millions of tax dollars to rural governments. There is also no disagreement that moving the oil in a pipeline is a safer alternative than moving it via rail cars or trucks.”

It’s indisputable that moving oil through pipelines is safer than other forms of moving product to market. That fight is finished. Further, it’s indisputable that building the pipeline would create thousands of high-paying construction jobs. Think about this: If a bonding bill is called a jobs bill by the DFL, why shouldn’t building the Sandpiper Pipeline project be called a private sector jobs bill by Republicans?

It’s indisputable that the interest that’s paid back by taxpayers on bonding bills costs everyone money, frequently in the form of higher taxes. Interest paid off by companies like Enbridge when they build America’s infrastructure is a net plus on multiple levels plus it doesn’t costs taxpayers a dime in higher taxes. In fact, it’s possible to argue that increased economic growth from the private sector will lower taxes while increasing revenues and raising blue collar workers’ wages significantly.

Minnesota loses

The result of this uncertainty came home to roost earlier this month. Enbridge announced that it had formed a partnership to purchase a pipeline system that would get the Bakken petroleum to market. One of the pipelines Enbridge will purchase is still under construction, and it runs from North Dakota through South Dakota and Iowa to Illinois. This pipeline was permitted in all four states in a year and a half. One thing the pipelines in this system have in common is that none of them travels through Minnesota.

Enbridge got what it wanted. North and South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois approved the alternate pipeline route in about 18 months, which is about a third of the time Minnesota had muddled through the permitting process thus far. BTW, North Dakota has better air quality than Minnesota.

This is particularly noteworthy:

One of the first things Gov. Mark Dayton did when he took office in 2011 was sign an executive order to streamline decisions on environmental permits. The rhetoric clearly has not been matched by action.

It’s noteworthy because Gov. Dayton signed that executive order after Dan Fabian submitted a bill (HF1) to streamline permitting. I wrote then that this was a purely political stunt. There’s little doubt but that I got that right.

Minnesota has strong environmental regulations. Unfortunately, it’s also got some of the most untrustworthy anti-development environmentalists in the US. These anti-development environmentalists oppose the Sandpiper Pipeline. They oppose all forms of mining in Minnesota. They opposed the building of the Big Stone II power plant, too.

At this rate, the anti-natural resources wing of the DFL, which is the dominant wing of the DFL, won’t permit anything that doesn’t fit their rigid ideology.

One of the things we learn about Zach Dorholt is that he’s proud of his being a small business owner. One of the things highlighted on Dorholt’s Meet Zach Dorholt page is this paragraph, which reads “Following his entrepreneurial instincts, Zach co-founded The Old Capital Tavern in Sauk Rapids with like-minded friends in 2012. The venture was a first step in building unique businesses that support local economics and highlight Central Minnesota culture.”

It’s understatement to say that the people LFR has talked with from central Minnesota are skeptical of Mr. Dorholt’s entrepreneurial enthusiasm. The biggest reason they question Mr. Dorholt’s entrepreneurial expertise is because he voted for a ton of tax increases that hit small businesses directly, then voted the next spring to repeal the tax increases he’d voted for in 2013.

Those don’t sound like the actions a pro-entrepreneurial politician would make. They sound like the actions of a pro-high taxes politician would make after he’s revealed his political leanings and he knows he’s gone too far to get re-elected.

As for being a small business person, apparently Mr. Dorholt thinks health regulations are optional:

MN Rule 4626.0225 Use spatulas, tongs, deli tissue or other dispensing equipment to limit direct hand contact with food or ice.
Cook was observed dispensing buns, French fries and other condiments with his bare hands.

The reason for these regulations is so that people don’t get sick. A true businessman pays attention to details like that. That wasn’t the only violation. Here’s another:

MN Rule 4626.0070 Food employees must wash their hands at the hand wash sink in the food preparation area by vigorously rubbing together their soap lathered hands and arms for at least 20 seconds, scrubbing underneath the fingernails with a fingernail brush, and rinsing with clean water.
Cook was observed working with raw fish and rinsing his hands in the sink for approximately 5 seconds.

I’m betting that Dorholt invested a little money in the business so he could say he’s a small businessman but doesn’t pay attention to things. Then again, I might be wrong. He might be a hands-on owner who thinks regulations are suggestions.

Had Donald Trump given the speech that Donald Trump Jr. gave at the Republican National Convention, the party would’ve been united by mid-February and Donald Trump Sr. would’ve locked up the nomination on March 1. The GOP presidential nominee spent most of his time projecting an image of strength. Tuesday night, Donald Trump, Jr., projected strength and policy expertise that his father hasn’t shown yet.

Early in his speech, Donald Trump Jr. said “The other party gave us public schools that far too often fail our students, especially those who have no options. Growing up, my siblings and I we were truly fortunate to have choices and options that others don’t have. We want all Americans to have those same opportunities.” The crowd immediately responded with enthusiastic applause.

The applause got louder when Trump Jr. said “Our schools used to be an elevator to the middle class, now they’re stalled on the ground floor. They’re like Soviet-era department stores that are run for the benefit of the clerks and not the customers, for the teachers and the administrators and not the students. You know why other countries do better on K through 12? They let parents choose where to send their own children to school. That’s called competition. It’s called the free market. And it’s what the other party fears.”

That was just the start of the policies Mr. Trump Jr. rolled out. The next policy goal was hard-hitting if you read Mr. Trump Jr.’s speech:

The other party gave us a regulatory state on steroids. Dodd-Frank was a thousand pages long and it’s already spun off 22,000 pages in regulations. Imagine trying to digest all that before you even open your doors for business. That doesn’t help consumers. What it does is destroy small business in favor of big businesses who can afford the vast number of lawyers and accountants needed to comply. Dodd-Frank is consumer protection for billionaires.

If Donald Trump Sr. puts Donald Trump Jr. in charge of making speeches explaining how regulators kill jobs, Mrs. Clinton won’t be able to fight that, especially in Rust Belt states, the Midwest and in the Mountain West.

Then Donald Jr. took a machete after Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy/national security credentials:

Let me tell you something about risk. If Hillary Clinton were elected, she’d be the first president who couldn’t pass a basic background check. It’s incredible.

If Donald Jr. wants a career in politics, it’s easy seeing him succeeding. Tuesday night, he fired up the crowd while telling the nation watching on TV what a Trump agenda would look like.

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A little over a week ago, the St. Cloud Times published my LTE in which I talked about how Speaker Daudt challenged Rep. Thissen. Specifically, I wrote that Thissen accused Republicans of throwing “controversial provisions into big bills right at the end” of session. Unwilling to let Rep. Thissen’s spin go unchallenged, Speaker Daudt asked him to name some specific controversial provisions that Republicans threw into big budget bills at the end of the 2015 session.

Rather than respond substantively, Rep. Thissen repeated the accusation.

Later, I wrote that “Tim Kelly, the chairman of the House Transportation Committee, wrote an op-ed saying that the next transportation plan Thissen submits ‘will be his first.'” I also said that it’s “a disgrace that the DFL would pick a dishonest man to lead them in the House.” I finished by saying that the DFL agenda is “all criticism and no solutions.” I must’ve gotten under Rep. Thissen’s skin with that. Earlier this week, the Times published Rep. Thissen’s op-ed.

Rep. Thissen’s op-ed addresses some items from the DFL agenda. He started by saying that the “reality is we have been the party of ideas, bringing forth common-sense solutions to address Minnesota’s biggest problem — too many Minnesotans are being squeezed in an economy tilted in favor of the insiders, elites and special interests.” With all due respect, Rep. Thissen, the DFL is the party of special interests.

Nobody’s been squeezed more than the Iron Range. They’ve been squeezed by environmental absolutists who demand that mining projects can’t produce any pollution ever. They’ve been squeezed so tight that it’s difficult to find middle class families on the Range. Minnesota’s poverty rate is 11.5%; compare that with Hibbing’s poverty rate of 20.6% and Virginia’s poverty rate of 26.5%. Then, Rep. Thissen, tell me who’s getting squeezed and who’s getting ignored by the DFL.

Rep. Thissen also wrote that “House DFLers proposed just a solution comprised partly of the House GOP transportation plan and Gov. Mark Dayton’s proposal.” That isn’t a solution. The DFL’s ‘solution’ would’ve imposed a major tax increase on the very middle class taxpayers that Rep. Thissen insists are getting squeezed by the special interests. FYI- Gov. Dayton’s transportation plan is virtually identical to Move MN’s transportation plan. Move MN doesn’t exist anymore. The new DFL-aligned transportation lobbyist organization is called Transportation Forward.

Rep. Thissen, when the DFL approved spending on the Senate Office Building, which group of squeezed people did that help? When the DFL legislature passed its Tax Bill, it included sales taxes on farm equipment repairs, warehousing services and other B2B taxes. This table offers a good explanation of the middle class tax increases the DFL imposed on Minnesotans:

Rep. Thissen, why did the DFL legislature pass this mountain of middle class tax increases in 2013, then vote to repeal them in 2014?

It’s crazy that Rep. Thissen thinks that this is a solution:

We have introduced legislation that would demand powerful drug companies be more transparent about profits to reduce costs of prescription drugs.

That’s right, Rep. Thissen. Central Minnesota has been insisting that the state government get involved in telling businesses how they’ll be allowed to conduct business. Minnesotans are getting squeezed by busybody politicians like Rep. Thissen have heaped piles of compliance costs, reporting requirements and regulations on businesses. That, more than anything else, is what’s driving up costs.

Finally, what’s interesting is that Rep. Thissen didn’t argue that he wasn’t truthful about the controversial provisions thrown into bills.

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According to this NY Times article, Laura Ingraham wants the GOP to head in a populist direction. That isn’t leadership. That’s capitulation. That’s handing the nomination to Donald Trump. What’s worst is that it means our courts will be packed with activists whether Trump wins or Hillary wins.

Ms. Ingraham is famous for lecturing the DC insiders for their failures. It’s time to lecture her for her foolishness. Populism is what got this nation into this situation. Populism is liberalism with a different name. Populism isn’t rooted in constitutional principles. Populism is prone to mob rule, which is just a step away from anarchy. Does Ms. Ingraham really want to deal with a system of government where the mob rules? Does Ms. Ingraham prefer government of and by judicial fiat? That’s what populism will give us. In fact, populism will give us that sooner rather than later.

If she doesn’t, then she’d better stop being Trump’s apologist. It isn’t just Ms. Ingraham that’s making this tragic mistake, either. Andrea Tantaros, Eric Bolling and Sean Hannity are making the same mistake. That trio has bent over backwards rationalizing away Mr. Trump’s contradictory statements. This weekend, Hannity went so far as to tell Steve Hayes that Trump didn’t say that he’s in favor of the Obamacare mandate even though there’s video of Trump making that statement during Thursday night’s town hall meeting on CNN:

“The establishment G.O.P. is lying to itself. This election at its core is a rejection of their globalist economic agenda and failed immigration policies — and of rule by the donor class,” said Laura Ingraham, the conservative talk-radio host and political activist. “Millions want the party to go in a more populist direction.”

Ms. Ingraham isn’t really that stupid. You can’t be that stupid and be a Supreme Court law clerk. It’s possible, however, to misdiagnose the root cause of the problem. The economy isn’t failing because of globalism. It’s failing because our taxes are outrageous, the compliance costs of our regulations are crushing businesses and our regulations are designed to crush competition.

When Mr. Trump argues that companies are leaving the United States, he’s right. It’s just that his plan to fix that won’t fix anything. The type of tariffs that Mr. Trump is advocating for kill jobs. President Reagan and President Clinton are the 2 greatest job creators of my lifetime. They both thought that the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act caused the Great Depression. Most economists agree with that.

Trump’s economic plans aren’t rooted in capitalism. They’re rooted in corporatism. Trump hasn’t talked a single sentence during the debates about helping small businesses create jobs. Trump certainly hasn’t said anything about regulatory reform.

William F. Buckley once famously said that “A Conservative is a fellow who is standing athwart history yelling ’Stop!’” It’s time this generation of conservatives stood athwart history yelling ‘Stop’! It’s imperative because American exceptionalism is what’s on trial.

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This article by CNN’s Maeve Reston and Stephen Collinson is a worthwhile read. That doesn’t mean they don’t get some important things wrong, though.

It’s apparent that they think anyone calling themselves a TEA Party conservative agrees with Ted Cruz’s strategies 100% of the time. That’s apparent when they said “Despite the constitutional constraints on action in Washington and the presence of a Democratic President with a veto in the White House, they are furious that the GOP has failed to overturn Obamacare.”

Actually, I’m not upset with the GOP Congress for “fail[ing] to overturn Obamacare.” I’m furious with Mitch McConnell and John Boehner for not pushing the conservatives’ reform agenda. There’s no excuse for why they haven’t pushed Tom Price’s health care reforms. It’s filled with popular features that are infinitely more popular than the mandates in the ACA. There’s no excuse for not pushing Paul Ryan’s tax simplification legislation. Republicans and Democrats alike support tax simplification. Most importantly, it’s supported enthusiastically by small business entrepreneurs.

There’s no excuse for Mssrs. Boehner and McConnell haven’t pushed cutting government based on the GAO’s reports of duplicative programs. I’d love hearing Democrats defend programmatic duplication that runs into the tens of billions of dollars. (That isn’t a typo. It’s billions with a B.)

Finally, and I’m especially passionate about this, there’s no justification for not pushing Ron Johnson’s regulation reform. Sen. Johnson’s reforms aim to neuter something he calls “weaponized government.” When the EPA insists that a couple in Idaho can’t build their dream home on land they purchased because there’s a low spot somewhere on the property, that’s weaponized government. There’s nothing about that that lives up to “of, by and for the people.”

Though I’m upset with CNN, that’s nothing compared with how pissed off I am with Mssrs. Boehner and McConnell.

This St. Cloud Times article is proof that overly meddlesome government isn’t just found within the confines of the federal government. This time, it’s found in Sauk Rapids. Last night, the Sauk Rapids voted unanimously to fine people who violate Sauk Rapids’ so-called nuisance ordinance. According to the article, the “fine for a first violation will be $100, the fine for a second notice of the violation will be $300 and the fine for the third notice will be $600. The fine for repeat offenders within a two-year period will also be $600.”

By now, you’re likely wondering what constitutes a nuisance ordinance violation. According to the Times’ article, homeowners can be fined for letting garbage accumulate. Homeowners can’t “allow peeling or blistering paint on more than 15 percent of a home,” either. The only part of the ordinance that’s justifiable is “keeping windows in working condition and walkways in good condition.” I’d consider the keeping of windows in working condition and maintaining sidewalks public safety issues.

Here’s where Sauk Rapids’ ordinance goes way too far:

The ordinance also prohibits vehicles including boats, four-wheelers, trailers or other defined vehicles from being parked in a residential yard unless parked in the driveway, licensed and road-worthy. They can be parked in a rear or side yard if they are licensed and operable.

If a homeowner wants to park their boat or RV in their back yard, the city should keep its nose out of that homeowner’s business. There’s a reason why it’s called private property. These busybodies seem to think that it’s called public-private property. They’re mistaken on that.

Governments at all levels think that they can dictate what people can do with the people’s private property. Whether it’s the EPA telling citizens that they can’t build their dream home on private property because there’s a single low spot that the federal government considers a wetland or whether it’s the Minnesota Board of Soil and Water or Department of Natural Resources telling farmers what they can and can’t do in raising crops or whether it’s a city council telling private property owners what things are permissible on the property owner’s property, government apparently thinks that they’re co-owners of the property.

If they want to be co-owners, then let them make half of the mortgage payment and pay half of the property taxes. If they won’t do that, then they should butt out and devote their time to running the city efficiently while keeping their collective noses out of their citizens’ private property.

Gov. Dayton is proudly proclaiming that Minnesota is the best state to do business in. He’s basing that propaganda on CNBC’s latest ranking. After looking at how they arrived at the categories that they ranked states on, it’s easy to see how CNBC arrived at their ridiculous ratings. First, it’s important to know this about the rating system:

For example, if more states tout their low business costs, the “Cost of Doing Business” category carries greater weight. That way, our study ranks the states based on the criteria they use to sell themselves.

According to CNBC’s report, workforce is the most important category, followed by cost of doing business and infrastructure, economy, quality of life, technology & innovation, education, business friendliness, cost of living and, finally, access to capital.

Minnesota ranked 13th in workforce, 35th in cost of doing business, 9th in infrastructure, 5th in economy, 3rd in quality of life, 6th in technology and innovation, 2nd in education, 23rd in business friendliness, 32nd in cost of living and 23rd in access to capital.

CNBC’s ratings only tell us what the states think of themselves. They don’t tell us what businesses think of the state. The fact that more businesses are leaving Minnesota than are moving to Minnesota is the best indicator of what businesses think.

That isn’t to say that Minnesota is getting everything wrong. There are some things that we can build off of. It’s just that there’s a handful of important things that we’d better correct if we want to be the best. Lowering the cost of doing business is essential. That’s only possible by streamlining government, especially regulations. Cutting special deals with a couple companies to entice them here, then shafting businesses that are already here, which the Dayton administration has done, needs to change, too.

UPDATE: King Banaian’s article for the Center for the American Experiment highlights similar points. This point is especially noteworthy:

If you’re a state that isn’t particularly business friendly, you don’t talk about that in your marketing materials. You emphasize other things. You puff your materials with discussion of quality of life and how hardworking your workers are and ignore the areas where your policies might make business a little harder to conduct. And CNBC will go right along and take weight off those things, if the rest of the states are doing the same thing.

I can’t emphasize enough the fact that CNBC’s article isn’t a serious economic statement. It’s a statement based off of the states’ PR statements.