Archive for the ‘Alida Messinger’ Category
This article reads like a press release from the MCEA. It isn’t reporting. It’s ‘journalism’ bia press release:
A campaign by critics of proposed copper-nickel mining in northern Minnesota says it has gathered petition signatures from all 87 Minnesota counties.
Mining Truth says more than 12,000 people have signed its petition, which asks Gov. Mark Dayton to ensure the environment will be protected in any copper-nickel mining.
Scott Strand of the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy says people statewide want Dayton to put water quality first when considering projects like the proposed PolyMet and Twin Metals mines.
First, how many of the 12,000 signatures came from Hennepin and Ramsey counties? It isn’t a stretch to think that the majority of them came from those 2 counties. In fact, it’s likely that a majority of signatures to the petition came from those counties.
Second, existing laws require mining companies not pollute. These laws’ provisions are proactive, eliminating the need for taxpayer-financed superfund clean-ups. Plans are submitted to the state and federal regulating agencies. After approval, the mines are inspected on a regular basis to guarantee that pollution isn’t happening. If the mining company isn’t living up to their plans, operations can be shut down. Fines can be imposed, too.
The organizations spearheading this effort aren’t committed to the truth. Conservation Minnesota, aka CM, insists that the previous mining operations polluted the land. I’ve cited examples of precious metal mining operations that improved environmental quality in the long run on this blog. That’s irrefutable fact. That isn’t speculation. MCEA is known for its hardball tactics. Its most notable ‘accomplishment’ was stopping the Big Stone II power plant project from happening. MCEA considers it a victory to make electricity more expensive and high-paying jobs extinct. That says everything you need to know about their priorities.
Simply put, MCEA’s and CM’s priorities aren’t Minnesota’s priorities. They’re the priorities of their plutocrat donors. They’re the special interests’ priorities.
This paragraph is laughable:
Dayton has been feeling conflicting political pressure over mining from his environmentalist allies on one side, who oppose copper-nickel mining, and his labor and Iron Range supporters on the other side, who want the jobs. The Democratic governor has said he’s pro-environment and pro-jobs, and there needs to be a balance.
Gov. Dayton isn’t just pro-environment. He’s pro-environmental extremist. MCEA and CM don’t play nice. They won’t hesitate in lying if that’s what’s needed to win a fight.
Northern Minnesota needs mining jobs. Tourism hasn’t come close in replacing mining in terms of jobs. Meanwhile, poverty rates on the Range are disgustingly high, approaching 16% in the Arrowhead. If Gov. Dayton won’t tell these extremists to take a hike, then Minnesotans need to fire him ASAP. Restoring prosperity to the Iron Range isn’t just important, it’s essential.
Since he got into office, Gov. Dayton has catered to the anti-mining wing of the DFL. That’s because his first ex-wife, Alida Messinger, a) opposes mining, b) opposes Iron Rangers making a better living for themselves and their families and c) writes big checks to fund the DFL and its chief smear campaign machine, aka the Alliance for a Better Minnesota, aka ABM.
According to their website, Alida Messinger is the Vice-President of Conservation Minnesota, a radical environmentalist organization that’s opposed to the PolyMet and Twin Metals mining projects.
According to his St. Cloud Times op-ed, Rolf Westgard is “a professional member of the Geological Society of America. He teaches classes on energy subjects for the University of Minnesota Lifelong Learning program.” Dr. Westgard has a dramatically different take on precious metals mining. It’s dramatically different because he deals with facts, not hysteria:
Environmentalists are lined up in opposition to these projects, viewing them as a serious threat to water quality. The issue is these ores are reactive sulfide minerals. When mined, the sulfur comes in contact with water and oxygen, forming sulfuric acid. This acid can then dissolve and carry away toxic elements, polluting water supplies in a process known as acid rock drainage.
In the past, acidic metal-rich waters from mining have damaged the environment when mining companies did not follow safe practices. Today, mining companies have to be good stewards of the environment, and our laws are made to ensure this happens.
At Ladysmith, Wis., Kennecott operated an open pit copper sulfide mine that operated 140 feet from the Flambeau River in the 1990s. During the mining all of the surface area drainage and pit pumping water went into a treatment plant that successfully purified the water so it could be safely returned to the environment.
Upon closure, to avoid ARD, the pit was backfilled with the waste rock that was stripped from the pit along with 30,000 tons of limestone. Limestone was added to neutralize any ARD that formed while the pit was exposed. There were no violations of its permits in construction, operation and closure. These are practices required in Minnesota.
In other words, these companies are experts at mining the precious metals without contaminating drinking water or causing major health hazards. They have a history of cleaning up after themselves, too. That isn’t because they’re altruistic. It’s because they’re monitored by the EPA at the federal level and state agencies in the various states.
While Gov. Dayton pursues ‘high tech jobs of the future’ in California, Minnesota is literally sitting on a gold mine in northern Minnesota that would create thousands of jobs and generate billions of dollars in tax revenue for the state:
Minnesota owns more than 6,000 acres of land in the region, and it stands to collect $2.5 billion in royalties in the coming decades if mining proceeds. This state property is known as “school trust lands.” Under the Minnesota Constitution, income from such lands is earmarked for the Permanent School Fund, which contributes about $60 per pupil to every school district. An analysis by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources projected that the school fund, with assets of $720 million, could more than triple in size with copper royalties during the next 25 to 30 years.
Why wouldn’t we take advantage of this gold mine? Why wouldn’t we help the blue collar people of the Range earn a better living? Right now, families in St. Louis County make almost $15,000 a year less than the statewide average. Why wouldn’t we want more money going into the Permanent School Fund? It’s the easiest of easy money.
If the goals are to fund schools without overburdening taxpayers while restoring prosperity to the Iron Range and economic health to the state, issuing permits for the PolyMet and Twin Metals projects is the way to go. It’s the fastest way to get from Point A to Point B.
This route isn’t being taken because the DFL’s special interest puppeteers aren’t interested in funding schools with minimal costs to Minnesota’s taxpayers. The DFL’s special interest puppeteers aren’t interested in restoring prosperity to the Range. The biggest mistake conservatives make is thinking that the DFL leadership is interested in doing the right thing for the right reasons.
It’s important to understand that the DFL will always do the right thing…when it’s the only option left.
Meanwhile, Gov. Dayton will continue recruiting companies that require massive government subsidies to succeed. It’s a shame that he just doesn’t put in place policies that help companies already here succeed.
Tags: Mark Dayton, Special Interests, Environmental Extremists, Conservation Minnesota, MiningTruths.org, Alida Messinger, DFL, Iron Range, Twin Metals, PolyMet, Blue Collar Workers, Mining Jobs, Median Household Income, Kennecott Mining, Prosperity
Kathryn Hoffman’s op-ed is littered with half-truths, irrelevancies and distortions. Here’s an example:
Sulfide mines have a long record of polluting surrounding lakes, rivers, streams and groundwater with mercury, acid mine drainage and toxic metals. Mines proposed in Minnesota would pose risks to some of our most important water resources such as Lake Superior and the Boundary Waters.
Evidence shows that children in northern Minnesota already are exposed to higher levels of mercury than in other parts of the state. Any increased risk to these children would be unacceptable.
There’s no question that mining disturbs the earth’s natural state. Whatever the human activity is, it potentially damages the earth as defined by MiningTruth’s activists. The question then becomes what society gets in exchange for temporarily disturbing the planet.
That said, the doomsday picture that MiningTruth paints isn’t exactly accurate. First, recent precious metal mines don’t pollute like the mines of 50 years ago. The advances have been gigantic. Second, most precious metals mining companies have to live up to the standars set by corporations like Kennecott Mining.
In this op-ed, MiningTruth proposes an impossible standard:
When a sulfide mine closes in Minnesota, the mining company is supposed to reclaim the area and leave it so that it doesn’t need any additional maintenance. Will that rule be enforced?
Minnesota’s government shouldn’t allow mines that are likely to produce pollution and require water treatment for 50, 100, 250 or more years after they stop mining.
I said earlier that there’s never been a mine that didn’t produce pollution while it was in production. Saying that Minnesota shouldn’t allow mines if they pollute is saying Minnesota shouldn’t allow mining. Period. That’s MiningTruth’s goal. Their website is filled with BS, starting with this video:
The narrator’s ominous-sounding voice delivers the message that “No sulfide mine has ever operated without polluting lakes and rivers.” What the narrator didn’t tell people is that restoration is quite possible. In fact, restoration’s the norm. Kennecott Mining’s website explains in detail that it’s quite possible to restore the land:
In 1936, Kennecott constructed evaporation ponds to store and evaporate mine water originating from the Bingham Canyon watershed. Over time, additional ponds were constructed to increase capacity, and the area became known as the South Jordan Evaporation Ponds (SJEP). The ponds were used for mine water until 1965 and for periodic storage of runoff water until 1987. SJEP use was discontinued in 1987.
Studies in the early 1990s concluded that there were elevated levels of heavy metals in the soil where the holding ponds had been located. Kennecott took responsibility for the impacts and agreed to reclaim and remediate the SJEP area. The removal work was undertaken pursuant to an EPA Administrative Order on Consent (AOC).
A massive clean-up operation began in 1994 involving the removal of pond sediment and six additional inches of underlying native soil. The material removed from Daybreak was permanently relocated to the Kennecott Blue Water Repository as part of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) clean up. At this time, some sediment, with a low concentration of lead and arsenic but an elevated sulfate concentration were consolidated onsite and capped with topsoil and re-vegetated. In 2001, the EPA issued a Record of Decision stating that the removal action adequately satisfied the remedial objectives and EPA determined that no further action was required. An Operation and Maintenance Plan (O&M Plan) was established to address
further management of the consolidation site.
Pursuant to agreements between the EPA, UDEQ and Kennecott, Kennecott began removing the remaining sediments at the consolidation site under the guideline of the O&M Plan. In 2006, Kennecott, the EPA and the UDEQ entered into an agreement solidifying the unrestricted residential and commercial use clean-up standards for the entire site.
In early 2007, the consolidated pond sediment removal project was completed. In 2008, the EPA and UDEQ issued a Consent Decree for the ground water cleanup efforts.
Kennecott met the EPA’s high standards for cleaning up the mining site. In addition to that, they initiated a plan that “integrates sustainable landscape practices into the community in a number of ways.” That’s only part of Kennecott’s story. Here’s another part of Kennecott’s story:
Storm water runoff is collected in a variety of ways and filters down to recharge the aquifer beneath Daybreak. Residents are encouraged to plant a water wise landscape, limit turf areas that require a lot of supplemental water, and improve soil to better absorb water and encourage deeper roots. A list of plants that grow well at Daybreak is available through the Daybreak Community Association.
Gardening is encouraged at Daybreak as a means of producing sustainable food supplies. Gardening opportunities are available to Daybreak residents at their home or at one of the “Community Gardens,” which have been constructed throughout Daybreak.
MiningTruth is hinting that evil multinational corporations are intent on destroying the Boundary Waters and Superior National Forest. Despite Kennecott’s record of success, MiningTruth insists that “sulfide mining” will destroy the fragile BWCAW ecosystem. Kennecott’s Daybreak restoration proves that restoration is quite possible.
What’s noteworthy is that almost everyone on MiningTruth’s Board of Directors lives in the Twin Cities. Only one member of the board lives in northern Minnesota. It’s also noteworthy that a major part of MiningTruth’s funding comes from Aleda Messinger, the same lady who funds the DFL and the Alliance for a Better Minnesota. ABM has a history of smearing people it disagrees with with half-truths and outright lies.
It isn’t wise for MiningTruth to follow in ABM’s practice of waging smear campaigns. Apparently, ABM and MiningTruth think they can continue with their smear campaigns with impunity. As I’ve clearly shown, MiningTruth shouldn’t be trusted because they won’t tell the truth.
Tags: Sulfide Mining, MiningTruth.org, Environmental Activists, Conservation Minnesota, Aleda Messinger, Alliance for a Better Minnesota, DFL, Kennecott Mining, Daybreak Mine, Restoration, EPA, CERCLA, Consent Decree, Economic Growth
This op-ed starts with a hypothetical situation:
[W]hat would happen if two trillion cubic feet of natural gas were found under Eveleth this afternoon?
Next, Terry Stone speculates about the DFL’s reaction to this discovery:
Well, you can bet that the environmentalists would protest the press conference. Then they will claim that gas production, fracking, fracking sand production and pipeline construction cause haze over Voyageurs National Park. Friends of BWCA will claim that fracking water disposal will contaminate the pristine waters of the BWCA, even though it is on the other side of the continental divide. They will claim that the lights atop the drilling rigs will be seen all over the BWCA.
Labor unions will protest because the storage facilities are being built by the lowest bidder; a non-union shop from Georgia. (Congressman) Rick Nolan will claim that he wants the jobs of gas production but he can’t support the present plan because it doesn’t assure zero impact on ground water. (U.S. Sens.) Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar will introduce a bill to protect land owners from getting rich. (Minnesota Sen.) Tom Bakk will introduce a bill to place a tax on gas production in Minnesota and place it under the Taconite Taxing District of the IRRRB.
The Audubon Society, the Nature Conservancy, the Sierra Club and the Minnesota Environmental Partnership will sue to stop any gas production. They will claim that the production area is inside the buffer zone of their newly proposed International Heart of the Continent Biosphere Reserve that includes Quetico, Superior National Forest, Voyageurs and the BWCA.
The state legislature will revisit the narrowly dodged moratorium on fracking sand operations in Minnesota. The environmental front group, Save our 10,000 Lakes will hold protests at the capital during the special session to evaluate the impact of a population boom on the Iron Range. They will claim that fracking pollutes well water and that fracking chemicals cause genetic mutations and cancer.
While this is technically speculation, it’s informed speculation because it’s the DFL’s reaction to the PolyMet and Twin Metals mining projects last summer. The only difference between this speculative solution and last summer’s reaction is that last year’s response was led by Alida Messinger and Conservation Minnesota.
Either way, the DFL’s response is predictable and disastrous to Minnesota families. Stone’s op-ed then finishes with the economic reality of the DFL’s policies:
Under the sway of DFL liberal politics, Minnesota is screwed. Whether it’s pulpwood in endless supply, copper in world-class deposits, the world’s largest volume of liquid fresh water, 17,000 lakes or fracking sand in nearly unlimited quantities, Minnesota will find a way to screw the golden goose before it even hatches.
Average household income of GOP Chisago County: $67,075. Average household income of DFL International Falls: $30,094. The annual cost to your family of voting DFL: $36,981.
The median household income in Minnesota is just a bit under $60,000, meaning International Falls’ median household income is approximately half of the statewide average. That’s because the DFL’s anti-job growth policies stifle economic development.
The DFL has tried to put the Iron Range (mining and logging), Ely (precious metals mining) and Southeastern Minnesota (silica sand mining) off-limits. The effect of the DFL’s policies is exposed by the income disparity between International Falls and the statewide average.
This will forever be the case because environmentalists write the DFL’s economic development policies. That’s why families in International Falls and the Iron Range consistently get the shaft without getting the mining jobs they need to prosper.
Follow this link for more on the income disparity.
At the start of this session, I said that the DFL would sail through because Alida Messinger would give them their marching orders. When Gov. Dayton introduced his bill, businesses far and wide criticized it for imposing a sales tax on transactions between businesses and lawyers, accountants and other service providers. When the House DFL introduced their tax bill, it was criticized for imposing a gigantic, disastrous income tax increase, raising the top income tax rate from 7.85% to 12.49%. It’s difficult to imagine how the Senate DFL’s tax bill could be worse.
Difficult but no longer impossible:
Democrats in the state Senate released a plan today that increases income taxes on wealthiest 6 percent of Minnesotans, raises the sales tax on clothing and services, and increases the cigarette tax.
Republicans don’t like it and even some Democrats in competitive districts are uneasy about the taxes and spending. But DFL leaders say the $1.8 billion dollar tax increase is needed to erase the state’s budget deficit and increase spending for schools and property tax relief.
It’s incredible that the Senate DFL took the worst part of Gov. Dayton’s tax proposal, the sales tax increase on services, watered down the worst part of the House DFL’s tax increase, then added their own terrible wrinkle by raising income taxes on the middle class.
While Senate DFL leaders praise the bill as good tax policy, some of their rank-and-file members remain apprehensive about it.
“This is going to be a hard one for me to support,” said first-term DFL Sen. Melisa Franzen. Franzen, who represents the swing district of Edina, Minnetonka and Bloomington, worries the bill could harm the state’s business climate.
“If the cost of doing business in Minnesota is going to rise and small business is going to be impacted, that is something that I have to take into account,” Franzen said.
Sen. Greg Clausen, DFL-Apple Valley, worries about the income tax portion of the bill, but said he thinks many of his constituents could live with it since the bulk of the extra spending is dedicated to education.
“There certainly are people out there that say ‘no new taxes.’ Whenever they see a tax they don’t support that,” Clausen said. “But I think there is also a group of people who recognize that there are needs in our state.”
First, Sen. Rest is wrong that the Senate bill is “good tax policy.” It isn’t good tax policy raising the cigarette tax because it’ll significantly hurt convenience stores while cutting cigarette tax revenues without reducing smoking.
Hurting retailers and Minnesota’s general fund while doing nothing to tamp down smoking is a nasty negative trifecta of tax policy.
Second, there’s no way the cost of doing business in Minnesota doesn’t increase. Businesses will get hit with higher income taxes & higher business costs thanks to the sales taxes on services. That’s before talking about how the cigarette tax increase will hurt convenience store sales.
If the DFL doesn’t pull its act together quickly, they’ll find lots of complaints on the campaign trail next year.
During his 2013 State of the State Address, Gov. Dayton talked about how states with higher tax rates also had higher incomes. During the 2010 campaign, Gov. Dayton said that Minnesotans he knew were better people, that they wouldn’t object to higher tax rates. According to this article, buried in the Strib’s praise for Gov. Dayton, is information that businesses care about taxes:
Dayton endured battering criticism as business leaders weighed his proposal to tax business services. Several of the state’s largest companies said they were exploring options to relocate their headquarters to low-tax states.
It’s time for the DFL to admit that high tax rates matter, that Minnesota Miracle was a once-in-a-lifetime thing. The Minnesota Miracle didn’t happen because people didn’t care that they paid higher taxes. It happened because other states didn’t have a well-trained workforce. Once other states put a stronger emphasis on building a well-trained workforce, competitive tax rates became more important in a state’s economic viability.
It’s time, too, to say what progressives won’t admit. With higher taxes comes a higher cost of living. That higher cost of living is the result of artificially inflating the price of products to offset the cost of high taxes.
This isn’t good news for the DFL or Gov. Dayton:
More than 800 business leaders are expected at the Capitol Wednesday to press legislators to reject tax increases. David Olson, president of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, said tax hikes would force companies to scale back, not grow. “I want them to look [legislators] in the eye and say, these are the kind of decisions you are forcing me to make.”
This isn’t what the DFL wants to hear. In 2010, the DFL, led by union thugs and ABM’s money, intimidated businesses to the sidelines for the election. There’s no chance businesses will be intimidated this time. This time, businesses will enthusiastically support pro-growth GOP candidates for the House and governor.
Freshmen DFL legislators from swing districts will face a series of difficult votes. Will they represent their constituents’? Or will they represent Alida Messinger, Mark Dayton and Paul Thissen? If they vote against Messinger, Dayton and Thissen, it’s likely Gov. Dayton’s budget would fail, weakening him for his re-election bid. That’s why it isn’t likely they’ll let Gov. Dayton’s budget fail.
Voting for a tax-filled Dayton budget presents a different set of difficulties for swing district DFL legislators. Specifically, they’ll be voting against their constituents while angering small businesses. That’s a difficult position to put yourself into but it’s what’s likely to happen.
Gov. Dayton’s budget proposals have been disasters. He’s dramatically modified both of his proposals before they ever got committee votes. Then he engineered a state government shutdown in an attempt to force GOP legislators into a tax increase. When the public sided with the GOP, Gov. Dayton caved.
Now he’s back proposing higher tax rates again. It’s apparent Gov. Dayton won’t learn from his biggest mistakes. If he won’t learn, the business community will teach him a rather harsh lesson in 2014.
Tags: Tax Increases, Alida Messinger, Mark Dayton, Paul Thissen, Competitiveness, Special Interests, DFL, Entrepreneurs, Job Creation, Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, David Olson, Minnesota Jobs Coalition, Tax Reform, MNGOP, Election 2014
During this morning’s @Issue With Tom Hauser, DFL strategist Darin Broton admitted what savvy people had been thinking. There isn’t a political appetite for Gov. Dayton’s budget. Specifically, there’s a revolt against his sales tax increase, especially Gov. Dayton’s B2B sales tax increases and Gov. Dayton’s sales tax on services.
Once the budget deficit projection shrunk from $1,100,000,000 to $627,000,000, a 43% drop, DFL legislators couldn’t justify Gov. Dayton’s sales tax increases. After Gov. Dayton admitted that his sales tax initiative didn’t have the public’s support, it was just a matter of time before Gov. Dayton would be forced to admit that his entire budget would have to be scrapped.
Gov. Dayton’s budgetting abilities are questionable at best. During the 2010 campaign, he submitted his “detailed budget plan” to the Minnesota Department of Revenue 3 times. Each time, the Department of Revenue said his plan didn’t balance Minnesota’s budget. His last proposal came closest to balancing. The Department of Revenue said that plan ‘only’ had a $1,000,000,000 deficit.
In 2011, Gov. Dayton proposed massive tax increases, including a top income tax bracket of 10.95% and a 3% surcharge for people making $1,000,000 or more. When the deficit forecast was revised down from $6,200,000,000 to $5,030,000,000, Gov. Dayton immediately dropped the income tax surcharge. Eventually, the GOP majority forced him to drop his tax increases.
When Gov. Dayton submitted this biennium’s budget, it included the aforementioned sales tax increases on babysitters and lawnmowers as well as on business services. It also included a cigarette tax increase that will create an underground economy that hurts retailers. Gov. Dayton’s budget also includes raising the top individual income tax rates.
By the time Gov. Dayton delivered his State of the State address, he inadvertantly admitted that the GOP budget and reforms were working. He said that 72,000 jobs had been created under his watch, though he didn’t admit that they weren’t created as a result of his budget.
In his State of the State Address, Gov. Dayton was distancing himself from his budget faster than a man his age should be able to move. Here’s where the backpedalling started:
My proposals have already aroused considerable controversy. Such debate is healthy in our democracy.The genius of our system of governance is that no one gets to have it all her or his way. Starting with the governor. Some will characterize any legislative changes in my budget as my loss. I don’t see it that way, at all.
The winners I care about are the people of Minnesota, whose collective best interests I was elected to represent. As were you in the legislature. Whatever outcome does the most to improve the lives of the most Minnesotans makes winners of us all.
That sounds nice but it’s the prelude to Gov. Dayton caving on the sales tax increases. All that’s left from Gov. Dayton’s first budget is Gov. Dayton’s income tax and cigarette tax increases. Warming up in the bullpen is a liquor tax increase to replace Gov. Dayton’s ill-advised sales tax increase proposal.
It won’t take long to kill the cigarette tax increase. It’s virtually on life support. If history is an indicator, Sen. Bakk will help kill the liquor tax. Here’s what he said about raising the liquor tax in 2009:
Senate Taxes Committee Chairman Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, said eliminating the current mortgage interest deduction could hurt Minnesota’s high rate of home ownership and higher alcohol taxes would drive some liquor shoppers across the Wisconsin border.
It’ll be interesting to see if this Sen. Bakk will agree with the 2009 version of Sen. Bakk. I think it’s more likely that this Sen. Bakk will do whatever Alida Messinger tells him to do.
At the end of the day, the Dayton/Messinger/DFL budget will include massive tax increases because they’re needed to pay off their political allies with taxpayers money. That said, the budget that will pass won’t look much like Gov. Dayton’s first budget.
That’s what happens with mulligan budgets.
Follow this link for more on Gov. Dayton’s mulligan budget.
Additional suggested readings:
Tags: Mark Dayton, State of the State Address, Minnesota Department of Revenue, Tax Increases, Income Tax, Sales Tax, Cigarette Tax, Liquor Tax, Deficits, State Government Shutdown, Mulligan Budget, Alida Messinger, Tom Bakk, DFL, Reforms, Job Creation, MNGOP
Gov. Dayton’s State of the State speech was filled with lots of lowlights. Fortunately, there were a few things that might get classified as positives.
First, I’d like to thank Gov. Dayton for highlighting the fact that the GOP legislature put the state on the right track:
According to our Department of Employment and Economic Development, there are over 72,000 more jobs available in Minnesota today than when I took office two years ago. Almost 52,000 of those jobs were added in the past year.
Almost all of the economic policies put in place in Gov. Dayton’s first two years were GOP policies. The GOP legislature pushed for and passed budget reform and permitting reform while doing their best to limit the DFL’s reckless spending. Those reforms gave entrepreneurs some assurances to put their capital at risk and create jobs. It isn’t likely that the DFL-owned legislature and governor will match that record in the next 2 years.
In the decade after Minnesota’s income tax reductions, our economy fared worse than the nation and most other states. And at both the federal and state levels, big tax cuts followed by serious recessions produced large budget deficits, which threaten our current fiscal strength and future economic prosperity.
Minnesota’s economy suffered during the last decade because the DFL legislature wouldn’t reform Minnesota’s permitting system, which often created a bottleneck that choked off continued job creation and economic growth. Permitting reform was the first legislation in the GOP House in 2011. That bill passed quickly, which eliminated many of the bottlenecks that choked off job growth.
The other thing that hindered job growth in Minnesota were Twin Cities elitist progressives like Alida Messinger, Margaret Anderson-Kelliher, Dee Long, Arne Carlson and other environmental extremists. These elitists waged war against high-paying mining jobs. Paul Aasen, Gov. Dayton’s first nominee to be the commissioner of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, aka the MPCA, proudly bragged that he’d killed the Big Stone II power plant project that would’ve created 100 high-paying permanent jobs in western Minnesota.
That war against prosperity continues. While the need for sand increases in North Dakota for harvesting Bakken oil, the DFL is pushing for a moratorium on shipping sand from Minnesota. The Bakken will get its sand regardless of the DFL’s hissy fit. The only thing that the DFL’s hissy fit will prove is that Minnesota’s environmental extremists don’t care about high-paying Minnesota jobs. The DFL’s actions prove that they’d rather raise tax rates than create high-paying jobs that result in greater revenue in Minnesota’s general fund.
This part of Gov. Dayton’s speech should frighten thoughtful people:
In Minnesota, we have made real progress in areas like energy conservation, more efficient farming and manufacturing practices, and the development and use of clean, renewable energy, especially wind energy, instead of polluting fossil fuels.
The question is: are we progressing fast enough? Are we doing all we can to utilize other renewables, such as solar, and also to make Minnesota the best place to locate these new industries and their jobs?
Many of you, who served in previous legislatures, deserve great credit for your pioneering work to expand our use of clean energy, including Lieutenant Governor Yvonne Prettner Solon and former Senator Ellen Anderson, who is also here tonight.
I challenge this legislature to work again with our state’s visionary clean energy advocates, large energy providers, large energy users, other stakeholders, and my administration to use your past achievements as springboards for Minnesota’s next big leap toward a sustainable energy future.
The Next Generation Energy Act isn’t an achievement. It’s hurt families’ budgets by driving up electric prices. What’s worse is the fact that the prices are artificially lowered by state subsidies that help hide the true cost of producing electricity through renewables. If wind and solar weren’t heavily subsidized and mandated by government, wind and solar companies would be going out of business left and right. (See Solyndra to remove all doubts about that.)
The worst part is that the fix is in on these policies. Alida Messinger and her environmental extremist allies are pressuring Gov. Dayton and the DFL legislature to pass counterproductive green energy policies that will hurt families when they’re still struggling.
After the next 2 years, Minnesotans will have a clear vision of 2 dramatically different ideologies. Gov. Dayton admitted tonight that the conservative blueprint works. The jury is still out on whether the DFL blueprint will work. Based on past experiences, it isn’t likely to succeed.
This MPR article talks about the fight Republicans are picking with Gov. Dayton over his proposed tax increases:
Gov. Mark Dayton and Republicans in the Minnesota Legislature are sparring over the definition of a fair tax system.
A week after the governor released his plan, Republicans are zeroing in on his sales tax and property tax proposals. Republicans in the House and Senate Tax committees blasted Dayton’s budget plan Tuesday because they say it would force middle income Minnesotans to pay more in sales taxes.
That’s the worst possible fight for GOP legislators to pick. My advice to the GOP powers-that-be in the legislature is pretty straightforward. Don’t fight the fairness issue. First, that’s DFL turf. Second, it won’t change hearts or minds. Third, it doesn’t do anything to highlight how Gov. Dayton’s sales tax and cigarette tax increases hurt retailers. Fourth, it doesn’t do a thing to highlight the established fact that cigarette tax increases shrink revenues from the cigarette tax. Fifth, fighting the fairness non-issue doesn’t highlight the fact that Gov. Dayton’s tax increases don’t strengthen Minnesota’s economy or job creation.
The GOP powers-that-be should focus like a laser on the fact that Gov. Dayton’s budget and tax increase proposals will hurt Minnesota’s economy because it chases businesses and shoppers to North Dakota and Wisconsin. They should follow Rep. Leidiger’s lead. Here’s how he drives those points home:
- Does your hand-me-down car need a tune-up? Auto repairs are taxed.
- Sick? Aspirin, cold medicine, and any other over-the-counter drugs are taxed.
- Getting married? The wedding dress and hair services are taxed.
- Need to buy your kids winter coats? Any clothing item over $100 is taxed.
- Need to make a will or get tax help? Legal and accounting services are taxed.
- Do your college-aged children need to buy textbooks online? Online purchases and digital downloads are taxed.
- Smoke? The cigarette tax is increased by nearly $1 per pack.
- Own a business? Business-to-business transaction sales are taxed.
Rep. Leidiger’s list of specific tax increases should become the GOP’s response to questions about what’s awful about Gov. Dayton’s tax increase proposals. GOP legislators should repeatedly question Gov. Dayton and the DFL legislature how the middle class and working poor will pay less in taxes when all auto repairs, non-perscription drugs, cigarettes and e-books will see tax increases.
GOP legislators should repeatedly question DFL legislators and Gov. Dayton about why they think the middle class and working poor wouldn’t get hurt by these tax increases. Next, I’d tell GOP legislators to question Gov. Dayton, DFL legislators, especially Sen. Bakk, and ABM activists on why raising the cigarette tax and the sales tax won’t change people’s buying habits. Here’s what Sen. Bakk said in 2009:
Senate Taxes Committee Chairman Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, said…higher alcohol taxes would drive some liquor shoppers across the Wisconsin border.
Thus far, Sen. Bakk hasn’t criticized Gov. Dayton’s proposed cigarette tax increase even though it would have the same effect on retailers as the alcohol tax increase would’ve had in 2009. He deserves a ton of needling for what he hasn’t said this time. It’s time for GOP legislators to remind everyone that DFL legislators don’t own their votes, that their special interest puppeteers own their votes. Sen. Bakk isn’t saying anything because he’s expected to say what Alida Messinger and ABM tells him to say.
Finally, I’d recommend that the GOP fight Gov. Dayton’s budget, especially the tax increases, because it won’t strengthen Minnesota’s economy. GOP legislators should tell every interviewer how many jobs were created with a GOP legislature, then use that as a measuring stick against how many jobs this legislature creates.
When Conservation Minnesota painted a bullseye on the mining industry in northeastern Minnesota, they proved that the DFL wasn’t interested in helping hardworking mining families. These mining families are the most blue collar families in Minnesota.
Twin Cities DFL elites essentially said that their agenda was more important than those families’ livelihood. There’s nothing worse than the DFL’s disinterest in these miners’ livelihoods. The DFL’s anti-mining agenda says that the miners are second class citizens in the DFL.
In St. Louis County, the median household income from 2007-2011 was $45,399. The statewide average during the same time period was $58,476. More importantly, during that same time period, 1 in 6 people in St. Louis County lived below the poverty line compared with 1 in 9 people statewide.
The other thing that’s worth noting is that the DFL’s agenda has focused mostly on 3 things: increasing spending on K-12 and higher education, raising taxes and submitting to everything on the public employee unions’ wish list.
That agenda won’t build a strong private sector economy because it takes money from people who increase Minnesota’s GDP, then transfers that money to the public sector, where too much money is spent on parasites who subtract from Minnesota’s GDP.
Some of the parasites that can be identified are PR staffers in every office, agency, panel, commission and council, ‘government affairs directors’ and the omni-present legislative liaisons. Government affair directors and legislative liaisons is just a different alias for public sector lobbyists.
These parasites get paid with taxpayers’ money to lobby the legislature to steal money from the productive private sector so it can be spent in the unproductive public sector.
The DFL’s agenda doesn’t strengthen manufacturing, agriculture or mining, blue collar industries that strengthen economies. The DFL’s agenda doesn’t diversify Minnesota’s economy, either.
Think how much healthier Minnesota’s economy would be if the Twin Metals and PolyMet mining projects took off. They’d create an estimated 1,000 mining jobs. That’s before determining how many mining support jobs they’d create. That’s before thinking about the jobs that would get created in the Iron Range as a result of a strengthened economy. Think, too, of the population boom that’d surely follow.
The Twin Cities DFL is saying with their policies that they aren’t interested in creating those blue collar jobs.
That’s why the DFL isn’t the party of the people anymore.