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This article contains some frightening information. It says that the “largest budget bill was not publicly released until several hours after the special session had begun.” I’m guessing that they’re talking about the HHS bill though I don’t know that for certain.

This highlights the DFL’s failures on multiple fronts. First, the House DFL leadership wasn’t ready for primetime. Kurt Daudt highlighted how various bills didn’t have spreadsheets whatsoever while other bills had the spreadsheets intended for other bills. That’s disgraceful, especially for a special session. It’s one thing if these mistakes were made at the start of a session with a new majority. It’s another when the DFL majority had the entire session to learn how to make the ship run right.

The DFL failed miserably.

Second, the DFL promised unprecedented transparency. Having the governor, the speaker and the Senate majority leader negotiate the budget when they’re the only ones in the room isn’t the portrait of transparency that Minnesotans were looking for. Blame DFL Speaker Melissa Hortman for that failure.

In most years, the negotiation includes the House and Senate majority leaders, the House and Senate minority leaders, the commissioners and committee chairs in both the House and Senate. That didn’t happen this year. That’s another DFL failure.

This GOP press availability highlights the DFL’s failures:

That’s before talking about the DFL’s tax increases, especially the DFL’s proposed $12,000,000,000 tax increase over the next 4 years. That’s before talking about the DFL’s unsustainable spending increases.

It’s time to fire these DFL jackasses. The DFL’s policies were terrible and ill-advised. The DFL’s managerial skills were horrible. What’s worth keeping?

It’s understatement to say that House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt didn’t compliment the DFL after this session. Rep. Daudt criticized House DFL leadership, saying “I am not going to stand for this dark of night, making decisions behind closed doors with no one knowing what’s the bill. The authors of the bills didn’t know what was in the bills, we didn’t have spreadsheets, the spreadsheets that we did get didn’t match the bills. This is an absolute shame on the Democrats who are running the chamber on the Minnesota House of Representatives.”

If Minnesotans care about performance, then they should fire the DFL and replace them with people that know how to make things run properly. The DFL, especially Speaker Hortman and House Majority Leader Winkler, have a variety of nickname options. One legitimate option is the gang who couldn’t shoot straight. Another option would be ‘the not yet ready for primetime players.’

Here’s why Leader Daudt was upset:

This has been the least productive, least transparent session in the history of this state. Minnesotans should be ashamed of the process at the end of this legislative session.

Look how out-of-touch Speaker Hortman looks in this picture:

Walz looks like he’s about to blow a gasket while Hortman is smiling. What’s up with that? Here’s Leader Daudt’s press availability:

I’m with Leader Daudt. The DFL should be utterly ashamed of their incompetence. Unfortunately, the DFL won’t be ashamed of their incompetence because that would require a conscience, something that the DFL hasn’t had for 20 years. In light of Leader Daudt’s information about the Sick Tax, the DFL’s insistence on the Sick Tax is, at best, puzzling. That’s being charitable. If the federal government covers the things that the Provider Tax was originally put in place to cover, then the Sick Tax can’t be part of the final budget. If it’s being used as a slush fund for DFL special interest vote-buying, then it’s gotta go.

The more information that I gather about the budget agreement, the more I’m certain that Republicans should hold up the bills until the DFL caves on the health care provider tax. Period. That shouldn’t be part of the final budget.

In 2020, DFL freshmen will have to campaign with a handful of millstones hung around their necks. First, the House freshmen will have to explain why they voted for the biggest potential tax increase in Minnesota history. Next, they’ll have to explain why they voted to increase health care costs to pay for a DFL slush fund. Third, these DFL freshmen will need to explain why they were part of the least productive, least competent legislative majority in recent Minnesota history.

Good luck with that.

These negotiations (which I wrote about here) produced some of the biggest winners and losers in recent history. Let’s start with the biggest losers.

It’s impossible to imagine a bigger loser than Tim Walz. He lost on his tax increases, including the gas tax, the sick tax and the income tax increases. He and the DFL lost on spending, too. Another major loser was DFL Speaker Melissa Hortman. She was present throughout the negotiations but didn’t seem to be an active participant in those negotiations. I’d give her a ‘Potted Plant Award’ for participation.

Another major loser throughout the negotiations was DFL House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler. Friday night on Almanac, his first time on the big stage, DFL Rep. Winkler was used like a whipping post, first by Sen. Roger Chamberlain, then by House Minority leader Kurt Daudt. (More on them later.)

The other major loser in these negotiations was Education Minnesota, the people most famous for owning the DFL:

The biggest winners in this negotiations are Minnesota’s taxpayers. They didn’t get hit with one of the biggest tax increases in Minnesota history. That alone makes them a big winner.

The next biggest winner was Roger Chamberlain. Throughout these negotiations, he fought for the taxpayers, reminding the politicians who they worked for, aka the people. He took Rep. Winkler to the proverbial wood shed multiple times. After Rep. Winkler spurted out that “there are no free lunches”, Sen. Chamberlain reminded Rep. Winkler that the people not represented at the Capitol were “the people who pay the bills”, aka the taxpayers.

It’s hard to see how Kurt Daudt, the former and hopefully future GOP Speaker of the House, could’ve been more effective. He stated emphatically on Almanac that the DFL could raise spending by 7.3% without raising taxes a penny. That statement might’ve done more to finish the talks than anything else.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t praise Senate Majority Leader Gazelka for his job in negotiating this budget. Let’s remember that he won a significant tax cut by getting the 7.05% rate dropped to 6.8%. Rest assured that the DFL didn’t fight to include that policy change in the budget agreement.

Finally, I’d have to apologize if I didn’t include the House DFL legislators. They all voted for the Walz/DFL tax increases, which will hurt them in 2020, then saw Gov. Walz throw them under the proverbial bus in final negotiations. I can’t imagine them being too happy with Gov. Walz and the DFL leadership for that ‘favor’. That makes the DFL, especially the DFL House majority, a major loser in these negotiations.

Last night on Almanac, co-host Eric Eskola opened the show by explaining that Gov. Walz, Speaker Hortman and Sen. Gazelka wouldn’t appear on the show due to last-minute budget negotiations. In their stead, the panel consisted of Ryan Winkler and Tom Bakk attempting to make the case for the DFL and House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt and Senate Taxes Committee Chairman Roger Chamberlain representing Republicans.

At the outset, Winkler tried a little humor, saying “Well, when you have the junior varsity on the field like you do on this couch today, that means that the A-Team is out doing the work that they need to do.” Little did I know that Winkler was this prophetic. When Eskola asked whether Gov. Walz and the DFL overpromised, Winkler said “We know that there will be compromise with the GOP Senate but Gov. Walz and the DFL House also wanted to be clear about where we are headed.” Later, he stated that “We want to make sure and do no harm to people.” (It’s a little late for that, Rep. Winkler.)

Kurt Daudt replied “I think Democrats have overpromised. I think that’s pretty obvious at this point. We have a $1,000,000,000 surplus right now. We’ve got another half a billion dollars sitting there already collected over forecast that’s waiting to be recognized in the November forecast and Democrats are still holding onto this dream of raising taxes by $12,000,000,000 on Minnesotans.” Daudt then finished by saying “I just think that’s way out of touch with where Minnesotans are at.”

Here’s the entire segment:

Roger Chamberlain stated emphatically that if the DFL raised taxes by $12,000,000,000, “it will kill this state.” He didn’t mince words, which was the right thing to do. Winkler tried responding, saying that there’s no such thing as a free lunch. That’s when Kurt Daudt buried Winkler, saying “The DFL could increase spending by 7.3% without raising taxes.”

That’s what the DFL JV team looks like. How’d you like to be a DFL House member representing a swing district after voting for these massive tax increases? They’d better campaign wearing flack jackets after those votes. The DFL can kiss all those seats good-bye. Selling those legislators as moderates after those votes isn’t possible.

Let’s be clear. The DFL will get a significant portion of what they want because they control the governor’s chair. Still, the DFL misread their mandate, which they do virtually reflexively.

Finally, Bakk and Winkler tried peddling the BS that Gov. Walz should get most of what he wants because he campaigned on this and he won with a record amount of votes. It’s true that the DFL won with a record number of votes but it’s an outright lie to say that Gov. Walz campaigned by stating specifically that he’d raise the gas tax by 20 cents-per-gallon and raise taxes overall by $12,000,000,000. That didn’t happen so that argument is BS.

Earlier this week, I wrote about Speaker Daudt’s stinging criticism of Gov. Dayton in this post. I’m not surprised that I’m not the only one lining up to take a shot at Gov. Dayton. This morning, I got my copy of Harold Hamilton’s weekly commentary. Harold didn’t pull punches in this week’s end-of-session summation.

At the top of Harold’s commentary is his “Quote of the Week” section. The first quote, from Speaker Daudt, said “I can’t answer why Governor Dayton wasn’t engaged during session. He’ll have to answer those questions. His parking spot sits empty almost every day – he doesn’t even come to the Capitol. He hasn’t been engaged at all in his job here.” If Gov. Dayton wasn’t willing to do the work, he should’ve resigned so someone else could do the things needed to help Minnesotans.

The second quote also came from Speaker Daudt:

This session wasn’t a failure. Our governor was a failure.

The final quote is from Sen. Roger Chamberlain:

The governor is behaving like a toddler – emotional, impulsive, and unreasonable. It is just another part of his legacy of chaos and failure.

Gov. Dayton was poorly equipped for the job. His leadership skills were nonexistent. His temperament was terrible. His ability to work with others was nonexistent, too. What part of that ‘skillset’ sounds like he’s equipped to be governor? That isn’t the only criticism of Gov. Dayton in Hamilton’s commentary. Here’s more:

Once again, Dayton demonstrated that he really isn’t up to the job of being chief executive of the state. Thus, he leaves a legacy of failure, a legacy of failing to lead and unite a divided state. Beyond that, he has no legacy. He has no signature achievements he or his liberal brethren can brag up.

He can’t brag about MNLARS. On that, he might get tarred and feathered. The nursing home abuse scandal is a dark stain on his ‘humanitarian’ record because the Office of Health Facility Complaints investigated “just 1% of nearly 21,000 cases … through on-site investigations when facilities self-reported incidents.”

People died but Gov. Dayton didn’t instruct the OHFC to investigate. That either means that Gov. Dayton is a totally heartless SOB or that he’d checked out or both. When people die and the governor doesn’t fix things or, at minimum, he doesn’t pay attention, then he vetoes a bill that would’ve established protections, then the fault sits exclusively with Gov. Dayton. Only the executive branch runs things. The legislative branch passes policy bills and funds government. They don’t run things. Here’s the harshest, most accurate part of Hamilton’s commentary:

Once again, Dayton demonstrated that he really isn’t up to the job of being chief executive of the state. Thus, he leaves a legacy of failure, a legacy of failing to lead and unite a divided state. Beyond that, he has no legacy. He has no signature achievements he or his liberal brethren can brag up.

He is really left with only the dubious claim that presided over a massive increase in the state income tax, a sort of Holy Grail for liberals that visits upon the successful the misery of bearing their “fair share” of income taxes, which really means somewhere around 70% of the total burden.

Much like President Obama, Gov. Dayton isn’t an executive. They’re both executives in name only. Also like President Obama, Gov. Dayton’s legacy stands a good chance of getting wiped out by his successor.

Minnesota desperately needs a true executive who keeps the trains running on time. If Dayton didn’t show up, much less on time, how can we keep the trains running on time? Finally, it’s worth noting that Speaker Daudt typically is known as Mr. Calm, Cool and Collected. For him to go Vesuvius like he did Sunday and Wednesday, something serious must’ve bothered him.

By vetoing the GOP tax conformity bill, Gov. Dayton has just given corporations a major tax increase. Gov. Dayton didn’t like the bill because, in his words, “the bill didn’t penalize companies who move foreign profits back to Minnesota harshly enough.”

This shows just how incompetent Gov. Dayton is and how little he understands economics. If you punish corporations for bringing their profits back to the USA, they’ll keep their profits in other countries. These corporations don’t have an incentive to repatriate their funds if Gov. Dayton’s policy is to punish them. Gov. Dayton’s shortsighted and ideology-driven policies have led him to veto the legislature’s tax conformity bill.

That’s foolish both economically and politically. Thanks to Gov. Dayton’s veto of the bill, lots of businesses will get hit with significant tax increases. Further, those businesses getting hit with significant tax increases now have a motive to vote for Republicans this fall. Thanks to Gov. Dayton’s veto of the tax conformity bill, entrepreneurs have additional incentives to vote against DFL legislators and the DFL gubernatorial candidate. Of course, Gov. Dayton had to make a foolish statement after vetoing the bill:

“They wanted a bill that was going to fail,” Dayton said at a morning news conference. He accused House Republicans of cozying up to “special interests.”

Take that statement with a block of salt. Forget about a grain of salt. You’d need one of these:

About 2:30 into this video, Speaker Daudt said something profound. When asked by Pat Kessler why they didn’t separate out the bills, Speaker Daudt said “You know, even when we did separate things out — I’ll bring your attention to the deputy registrar money — we sent that by itself. The Governor vetoed that and then put in his veto letter that he vetoed it because it wasn’t part of a bigger bill. I’m just — I don’t even have anything to say. I can’t answer for how illogical this governor has been the last 2 weeks — and beyond that.”

There’s no question that Gov. Dayton has been erratic the last 2+ weeks. There’s little question that he’s no longer mentally fit to serve as governor anymore. Just look at the things that’ve happened recently. MNLARS is a major administration failure that’s hurting deputy registrars. It’s putting some of them out of business. Others are losing their homes. Fox9 reported about massive amounts of fraud in the child care welfare system. Gov. Dayton’s response was that he found out about it via the station that broke the story. Earlier, it was reported that seniors living in elder care facilities had died because the people abused them or neglected them altogether.

Sen. Karin Housley put a bill together to insist on accountability. Naturally, Gov. Dayton vetoed that, too. Gov. Dayton accused Republicans of cozying up to “the special interests.” What does Gov. Dayton have to say about his protecting SEIU with his veto of the senior care accountability bill? Did he do that because it was the right thing? Did he do it because he’s protected his political allies all the while he’s been in office? (I suspect it’s the latter.)

Perhaps Speaker Daudt’s most stinging shot came when he said “I’ve worked with this governor as the leader of my caucus the last 6 years, the last 4 years as Speaker and every opportunity, this governor will choose politics over people every time.” In fact, throughout the 24+ minute video, Speaker Daudt cited example after example of Gov. Dayton not being engaged in negotiating bills.

In fact, it wasn’t just Speaker Daudt that criticized Gov. Dayton. Check out Roger Chamberlain’s statement on Gov. Dayton’s behavior:

The governor behaved like a toddler – emotional, impulsive, and unreasonable. Vetoing everything and bringing the session to a crashing halt because he couldn’t get exactly what he wanted is just another temper tantrum. It has become a recurring theme with this governor; it is a legacy of chaos and failure.

The truly sad thing is the governor’s selfishness will have a devastating impact on Minnesotans. His vetoes tell us he doesn’t care about protecting students from the next school shooting. That he doesn’t care about saving the next victims of opioid abuse. That he doesn’t care about people struggling with mental health emergencies. That he doesn’t care about victims of elder abuse. The list goes on and on and on. These people don’t care about the governor’s political games. They just want to live their lives and the governor turned his back on them today.

Senate Republicans cited specific reasons why Gov. Dayton shouldn’t have vetoed these bill. Here’s part of Sen. Karin Housley’s statement:

The governor’s veto of the supplemental budget is disappointing and irresponsible. The bill included new, needed protections for elderly and vulnerable Minnesotans, and his veto puts thousands at risk. Instead of standing with the people of our state, the governor chose to cement his legacy as a chief executive whose administration has been marred by scandal and obstruction.

The elder care provisions included in the bill represented a bipartisan compromise that would have allowed the use of electronic monitoring, strengthened resident protections, better prevented retaliation, prohibited deceptive marketing, and enhanced provider accountability.

Sen. Chamberlain is right. Gov. Dayton acted like a spoiled brat. I wrote about Gov. Dayton’s behavior many times during this session and the budget session. This isn’t something that wasn’t totally visible. It was there in plain sight the entire time. That being said, the Twin Cities media did their best to not cover it. Even in today’s press conference with Speaker Daudt, the questions were veiled attempts to defend Gov. Dayton. It didn’t work. Speaker Daudt was prepared and loaded with specifics.

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After vetoing the GOP tax conformity bill, Gov. Dayton sent this veto letter to Speaker Kurt Daudt in which he theoretically explained why he vetoed the tax conformity bill. It isn’t as much a governing document as it is a political document.

For instance, early in the veto letter, Gov. Dayton wrote “Late last year, President Trump and Republicans in Congress enacted a federal tax law that overwhelmingly favored large corporations and the richest Americans. The federal tax law cut taxes by 40 percent for corporations, totaling 92 percent of the net total, or $1.35 trillion. Because of these federal tax changes, 300,000 Minnesotans will see a $59 million tax increase next year, if the Minnesota Legislature does nothing to respond.”

What Gov. Dayton didn’t include in his letter is why the federal tax cut was heavy on cutting corporate tax rates. Gov. Dayton didn’t mention that Obama-era tax increases in corporate tax rates had made U.S. companies uncompetitive with other nations’ companies. The likely reason why Gov. Dayton didn’t mention that is because his tax policies have made Minnesota companies uncompetitive.

Here’s Speaker Daudt’s response to Gov. Dayton’s veto:

This is an outright lie:

Unfortunately, this tax bill, like the Federal Tax Law passed last year, prioritizes tax cuts for corporations over real people. Rather than investing in our children’s educations, the GOP has decided that the foreign profits of large, multinational corporations are more important.

I can’t wait until Gov. Dayton is just a bad memory. He’s raised taxes, including on middle income families and the working poor. Now he’s about to raise taxes on the middle class again unless he gets exactly what he wants. He’s turned a blind eye towards vulnerable seniors in nursing homes. He’s dumped millions of dollars into a broken MNLARS system and that still doesn’t work. He’s protected his union allies while imposing harsh regulations on those that oppose the unions. (Think child care workers who voted against unionization.)

It’s accurate to say that he’s been the worst governor in recent Minnesota history. He’s supposedly forgotten important provisions in major bills that he’s negotiated. (Think sales tax on farm equipment repairs in the Tax bill of 2013 and the PSL provision in the Vikings stadium bill.) Now he’s insisting that he didn’t hear about the whistleblower report about the Somali child care fraud. This despite the fact that the whistleblower has repeatedly told reporters that he told people in Gov. Dayton’s inner circle about the fraud.

When he was in the Senate, Dayton was named the worst senator in DC. It isn’t a stretch to think that he’s now added worst governor in Minnesota to his ‘trophy case’.

One of the reasons why Republicans should write more letters to the editor is because editorial boards aren’t that bright. This Our View editorial is a perfect example of their bias.

It starts by saying “The Minnesota Supreme Court last week upheld the line-item veto of the state Legislature’s budget and told its warring co-equal branches to work out their problems themselves. The court is right on that. It remains to be seen if Gov. Mark Dayton and the leadership of the Legislature are willing to do that.”

Let’s be clear about this. While there’s a political component to this, it’s still a constitutional issue. By siding with Gov. Dayton, the 5 clowns in black robes gave future governors the upper hand in budget negotiations. All that’s required is for the governor to reach an agreement on a budget, the legislature passes that budget, the governor signs the agreed-upon budget before he line-item vetoes the legislature’s operating budget. At that point, the governor would have a stacked deck in demanding the opposition party renegotiate parts of the deal that the governor didn’t want to compromise on.

We are where we are: Dayton has his hand on the Legislature’s financial windpipe and appears quite willing to strangle it to get what he wants. The Legislature’s argument that the governor is effectively abolishing the legislative branch fell on deaf ears with the justices. And the relationship between the governor and the Legislature grows ever more toxic.

It’s wrong to call the black robe bandits justices. They’re DFL operatives first. They aren’t principled jurists who understand the concept of co-equal branches of government. Further, they’re cowards. They didn’t want to be criticized by the media, which is overwhelmingly liberal, so they ruled in the DFL’s favor.

It is well past time for Dayton and Daudt to rise above their mutual contempt. It is not enough for one to do so. It is incumbent on both to act in good faith. The poison pill provisions must stop; the veto should be the last option if a deal has been struck.

Again, this editorial board plays the ‘they’re both guilty’ card. That’s BS. Forgotten is the fact that Gov. Dayton agreed to the tax bill. If he didn’t agree with it, he shouldn’t have agreed to it before calling the special session.

When the legislature opens its session in February, the House should pass a bill funding the legislature, then send it to the Senate. After it’s passed by the House and Senate, they should send it to Gov. Dayton. If he vetoes the funding bill, the House should immediately schedule an override vote. If the DFL legislators want to kill their political careers for a lame duck governor, let them vote to sustain Gov. Dayton’s veto.

If they vote to override Gov. Dayton’s veto, Republicans should highlight the fact that every DFL legislator voted against the GOP tax relief bill in 2017. I’d love hearing them explain why they voted to not cut taxes but voted to override Gov. Dayton’s veto of the Republicans’ tax relief bill in 2017.

Liz Mair’s article strongly hints that the DFL would hold Sen. Franken’s seat if Sen. Franken resigned as a result of this ethics scandal. In her article, Mair wrote “It just so happens that Minnesota has a lot of Democratic women who could make for viable Franken replacements; at least six, depending on who you ask. One is Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith. Another is Attorney General Lori Swanson. A third is State Auditor Rebecca Otto. A fourth is state House Minority Leader Melissa Hortman. A fifth is Rep. Betty McCollum. And a sixth is former state House Majority Leader Erin Murphy.”

Mair isn’t wrong that each of these women would be viable candidates in the eyes of DFL activists. The thing that Ms. Mair is missing is the fact that these candidates have in common is that they’re from the Metro. In the eyes of rural Minnesota, especially the Iron Range, these women would be rejected like Hillary was rejected. In fact, I’d posit that they’d get rejected worse than Hillary was in 2016.

Trump won the Eighth District with 53.76% of the vote to Hillary’s 38.27%. None of these candidates would do that well on the Range. Further, most of these candidates favor single-payer health care.

Meanwhile, Republicans have 2 candidates that would be able to run well in the suburbs, the exurbs & rural Minnesota. If Stewart Mills or Kurt Daudt were to run, they’d be favored because they both support the Iron Range, they both support the construction unions and they’re both seen as sensible policymakers.

The DFL’s biggest problem is that they’re the urban party, which helped them win statewide races in the past. That’s coming to an end because farmers and unions are abandoning the DFL because of the DFL’s hostility towards building pipelines, approving mining projects and Gov. Dayton’s hostility towards farmers. The sad part for the DFL is that Gov. Dayton is sensible compared with the 6 ladies mentioned earlier.

If Sen. Franken resigns, which looks more possible each week, Gov. Dayton will have a difficult decision. It’ll take quite a bit to wash the bitter taste of Sen. Franken out of people’s mouth:

At the end of the day, I’d put the DFL’s chances of holding Sen. Franken’s seat as a toss-up.

According to this article, Sen. Dan Schoen and Rep. Tony Cornish will resign soon, with Sen. Schoen resigning Wednesday and Rep. Cornish leaving ” on or before Dec. 1.”

According to the article “House Speaker Kurt Daudt and Majority Leader Joyce Peppin say they asked Cornish to resign.” It then added a statement, saying “We asked Representative Tony Cornish to offer his resignation from the Minnesota House of Representatives. Over the last week, it has become increasingly clear his resignation is the most appropriate course of action for him, his constituents, and our institution. As House leaders, we will continue to take concrete steps to combat misconduct at the legislature and ensure a safe and respectful work environment for legislators, staff, lobbyists, and the public.”

Cornish released his own statement, saying “As a proud former peace officer and longtime champion for public safety, I am forced to face the reality that I have made some at the Capitol feel uncomfortable, and disrespected. To those individuals and specifically the unnamed lobbyist , I sincerely apologize for my unwelcome behavior. “I would also like to apologize to God, my family, my constituents, and friends for the mistakes I have made. After having conferred with family members, friends and advisors, it is with deep regret tonight that I am announcing my intention to resign from the Minnesota House of Representatives. I do so after reaching an agreement in principle with the unnamed lobbyist that has been mentioned. The agreement is basically that I offer the enclosed apology, and resign from my office, on or before December, 1st 2017 and that we both provide each other with a mutual release of any claims against each other now and in the future.”