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This editorial by Rep. Jennifer Schultz is an oft-repeated DFL complaint. In it, Rep. Schultz wrote “A year ago, Minnesota had a state budget surplus and a large general reserve, with special reserves earmarked for purposes like health care. Following deep tax cuts to benefit out-of-state corporations and interests like the tobacco industry and deep withdrawals that slashed reserves, the state faces a deficit in 2018 and the prospects of even larger deficits in the following years. Gov. Mark Dayton fought the tax cuts, but the legislative majority refused to budge. Without necessary revenue, the budget will have to be balanced by cutting programs, including education, health care, transportation infrastructure, and local government aid.”

First, it’s important to understand that the deficit doesn’t exist. The people that put the forecast together based their opinion on the assumption that Minnesota wasn’t getting a $178,000,000 payment for CHIP. That’s now been settled. Minnesota will get that payment. That eliminates all but $10,000,000 of the supposed deficit. The other assumption the forecasters made was that Republicans wouldn’t pass tax reform. Last Friday, President Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act into law.

I’d be surprised if the economy doesn’t grow at a more robust rate than we’re currently growing at. GDP grew at a 3.2% rate in Q3 of 2017. It’s expected to grow at almost 4% in Q4. Economists like Stephen Moore is predicting economic growth of over 4% for 2018. This will send a flood of additional money into Minnesota’s coffers. That’ll end the DFL deficit myth.

Rep. Schultz’s disdain for people is palpable in this sentence:

We fixed this in 2013, but reckless tax cuts have sent us back to the bad old days.

I wrote this post to highlight which Minnesotans would get tax relief:

college graduates paying off student loans through a refundable tax credit up to $1,000, $49 million in tax relief for families who contribute to 529 Plans to save for their children’s college costs, $146 million in property tax relief for every small business in the state…

This was in Rep. Greg Davids’ bill that Gov. Dayton vetoed. Rep. Schultz thinks it’s “reckless” to provide tax relief for “college graduates paying off student loans”, “families contributing to 529 Plans to save for their children’s college costs” and “property tax relief for every small business in the state.” Seriously? This attitude is disgusting. It’s the people’s money. It doesn’t belong to big city mayors (LGA). It doesn’t belong to the commissioner of MnDOT. It doesn’t belong to Minnesota’s Rainy Day Fund. This video proves that the DFL is well-trained at lying about tax relief:

Let’s remember the DFL’s $586,000,000 long-term deficit prediction this March when the real forecast comes out based on reality, not misguided assumptions. I suspect that forecast will look significantly different. (The March forecast will actually be a surplus, I believe.) Further, I suspect that Rep. Schultz’s statements will look like DFL spin, not serious economic analysis.

Duluth has a choice. Will they pick a dishonest socialist like Schultz or should they pick someone who will vote to make people’s lives better?

It isn’t a secret that there’s a major fight looming between Gov. Dayton and Republican leadership on the issue of health care. I’ve written about the difference in the details between Gov. Dayton’s proposal and the Republicans’ proposal before. (Here’s one of the posts.) Saying that the difference between Gov. Dayton’s proposal and the Republicans’ plan is significant is understatement. Honestly, this article doesn’t outline the differences.

The third paragraph says “DFL Gov. Mark Dayton said he wants to see the Legislature immediately pass his plan, which would provide a 25 percent rebate for people who wouldn’t be able to get other help with their surging premiums. About 121,000 Minnesotans are facing steep health insurance premium hikes, but make too much to qualify for federal tax credits.”

What’s needed to do this debate justice is a side-by-side comparison of the competing plans. Actually, it isn’t fair to call Gov. Dayton’s proposal a plan when compared with the Republicans’ plan. This graphic is worth thousands of DFL words:

The first question that people should ask Gov. Dayton and the DFL legislators is this: why doesn’t your plan fix all the things that are broken with the MNsure/ACA system? The other question that I’d ask is this: If you aren’t going to make a substantive counterproposal, why aren’t you supporting the Republicans’ comprehensive proposal? Is it that you think rural Minnesotans have too much access to health care? Are rural Minnesotans’ networks too robust?

Unfortunately, it’s clear that Gov. Dayton is digging in his heals on MNsure/ACA because, in his mind, reforming it would hurt his legacy. Isn’t it time for him to, just once, do the right thing for rural Minnesotans?

Minnesotans rejected Gov. Dayton’s and the DFL’s agenda this past November. They want to move in a different direction. (More on that in a future post.) They aren’t happy with the direction Gov. Dayton and the DFL have taken Minnesota in.

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Gov. Dayton’s last day in office can’t come soon enough. Saying that our governor is a spoiled rich brat with a short fuse is understatement. This time, Gov. Dayton says that he’s running out of patience with the GOP over MNsure. This article quotes Gov. Dayton as saying “I’m running out of patience” after accusing “Republicans of dragging their feet about fixing” MNsure.

After watching Gov. Dayton the past 6 years, I’m not convinced that Gov. Dayton ever had patience. Later in the article, Gov. Dayton is quoted as saying “We’re running out of time. Quit dilly-dallying and get to work, and decide whether you are going to support my proposal, which is ready to go, and is viable, or you don’t want to do it.”

Gov. Dayton, stop pretending like you have a plan to fix all of Minnesota’s health care problems. You’ve got a plan to send out rebate checks to people who make too much money to qualify for federal subsidies.

Gov. Dayton’s ‘plan’ doesn’t do a thing to increase access to health care. It certainly doesn’t make health care affordable for anything more than a year. People living in rural Minnesota don’t have a lengthy list of insurers to pick from, either. Here’s the video of Gov. Dayton coming unhinged:

I published this post to highlight Greg Davids’ plan to fix the multiple problems with Minnesota’s health care system. At the time that I published that post, I made these points:

One part of Chairman Davids’ proposal deals with out-of-network expenses:

Create a tax credit to reduce out of-network-costs that arise from seeking care from a long-time primary care physician. Minnesotans were promised that if they liked their doctor they could keep their doctor, but too many are losing their long-time doctors due to narrow networks. Continuity of care needs to be addressed to ensure that we do not lose sight of the importance of actual health care when we look at the problems with health insurance coverage.

Another part of Chairman Davids’ plan deals with expanding choices:

Allow Minnesotans to purchase non-qualified health plans (QHPs), and seek a federal waiver to waive tax penalties for those who purchase a non-QHP insurance plan. If the federal government will not approve the waiver, Minnesota should provide a rebate to cover the cost of the non-QHP penalty.

Since the time I published that post, it’s likely that the Trump administration will grant states waivers that would permit them to ignore parts of the ACA.

Where’s Gov. Dayton’s comprehensive plan to fix the things that he and the DFL broke when they created MNsure? Gov. Dayton and the DFL certainly sang MNsure’s praises at their signing ceremony. Sen. Lourey said “The people won on this bill.” Rep. Joe Atkins said “This truly is a landmark day in Minnesota. This is the most significant reform of health insurance we’ve seen in Minnesota in 50 years.”

The system that the DFL put in place certainly wasn’t a reform and the people lost when MNsure was implemented. If Gov. Dayton and the DFL want to lose big in 2018, all they have to do is keep doing what they’re doing. Gov. Dayton and the DFL are heading for a trainwreck of historic proportions if they don’t get serious about working with Republicans in fixing the DFL’s crisis.

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Today marks LFR’s 12th blogiversary. When I started blogging, social media didn’t really exist to any large extent. Twitter wars hadn’t started. We certainly didn’t have Twitchy chronicling the provocative things people said on Twitter. In fact, Twitter didn’t take off until Nancy Pelosi shut down the House of Representatives rather than vote on the Republicans’ all-of-the-above energy program. In fact, that’s why I wrote this post. John Culberson, a Republican member of the House, used Twitter to get the word out about the Republicans’ protest of Pelosi’s strong-arm tactics. When Pelosi turned off the microphones, Rep. Culberson started texting people to tell them of Ms. Pelosi’s strong-arm tactics. Then he took to Twitter.

I started blogging because the so-called MSM wasn’t interested in supplying important information to the people. I hoped that bloggers would create the competition that would force the MSM to start doing their job. Obviously, that hasn’t happened. If anything, it’s gotten worse. The MSM quickly transformed into the Agenda Media, a phrase I coined years before Rush coined the phrase ‘Drive-By Media’. I still think my phrase is a better fit.

LFR’s pledge to you is that I’ll continue to hold people’s feet to the fire. I’ll continue writing about institutional corruption, whether it’s found at MnSCU headquarters or whether it’s when the Dayton administration rigs union organizing elections.

I’m proud that I’ve helped win several elections, including two State Senate races and one congressional race this year. I’ll pledge to keep pressure on the DFL until they fix Minnesota’s health care crisis, too. They broke it. Unfortunately, they’ve refused to fix it. The good news is that Republicans are prepared to fix it. The incoming Trump administration will do its part. Greg Davids, Matt Dean and others will fix what’s broken with Minnesota’s problems.

During the 2017 session, I hope to expand LFR coverage of the legislative session by taking occasional trips to the Capitol, especially around the deadlines. With Gov. Dayton expecting to dig in his heels, especially on health care, this session will be one of the most eventful sessions in history.

Those trips will cost money so consider this my appeal for sponsorships. If you’re interested in sponsoring these trips, contact me by leaving a comment. I will contact you via email. Consider this the official start of my quarterly bleg.

Some things have changed since I started blogging. Over the next year, LFR will be changing, too. Stay tuned for those developments. What hasn’t changed is the need to hold politicians’ feet to the fire. I’m hoping to do that for another dozen years or more.

Finally, thank you to all of the loyal readers of LFR. I’m proud of the fact that LFR has become one of the legislators’ most read news sources.