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This ad, paid for by the House DFL Caucus, says that Zach Dorholt is “delivering for St. Cloud and the middle class”:

Like I said in this post, the DFL dances to the tune that Education Minnesota tells them to dance to. Zach Dorholt is no different. Like the rest of his DFL colleagues in the House of Representatives, Zach voted against teacher accountability because that’s what Education Minnesota told them to do. Rather than doing what’s right for Minnesota’s students and parents, Zach Dorholt and the DFL decided they couldn’t risk Education Minnesota pulling their campaign contributions or their Get Out The Vote (GOTV) operations.

When it’s a fight between doing what’s right for parents and students or doing what’s right for Education Minnesota, Zach Dorholt and the DFL will always fight for Education Minnesota.

The best way I can illustrate who the DFL fights for is to ask everyone when the last time was that the DFL picked the people instead of picking one of their special interest allies. Take your time. Do your research. Go through all of the DFL’s votes. That includes Zach Dorholt’s votes. Check out their votes in committee. Check out their votes on the GOP’s amendments to bills.

I’d bet that the DFL sided with the people less than 5% of the time when it was a fight between the people and one of the DFL’s special interest allies.

Let’s take this from the theoretical to the concrete. At their State Convention, did the DFL side with the blue collar workers of the Iron Range or the Twin Cities plutocrats and trust fund babies on mining? Did Dorholt and the DFL side with the women who ran in-home child care businesses or did they side with their friends in the SEIU and AFSCME instead?

The simple answer is that the DFL didn’t side with blue collar miners or the women who run in-home child care businesses. The DFL took the side of their special interest allies. Not once but twice. Unfortunately, those weren’t the only times that Zach Dorholt and the DFL didn’t take the people’s side.

In the spring of 2013, convenience stores lobbied the DFL legislature not to raise the cigarette tax, saying that raising the cigarette tax would hurt convenience stores on the Minnesota borders with North Dakota or Wisconsin. Zach Dorholt and the DFL couldn’t resist the ideological pull. They raised the cigarette tax, which led to Minnesotans driving to North Dakota or Wisconsin to buy their cigarettes.

Thanks to Zach Dorholt’s and the DFL’s decisions, middle class Minnesotans are getting squeezed. Despite significant increases in LGA and school funding, people’s property tax bills are going up. The jobs created during the time when the DFL controlled the entire state government are mostly part-time jobs or they’re low-paying jobs.

The unemployment rate on the Iron Range is 64.3% higher than the statewide average, thanks mostly to policies advocated for by environmental activists.

Zach Dorholt and the DFL are delivering. Unfortunately, they’re delivering for Education Minnesota and their other special interest allies, not for the middle class.

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This DFL ad attacks Jeff Johnson because the DFL doesn’t want parents to know that Gov. Dayton supports Education Minnesota more than he supports students:

Here’s the transcript from the DFL’s mean-spirited ad:

I think a lot of Minnesotans don’t know what Jeff Johnson stands for. It seems like schools are not Jeff Johnson’s priority. Jeff Johnson cut early childhood spending. That really bothers me. Any cuts to that would be devastating for our family. Our kids are our future so how could you do that? I would hate to see Minnesota take a step backwards in education. Students in the state of Minnesota deserve far better than that. I trust Mark Dayton. We think Gov. Dayton is the right choice for moving Minnesota’s schools forward.

That’s what I’d expect from the DFL and Education Minnesota. Everything in the DFL’s ad is about spending. There’s nothing in it about teacher quality.

That’s because Education Minnesota won’t let the DFL talk about teacher quality. In 2011, the Republican legislature passed a bill that required high school math teachers to pass a basic skills test. A year later, 4 high school math teachers for the Sauk Rapids-Rice school district got waivers from the Dayton administration’s Education Department because they couldn’t pass the basic skills test.

The DFL and Education Minnesota have always been about spending. They’ve never focused on teacher quality. There’s proof of that in what the all-DFL government (House, Senate and Gov. Dayton) did the minute they took control. At the request of Education Minnesota, the all-DFL government repealed the Dayton-signed basic skills test for teachers. That required Gov. Dayton’s signature.

That’s proof that Gov. Dayton was for teacher accountability before Education Minnesota told him he was against teacher accountability. This isn’t news. I first highlighted Education Minnesota’s domination of the DFL in this post from 2010.

The DFL’s ad could’ve been written by Education Minnesota. The DFL is the puppet. EdMinn is the DFL’s puppetmaster. That the DFL would regurgitate EdMinn’s chanting points is both predictable and disgusting.

Finally, the DFL’s ad is BS. Jeff Johnson didn’t cut K-12 spending. He just didn’t increase it as much as EdMinn wanted it increased. Jeff Johnson is committed to shrinking Minnesota’s achievement gap, something that Gov. Dayton and EdMinn have utterly failed at.

Parents want improving results. EdMinn wants more money. Thus far, EdMinn has gotten their money. Thanks to EdMinn’s efforts to stop teacher accountability, parents haven’t seen improving results.

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According to this article, the Alliance for a Better Minnesota, aka ABM, is a “liberal leaning group.” To be fair to the article, though, they took some pretty substantive swipes at ABM’s attacks against Jeff Johnson:

“Tea Party Republican Jeff Johnson voted to cut education, so he could give millions in tax breaks to big corporations,” the ad claims.

Contrary to what the ad claims, Johnson voted for an increase in K–12 education when he served in the Minnesota House, not a cut, according to final appropriations.

“I voted to increase education funding,” Johnson said. “We do this in government all the time when the increase isn’t as big as they wanted they say it was a cut.”

Here’s part of what Alisa Von Hagel, a professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin Superior, said about ABM’s ad:

The attack ad in its entirety is not grossly misleading or horribly inaccurate when compared to other television advertisements voters are being inundated with this election cycle.

That isn’t the same as saying it’s a true ad. It doesn’t even reach the point of being misleading. It’s like saying ‘Yeah, it’s dishonest but it isn’t as worthless as some of the vile crap that’s out there.’

Here’s something else that Dr. Von Hagel said about ABM’s ad:

“The most egregious part of the ad is this connection between education cuts and tax breaks for corporations which is not necessarily a claim there is any factual basis to make,” Von Hagel said.

Here’s the filthy part of the ad. Jeff Johnson didn’t cut K-12 spending. He voted to increase K-12 spending. He just didn’t increase K-12 spending as much as Education Minnesota wanted.

Gov. Dayton and the DFL tripped over themselves to increase spending on K-12 to the level that Education Minnesota asked for. That isn’t responsible government. That’s government of, by and for the special interests that fund DFL campaigns.

Bill Glahn is onto something about the ad, too (H/T: Mitch Berg):

Apparently the pejorative “Tea Party Republican” must test particularly well with low information voters. Or, perhaps its use in the ad is a sign the Democrats are concerned about turning out their base in an off-year election.

Ms. Livermore makes the dubious claim that Johnson “cut education by over $500 million” back in 2003, and then gave that money to corporations in 2005. Keep in mind that a similar ABM ad was judged “Misleading” by Minnesota Public Radio (of all places) for making those exact same claims. [The bill Johnson voted for in 2003 actually increased (rather than cut) public school spending.]

No, the real lie in the ad comes from the “appeal to authority” of having an ordinary “classroom teacher” attack Johnson’s education policy. According to her LinkedIn profile, Ms. Livermore served on the governing board of the teachers’ union Education Minnesota from 2004 to 2007. [By the way, she spells the word “education” incorrectly on her profile.]

Bill should cut Ms. Livermore some slack on the spelling. Chances are she attended a public school so what can you expect?

The point of the ad is to depict Ms. Livermore as just a concerned teacher. She definitely doesn’t fit that description after serving on Education Minnesota’s governing board.

This is just another bit of proof that ABM, which is the DFL’s messaging center, isn’t interested in informing voters. Their mission is to win voters over with whatever means are available. If that means lying or intentionally misleading, then that’s what ABM will do.

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This video is just another example of how Education Minnesota and the Alliance for a Better Minnesota can’t resist lying about Republicans:

The “cutting education to pay for tax breaks for big corporations” storyline was used against Tom Emmer in 2010. Back then, KTSP and FactCheck.org rated that ad as false. That’s because they’re polite. I’ll just state that they’re lying. It’s been proven false. Further, they knew it was false when they said it. That makes it a lie.

Like the DFL, ABM doesn’t have a positive agenda. Admittedly, they’ve lied about Minnesota’s economy, saying that Minnesota “is working again.” They said that despite the fact that Minnesota’s job creation has ground to a screeching halt, creating a pathetic 2,900 jobs this year. That’s right. This year, not this month. That isn’t a typo.

I wrote here that Gov. Dayton admitted that the MNsure rollout was a disaster, though he insists that it’s improving with each day. I wrote this article to highlight the fact that MNsure will be a major headache for years to come. That isn’t just my opinion. That’s the conclusion DeLoitte reached in their investigation.

Yes, Jeff Johnson voted for some unpopular things. He didn’t vote for “tax breaks for big corporations,” though. That’s part of ABM’s web of lies. If they were forced to tell the truth, 90% of their content for their ads would disappear. The best way to determine if ABM is lying is to determine if their lips are moving. If their spinmeister’s lips are moving, then it’s almost a certainty that they’re lying.

This is how bad MNsure still is:

During the assessment, 47 of the 73 sub-functions addressed were found either to be absent or not functioning as expected.

Two-thirds of the vital sub-functions either don’t exist or don’t work.

Gov. Dayton and the DFL can’t stand up to ABM, either. That’s because the DFL is funded by the same special interests that fund ABM. Specifically, the DFL is funded by Alida Messinger and the public employee unions. That’s who funds ABM, too.

That means Gov. Dayton and the DFL can’t call ABM out even if they wanted to. Then again, Gov. Dayton and the DFL don’t want to because the only thing they care about is winning at all costs.

If that means breaking the law, the DFL is fine with that. In fact, the DFL has broken the law, after which Ken Martin, the chair of the DFL, insisted that breaking the law was “a distraction“:

DFL lawmakers disagreed with the board’s ruling said that they are glad to put the matter to rest.

“Ultimately, it is best to set this distraction aside and allow our members to focus on governing,” DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin said.

It’s worth noting that Ken Martin was an integral part of ABM before Alida Messinger announced that she’d picked him as the next DFL chairman after she pushed Brian Melendez out the door.

The best way to deal with ABM is to vote for the party with a pro-growth, positive agenda. Voting for the people ABM targets won’t shut ABM up. It’ll just tell them that ABM is wrong for Minnesota.

If you want government of, by and for the special interests that raise your taxes and spend money foolishly, vote for ABM-approved candidates. If you prefer a prosperous Minnesota that works for families and the small businesses found on Main Street, then vote against ABM-approved candidates.

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This LTE in the St. Cloud Times shows the growing discontent with Common Core from across the political spectrum:

Sandra Stotsky was a member of Common Core’s Validation Committee from 2009-10. She is professor emerita at the University of Arkansas. She wrote that Common Core’s K-12 standards, instead of emerging from a state-led process in which experts and educators were well represented, were written by people who did not represent the relevant stakeholders and included no English teachers.

Common Core is supported by lots of supposedly well-meaning politicians. Chief among those politicians is Jeb Bush, a potential Republican presidential candidate in 2016. The Gates Foundation is the chief funder of CCSS.

That’s one of the problems with CCSS.

“Because Common Core is run by private corporations and foundations, there can be no Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) filings or ‘sunshine laws’ to find out who got to choose the people who actually wrote the standards. It’s completely non-transparent and rather shady.”

That’s just the tip of a rather disgusting iceberg. A significant part of CCSS, aka Common Core State Standards, is data collection on families. I spoke recently with a friend who has a 3-year-old. The school district sent her a questionnaire asking things like whether there were guns in the house, whether they planned on home-schooling their child and other questions totally unrelated to the education of her child.

I wrote this post last fall to alert people to the threat CCSS poses. Here’s part of what I included in my post:

What did this Work Group look like? Focusing only on ELA, the make-up of the Work Group was quite astonishing: It included no English professors or high-school English teachers. How could legitimate ELA standards be created without the very two groups of educators who know the most about what students should and could be learning in secondary English classes? CCSSI also released the names of individuals in a larger “Feedback Group.” This group included one English professor and one high-school English teacher. But it was made clear that these people would have only an advisory role – final decisions would be made by the English-teacher-bereft Work Group.

The woman that wrote that paragraph is Dr. Stotsky, the woman quoted in the Times LTE. The fact that the working group putting together the standards for English language arts didn’t include any English professors or high school English teachers should automatically disqualify them as a serious working group. They certainly shouldn’t be considered an authority on school standards on any subject.

The American Federation of Teachers is calling for a “moratorium on using Common Core test scores to determine whether students deserve to advance to the next grade — or teachers deserve to keep their jobs,” according to Politico.

When conservatives and progressives agree that something is bad and they can list their substantive objections as to why they think it’s bad, that’s proof CCSS should be totally scrapped.

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This AP article lists early the type of messaging we’ll hear from Gov. Dayton and the DFL:

For Democrats, back-to-school week brings a chance to brag about the launch of statewide all-day kindergarten where parents aren’t hit with fees or school districts don’t have to absorb costs of the extra classroom time. Over the next month, thousands of homeowners, renters and farmers will receive property tax refund checks from the state because of expanded eligibility and new money the Democratic-led Legislature and Gov. Mark Dayton designated for those programs.

That’s the glass-half-full version. Unfortunately, it omits some important details.

One of those details is how they paid for ‘free’ all-day kindergarten and the property tax refunds. Gov. Dayton and the DFL legislature paid for them by raising taxes on small business owners. Those entrepreneurs, in turn, paid for those taxes by laying people off, then hiring part-time employees who make half what the full-time employees made. That’s before factoring in the part-time employees’ loss of benefits.

The proof is already appearing. After the Dayton-DFL tax increases kicked in, job creation dropped dramatically. That drop wasn’t coincidental. Thus far this year, Minnesota’s economy created a pathetic 2,900 jobs. I’ll be perfectly clear. Minnesota’s economy isn’t creating 2,900 jobs each month. This year, it’s created 2,900 jobs.

In July, 4,200 jobs disappeared from Minnesota’s economy. Another 3,600 jobs were trimmed from June’s jobs report. That’s before talking about Minnesota’s revenues falling dramatically short of what’s needed to balance Minnesota’s budget. July’s revenues fell $69,000,000 short of what’s needed to balance the budget.

That means the Dayton-DFL deficit is speeding its way in our direction. It isn’t a matter of if we’ll have a deficit in 2015. It’s a matter of how big the Dayton-DFL deficit will be and how we’ll fix the Dayton-DFL disaster.

Hopefully, we’ll start by firing the incompetents who created this mess. That starts with terminating Gov. Dayton and demoting Speaker Thissen to Minority Leader Thissen. Next, it means spending less by spending money only on the things we need, not the things that the DFL’s special interest puppeteers push.

House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, said the fact five of the past six monthly revenue reports have come in below the mark spells trouble. “They’ve taken a recovery and turned it into a flat-line at best,” Daudt said of Democrats. “It’s not me looking for a storm cloud. It’s an absolute fact and the realities of the policies they’ve put in place not working.”

Gov. Dayton and the DFL are bragging about the great Minnesota economy. Great economies, however, produce revenues that create surpluses, not deficits. The Dayton-DFL deficit is proof that Minnesota’s economy isn’t working.

Republicans aren’t happy with the state of Minnesota’s economy. They’re upset that the Dayton-DFL economy is failing hard-working Minnesotans. Republicans want to change directions so Minnesota’s economy can grow. That starts with getting PolyMet a reality. The jolt of revenues that will produce will balance Minnesota’s budget while lifting thousands of Minnesotans out of unemployment, poverty or both.

Gov. Dayton and the DFL have highlighted Minnesota’s relatively low unemployment rate. I explained in this post why the unemployment rate doesn’t prove the economy’s strength:

For the last 3+ years, the unemployment rate has been next-to-worthless as a benchmark of economic vitality. That’s because millions of people (literally) nationwide have quit looking for work, thereby artificially lowering the nation’s unemployment rate.

Another reason why the unemployment rate has become unreliable in terms of how strong the economy is is the number of people who’ve had their hours cut thanks to Obamacare. These are known as 29ers.

A person who is working a part-time low-paying job looks the same on the monthly jobs report as the employee who worked a high-paying full-time job a year ago. And there are lots of people working 2 part-time jobs who were making lots of money at their full-time jobs.

The Dayton-DFL deficit is speeding our direction. The Dayton-DFL jobs bust is already manifesting itself. Creating 2,900 jobs in 7 months is pathetic.

The question is whether voters will appreciate a handful of freebies more than they hate Minnesota’s struggling economy.

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Yestedray, I wrote this post to highlight Gov. Dayton’s juvenile jab at North Dakota. Here’s what he said that caught my attention:

“Every night I dream before I go to sleep of mobilizing the National Guard and annexing North Dakota.” He then quickly followed that statement by saying he’d just been interested in annexing the part of the state will oil, “They can have the rest of it.”

Apparently, North Dakotans don’t care about Gov. Dayton’s juvenile statement. This Gallup poll is telling. This graphic is exceptionally telling:

Gov. Dayton and the DFL should study this graphic before making another childish statement:

North Dakotans are not just satisfied with their economy, however. Across the 50 states, North Dakotans are the most likely to rate their K-12 education as excellent or good, to agree that their schools prepare students to get a good job, and to be satisfied with the education system or schools overall.

I can hear Gov. Dayton, the DFL and the Alliance for a Better Minnesota screaming that this can’t be. In Gov. Dayton’s and the DFL’s minds, Minnesota is the education state in the Upper Midwest.

What’s most telling, though, is that Dakotans think their air quality is great. The percentage of people that said they were satisfied with their air quality was the highest in the nation. The percentage of people who said that they were satisfied with their water quality was above average nationally.

Gov. Dayton and the metrocentric DFL should take a look at this:

“Oil is a very thick frosting on a very nicely baked cake,” Peterson says. Oil had been found in North Dakota before, but Dalrymple, Peterson, and Al Anderson, North Dakota state commerce commissioner, agree that the volume and velocity of the boom was unexpected. Dalrymple says there were 200,000 barrels a day in 2009, compared with 1 million barrels a day now.

“The rapid evolution of the oil industry was not foreseen,” says Anderson. “We had seen oil booms come and go but now the technology has changed,” Peterson says. “We didn’t realize how much oil was in the ground. We found ways to extract oil that we could never expect.”

In addition to oil, success in agriculture, manufacturing, and tourism are contributing factors to North Dakota’s having the lowest unemployment in the U.S. for the past four years. The state has added 116,000 jobs since 2000, a job-growth increase of 35.6%. Net migration in the state is up 12.7% since 2000. This onrush of new jobs and workers has strained the housing market. North Dakota residents are fully aware of this, as 61% say they are satisfied with the availability of affordable housing in their state, one of the lowest in the nation.

Gov. Dayton and the DFL insist that North Dakota’s economic boom is tied to the Bakken boom. There’s no denying that it’s a huge factor in North Dakota’s economic success. Still, there’s no denying the fact that manufacturing and agriculture play a big role in North Dakota’s economic boom time.

At a time when Gov. Dayton and the DFL are trying to make Minnesota’s economy more metrocentric, they should be looking at the success our neighbors to the west are experiencing.

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After reading this article on school choice, it’s time to highlight the leaders of this generation’s civil rights movement:

“Many of the athletes,” said Kevin P. Chavous, executive counsel of the American Federation for Children, “come from humble backgrounds. They know what happened to many of their classmates who couldn’t make it out of failing schools. And they know that athletic skills good enough to play in the NBA and NFL shouldn’t be the only way out of poverty for these kids, as is too often the case.”

The former District councilman added, “That’s why they’re supporting school choice.”

Their new video, “Educational Choice Now,” features Sanders, Olympic gold medal winner and former WNBA star Lisa Leslie, ESPN analyst Jalen Rose, actor Louis Gossett Jr., Fox Sports journalist Stephen A. Smith, Cosby Show actress Keshia Knight Pulliam, gospel duo “Mary Mary,” gold medal swimmer Janet Evans, skateboarder Theotis Beasley, soprano Mary Millben, boxer Laila Ali, Jamie Foxx Show star Garcelle Beauvais and former talk show hostess Kathie Lee Gifford.

“Many young people in America today face a harsh reality. Their fate in life is determined by their ZIP code. For an overwhelming number of African Americans and other minorities, having the wrong ZIP code keeps you from a high school diploma, a college degree, and a future that offers you opportunities that match your talents,” Rose wrote in today’s Orange County Register.

“An athletic scholarship shouldn’t be a child’s best opportunity to receive an education. That’s not right and it’s not fair. Neither luck nor the ability to dribble a basketball should be the only tickets out of an underperforming school. It is well past time that our elected officials enact common sense reform to save a generation of children from a fate they do not deserve,” added Rose, a former player for the Chicago Bulls.

This is something Republicans should tout in their outreach to minority communities. Tommy Thompson was the first governor to implement school choice in his state, with John Engler following close behind. Meanwhile, David Obey is just one of the Democrats who hate school choice:

Last week, the Democrat-controlled House passed a spending bill that spells the end, after the 2009-10 school year, of the federally funded program that enables poor students to attend private schools with scholarships of up to $7,500. A statement signed by Mr. Obey as Appropriations Committee chairman that accompanied the $410 billion spending package directs D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee to “promptly take steps to minimize potential disruption and ensure smooth transition” for students forced back into the public schools.

It’s time for these inner city families to tell Democrats they either start supporting school choice or these minorities will start supporting the people who support school choice.

This isn’t a political issue to these families. It’s a matter of life and death. I applaud Deion Sanders, Vivica Fox, Jalen Rose and all the others who support the school choice movement. If these celebrities are willing to work with GOP legislators at the state level, I’m positive they’ll receive an enthusiastic reception.

It’s important, though, for Republicans to highlight the fact that this isn’t about politics. They need to tell minority communities that it’s a moral issue with them, too. It’s about this old cliche: People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.

Doing the right thing for the right reasons is always the smart thing to do. These celebrities have earned that praise.

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Greg Riegstad’s LTE is short because he accepted the task of explaining why Zach Dorholt deserves re-election:

Zach Dorholt deserves re-election to the Minnesota House of Representatives.

After years of gridlock in our state government, this last session made real progress. The Legislature made a real commitment to education, reduced taxes for the middle class, and turned the budget deficit to a surplus.

The second paragraph is utterly laughable. First, the DFL spent more money on education. That isn’t the same as saying that they “made a real commitment to education.” Dorholt was the vice-chair of the Higher Ed Committee. As vice-chair of the committee, Dorholt didn’t pay attention to the corruption within MnSCU. Clarence Hightower, then-chairman of the MnSCU Board of Trustees, negotiated a contract renewal with MnSCU Chancellor Steve Rosenstone.

What’s stunning is that the House Higher Ed Committee did’t even know that it’d been negotiated. The other thing that’s stunnning is that Hightower negotiated the contract extension before giving Rosenstone a performance review.

During the 2014 ‘Unsession’, the House Higher Ed Committee met 4 times, twice to hear bonding presentations, once to hear about a supplemental appropriation and another time to move a bill onto the General Register. Noticeably missing are any oversight hearings.

Thanks to Mssrs. Pelowski and Dorholt, $2,000,000 was quietly spent on a consulting firm that prefered to “work in the background.” Saying that oversight wasn’t a priority for Mssrs. Pelowski and Dorholt is understatement.

Second, the DFL promised property tax relief. That won’t happen because school districts are raising property taxes. A tiny percentage of people will see the property tax relief that the DFL promised.

Third, saying that they started with a deficit and turned it into a surplus isn’t an accomplishment. Thanks to the fiscal restraint of the GOP legislature, the deficit was $624,000,000. When the DFL controlled the legislature from 2007-2010, the deficits were more than $5,000,000,000.

Fourth, what the DFL isn’t telling people is that they spent one-time money on ongoing expenses. The surplus that they’re bragging about doesn’t exist.

Let’s also remind people of some other things that this “working group” accomplished. They spent $90,000,000 on a plush office building that’ll be used 4 months a year. They spent it on that instead of using that money to fix Minnesota’s roads and bridges. That money could’ve fixed ton of roads. Instead, Mr. Dorholt chose to spend it on his friends in the Senate.

Mr. Dorholt also voted to raise taxes and fees by $2,500,000,000. Then he voted to reduce that tax increase by $300,000,000, which he’s now calling a tax cut. The taxes he raised has sent companies scurrying from Minnesota.

We can’t afford more of Zach Dorholt’s accomplishments. That’s why he needs to be replaced by Jim Knoblach.

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Tim Pugmire’s article on the Senate Office Building highlights the DFL’s misplaced priorities and the DFL’s campaign year spin:

A recent KSTP poll found the public disapproval of the building at 68 percent. The four Republicans trying to unseat Dayton are making it a campaign issue, and so are their allies. The group Americans for Prosperity highlighted the issue in a new radio ad slamming Dayton.

“Let’s not forget that he spent $90 million for a brand new office building for state Senators…and new offices for himself too,” an announcer says in the ad. “So, Mark Dayton is building places for politicians while we struggle to make ends meet.”

Here’s House Majority Leader Erin Murphy’s spin on the DFL’s disaster:

“It’s not coming up for Minnesotans. It’s not coming up as I’m talking to our members, and they’re out door knocking already,” said Murphy, DFL-St. Paul. “So, I understand that the Republicans think it’s an issue that they can use to drive division, and they will spend their time talking about that. “We’re going to spend our time talking about the future of Minnesota.”

That’s what’s known as whistling past the graveyard. Rep. Murphy wishes this wasn’t an issue. Unfortunately for her and the DFL, wishing won’t make it so. It’s an issue because it’s another instance where the legislature ignored the will of the people.

The DFL can spin this all it wants. The numbers tell the tale. People understand that it’s wrong to spend $90,000,000 on a building that’ll be used 3-5 months a year.

This issue ties into another issue that’ll hurt the DFL, which is that they increased spending by $6,000,000,000 this biennium over the 2012-13 biennium. It’s right for Minnesotans to ask what they got for that spending. The answer is simple.

They didn’t get much. There’s still a mega-sized achievement gap in K-12 education. Incompetence is the rule, not the exception, in the MnSCU system. Iconic companies are leaving Minnesota. MNsure is still a mess. MNsure didn’t work when it launched. What’s worse is that it won’t be fixed this fall, either.

In short, the DFL spent money foolishly and in record amounts. What’s worse is that the DFL specialized in growing incompetence, not prosperity. As a result, Minnesotans paid higher taxes without getting a benefit.

As such, the Senate Office Building is the perfect symbol of what happens when the DFL controls the levers of the state government.

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