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In the past, I’ve been pretty disgusted with the (lack of) quality displayed in the St. Cloud Times’ Our View editorials. Unfortunately for its readers, this Our View editorial is the worst Our View editorial I’ve ever read.

As is often the case, the Times’ Editorial Board couldn’t resist preaching from its moral high horse instead of doing its research. The editorial started by saying “St. Cloud, we have a problem. And it’s costing us dearly in respect, dignity and treasure. Our problem is not refugees. It’s not even an image problem, although we most certainly have one of those. If you don’t think so, Google ‘St. Cloud’ and click on the first New York Times article at the top.

Our real problem is that there are too many cowards in our midst. Yes, we said it: Cowards. Cowards who blanch at the idea of Somalis “just walking around” on a public trail. Cowards who cost local businesses thousands of dollars by overreacting to a mismarked security vehicle out of fear of Sharia law — which isn’t coming for us. It just isn’t, and only cowards believe it is.”

It continues:

Corporate America is not, by and large, interested in associating itself with hate of any kind. The cowardly among us keep perpetuating a local brand that makes it less likely we will be in the running for the next tech outpost or national call center. Convention schedulers are also keenly aware that attendees will look for details about our city and find our darkest side. Already this newspaper has been reached out to by travelers who planned to come to St. Cloud and changed their plans after the latest “branding effort.”

The smartest young people, the ones we need to attract to our companies, will be less likely to move here. Doubt it? Ask your kids if they’d Google a city before considering a job offer there. Our own young people, many raised with classmates and teammates and friends in a rainbow of colors, will think harder than they should have to about where they want to make a life.

Electrolux didn’t leave for South Carolina because of hate. It left because of Minnesota’s terrible tax and regulation system. It also left Minnesota for a right-to-work state. Why didn’t the Times mention that?

As for “the next tech outpost or national call center”, those companies don’t consider Minnesota because our taxes, transportation systems and regulations make us totally uncompetitive with the rest of the nation and the rest of the world. This isn’t mentioned by the DFL because their policies have hurt Minnesota. To admit this failure would be admitting that the DFL is a failure.

Listening to the Times is like listening to Dave Kleis and the Chamber of Commerce. In their world, everything’s just fine. In the real world, St. Cloud has been slipping for 10 years. This isn’t entirely St. Cloud’s fault. DFL state government needs to share in the blame by thinking it can tax the daylights out of everyone without consequence. That’s insanity.

This is why the Times isn’t trusted. Their opinions are insanity personified.

Joe Biden’s frontrunner status in the Democrats’ nominating process just got significantly shakier. The subject of that article is why Biden has earned the title of “1% Joe.”

At a fancy fundraiser Tuesday night, Biden is quoted as saying “Remember, I got in trouble with some of the people on my team, on the Democratic side, because I said, you know, what I’ve found is rich people are just as patriotic as poor people. Not a joke. I mean, we may not want to demonize anybody who’s made money” Biden told about 100 well-dressed donors at the Carlyle Hotel on New York’s Upper East Side, where the hors d’oeuvres included lobster, chicken satay and crudites.”

Later, Biden said this:

“Truth of the matter is, you all know, you all know in your gut what has to be done. “We can disagree in the margins. But the truth of the matter is, it’s all within our wheelhouse and nobody has to be punished. No one’s standard of living would change. Nothing would fundamentally change.

From a policy standpoint, this isn’t a major problem in a general election. In a Democrat primary, it’s like lighting a short fuse on a big stick of dynamite. Nothing good will come of it. I can’t picture Bernie Sanders not bringing this up at next week’s debate. Further, I can’t picture Biden not attempting to explain why this is much ado about nothing. Good luck with that, Joe, especially in light of his Hyde Amendment fiasco.

Think that this fundraiser will be accepted by progressive activists? Think again:

This will go over as well on the left as cockroaches and ants invading a picnic. Biden won’t drop 20 points by the end of July but he’s about to experience a major correction in his polling.

Thus far, Vice President Biden has hidden his gaffes fairly well, with the Hyde Amendment fiasco being the biggest exception. This statement returns the spotlight to Biden’s gaffes. The worst gaffes are the ones that reinforce an image that’s already well-earned. This isn’t going away because Vice President Biden is a certifiable gaffe machine.

The truth is that Joe Biden is almost as terrible of a candidate as Hillary was. This field of Democrat presidential candidates isn’t that impressive. Still, another of these gaffes and Biden will be wondering how he’ll stop Amy Klobuchar’s momentum.

This article highlights how Dan Wolgamott, Tama Theis and Jerry Relph are totally owned by Theresa Bohnen and the St. Cloud Chamber of Commerce. They should be ashamed of themselves.

Last Friday, Wolgamott insisted on this funding, saying that it would create jobs. (That’s what the DFL always says about pork-barrel projects. It’s always hogwash.)

Rep. Nick Zerwas, who represents Big Lake, told the legislature that the average ticket gets subsidized $54. That’s an average subsidy of $14,000 per year per ticket. That’s money that’s wasted that could’ve been used to lower taxes and prevent foolish spending. Any person voting for this foolishness should be primaried and run out of politics.

Further, getting the Chamber’s endorsement should be seen as a negative. They’re moderates at best. They’re also crony capitalists. I can’t remember the last time they fought for pro-growth capitalist policies.

This should frighten people:

Wolgamott says he will be enthusiastically voting for the transportation budget, and will continue to be a tireless advocate to bring Northstar to St. Cloud. Other things included in the transportation bill include an additional $275 million over the current budget for statewide road construction, delivery, and maintenance.

How could this be? Gov. Walz didn’t get his outrageous gas tax increase. We were told that we needed that tax increase to fix roads and bridges. St. Cloud voters better remember that Rep. Wolgamott voted for all of Gov. Walz’s and the DFL’s tax increases.

This article highlights just how out-of-touch the DFL is with voters. Frankly, it’s stunning to hear the DFL’s spin on the DFL’s disastrous session. As I said here, the DFL got smoked this session.

House Speaker Melissa Hortman said Democrats “fought until the very last minute” to include some of their top priorities in the final bills but ran out of time before Monday’s mandatory adjournment for the regular session. She cited driver’s licenses for immigrants living in the country illegally, making it easier for workplace sexual harassment victims to sue and making emergency insulin supplies more affordable.

House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler said they could raise their issues again next year, and use them against Republicans in the 2020 campaign when they hope to hold the House and retake the Senate. He cited gun control, paid family and medical leave and some education measures. “We feel like we’ve made some progress this year and we have marked out where we want to go in the future,” Winkler said.

As a Republican, I have one thing to say to the DFL — Thank you for pushing drivers licenses for illegal immigrants and gun control. Those are issues that poll extremely poorly in the outer ring suburbs, the exurbs and rural Minnesota. In this video, Speaker Hortman says that they tried laying out the DFL’s vision going forward:

According to the DFL Speaker’s own words, the DFL’s vision for Minnesota going forward is higher taxes and less accountability to the taxpayers. If that’s what they’re selling, and it is, then I’m betting that Minnesotans aren’t buying.

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.

From where I’m sitting, it’s pretty clear that the DFL got smoked in this year’s budget negotiations. First, the DFL didn’t get its 20-cent-a-gallon gas tax increase. Next, the DFL didn’t get its $12,000,000,000 overall tax increase. Third, the DFL had to settle for a cut in the HCAF, aka Sick Tax, rate. Included in this agreement is a drop from 2% to 1.8% on the Sick Tax rate. Further, the final budget will spend approximately $48,000,000,000 instead of the $51,000,000,000 that Gov. Walz and the DFL wanted.

Finally and perhaps most surprising of all, Gov. Walz and the DFL got talked into dropping the middle class tax rate from 7.05% to 6.8%. I’m betting that the DFL didn’t push that during negotiations. I’m betting that Sen. Gazelka pushed that tax cut.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz and legislative leaders announced a state budget agreement at a Capitol news conference Sunday night. “This is a budget that invests in education, health care and community prosperity in a fiscally responsible manner,” Walz said just after 6:30 p.m. Sunday, joined by Republican Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka and Democratic House Speaker Melissa Hortman at a Capitol news conference. “Today we proved that divided government can work for the betterment of the people we serve.”

Significantly, the deal does not include an increase in the state’s gas tax. The total budget will be a little over $48 billion. Other provisions of the deal include:

  1. a 2 percent increase each year of the biennium for the E-12 education funding formula
  2. an income tax rate cut in the second bracket
  3. continuation of the medical provider tax at 1.8 percent instead of 2 percent
  4. $500 million in bonding, with a large portion of that going to housing projects

I found this part of MPR’s article interesting:

The Senate on Saturday approved a Republican plan for preventing a state government shutdown if a stalemate persists, throwing down a challenge to House Democrats and Walz to either agree or take the blame for a shutdown when the current budget expires June 30. But Democrats had little to gain by taking a vote on the “lights on” proposal, given that Republicans would then have few incentives to keep negotiating.

The bill would fund government for up to two years at current projected levels assuming autopilot growth in the budget of about $1.9 billion. It just happens to be close to the Senate GOP’s original budget proposal, with none of the tax increases sought by Walz and House Democrats to put more into education, health care, transportation and other programs.

Democratic House Minority Leader Tom Bakk dismissed the gambit as throwing in the towel and accused Republicans of bargaining in bad faith.

Isn’t it interesting that, hours after Sen. Bakk “accused Republicans of bargaining in bad faith”, a budget deal was reached? I’d say that Sen. Bakk’s statement looks rather foolish at this point. Perhaps, Sen. Bakk felt stung by the fact that he wasn’t an integral part of these negotiations. Notice who isn’t part of this picture:

Whichever way you slice it, Gov. Walz and the DFL got smoked in his first negotiations.

Friday night on Almanac and today on @ Issue With Tom Hauser, Ryan Winkler insisted that we needed to raise taxes, stating emphatically that “there’s no such thing as a free lunch.” By now, that chanting point is getting rather tiresome. When we spent $100,000,000 on MNLARS (with another $85,000,000 needed to fix Gov. Dayton’s mess), we knew that there wasn’t anything like a free lunch, at least not when the DFL ran things. Republicans knew that things were exceptionally expensive with the DFL in charge.

Further, when Fox9 News reported on the millions of dollars of fraud that went undetected in CCAP funding, we knew that there isn’t anything called a free lunch in government. When we found out about the fraud committed by DFL activists and DFL legislators through Community Action of Minneapolis, we knew there wasn’t such a thing as a free lunch (unless you were well-connected to the DFL in downtown Minneapolis.)

When we heard about the $7,200,000 renovation of the Goose Creek Rest Stop on I-35 near Harris, Minnesota, we knew that the lunches weren’t just not free but downright expensive. I would’ve balked at a $2,000,000 bill for building a new rest stop. Remodeling an existing rest stop should’ve cost $500,000 or less. Further, it’s been closed for 2+ years.

Minnesotans have seen enough of DFL administrations throwing money away or ignoring corruption, not to mention the fact that there’ve been too many examples of money foolishly spent. Now the DFL, aka the party of big government, wants more money to spend foolishly? I don’t think so. They’ll have to earn our trust. We’ve seen the DFL spend too much money recklessly to be trusted automatically again. First, WCCO-TV aired this report:

Later last week, WCCO aired this follow-up report:

Why should anyone trust the DFL to handle our money efficiently? I only know what I can prove. Right now, I can’t prove that the DFL spends much time on oversight or ensuring product quality. I can prove that the DFL spent $7,200,000 on a facility so it complied with their environmentalist activist friends’ wishes.

Saying that the DFL won’t use dirty tricks to win this year’s budget negotiations is like saying that a Doberman won’t attack a man holding a steak if he’s hungry. Of course, the DFL will resort to their oversized bag of dirty tricks. Actually, this statement is kinda mild compared to some of the BS that Chairman Martin has thrown out in the past:

Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Party Chairman Ken Martin released the following statement in response to the latest budgetary stunt pulled by Minnesota Senate Republicans:

Senate Republicans just made reaching a budget agreement much harder. When Senate Republicans passed their entire wish list as an “insurance measure” in case negotiations fail, they gave themselves every incentive to sabotage those negotiations. This is a political stunt, not serious governing. “Minnesotans overwhelmingly voted for DFLers last November. It’s time for Republicans to accept that, drop their gimmicks, and work with DFLers for the good of Minnesotans everywhere.”

Minnesotans didn’t vote overwhelmingly to raise taxes by $12,000,000,000 over the next 4 years. Show me the debate or campaign appearance when Gov. Walz or DFL candidate pledged to raise taxes by $12,000,000,000. Show me the debate or campaign stop where Gov. Walz or DFL legislative candidate pledged to raise the gas tax by 70%.

The DFL won’t produce that video because it doesn’t exist. Period. Further, Gov. Walz and the DFL seem intent on raising taxes at a time when President Trump’s economic policies are producing record revenues across the nation, including Minnesota. Check out this chart:

That’s a chart that the DFL doesn’t want anyone to see. That’s because it shows how much money the DFL has to work with for crafting a new budget. Right now, this year’s budget surplus was $1,052,000,000. Since then, Minnesota took in $489,000,000 more dollars in April than was forecast. In fact, the year-to-date revenue total is $571,000,000 ahead of forecast. Who knows how much next November’s forecast will change for the positive? I’m betting it’ll change significantly.

If that’s the case, why is the DFL still insisting on raising people’s taxes by $12,000,000,000? That’s economic foolishness. But that isn’t the end to the DFL’s foolishness. According the Gov. Walz’s Department of Revenue, Minnesota’s Rainy Day Fund is the biggest it’s been in history at $2,523,000,000.

According to Kurt Daudt, “the DFL could raise spending by 7.3% this biennium without raising taxes.” Apparently, the dishonest DFL thinks that raising spending by 7% isn’t an adequate ‘investment’ in the DFL government’s special interests.

For instance, the DFL insists that Republicans’ Transportation budget will:

  1. underfund road repair
  2. underfund infrastructure in Greater Minnesota
  3. no aid for local governments
  4. no drivers licenses for all..

I didn’t realize that supplying drivers licenses for all illegal immigrants was a high priority for Minnesota taxpayers. Further, I didn’t think that a 7.3% increase in road and bridge repair equals underfunding road and bridge repairs. I didn’t know that raising spending overall by 7.3% was hurting so many people.

Frankly, I don’t think the Republicans’ budget will hurt Minnesotans. Rather, I think the DFL is that far out of touch with Minnesota. Further, I think that 2018 was the aberration, not the truth. I suspect that 2020 will show a significant re-shifting back to what we had prior to 2018.

If the DFL legislature, from both the House and Senate, want to run on raising taxes by $12,000,000,000 at a time when there’s a huge surplus and revenues streaming in well ahead of forecast, God bless them for gift-wrapping huge GOP gains in the House and Senate.

Every year, newspapers across Minnesota write articles with headlines decrying the lack of transparency in final budget negotiations. This year, the first article I’ve seen on the subject was published by the Pi-Press.

The Pi-Press’s article offers the headline “Secret budget talks at Capitol leave nearly everyone frustrated and in the dark, again” as though this is newsworthy. It isn’t. It’s as newsworthy as reporting that the sun is expected to set in the west — again. The article opens by saying “It wasn’t supposed to end this way — but they say that every year.”

Then it continues, saying “Gov. Tim Walz, Republican Senate Leader Paul Gazelka and Democratic House Speaker Melissa Hortman have offered no real details of their plans and didn’t have a budget deal Saturday afternoon. If they get one soon, politicians and staff will have to scramble to finish their work and will likely need a marathon special session to approve thousands of pages worth of budget bills.”

Part of negotiating is trying to get the upper hand on the guys you’re fighting with. That guarantees grandstanding in the early stages of the negotiations. Thanks to former Gov. Dayton, the end-of-session isn’t considered the true end-of-session. It’s usually thought of as the point when negotiations get serious. Thanks to Gov. Dayton, we can pretty much predict that the DFL will be utterly obstinate.

The DFL is still insisting on raising Minnesotans’ taxes by a total of $12,000,000,000 over the next 4 years. They’re frantically publishing tweets like this:


Here’s another frantic, dishonest tweet, too:


Then there’s this:


It’s stunning that the DFL insists that they aren’t listening to special interest organizations:


What else would you call a lengthy list of special interest organizations? The truth hurts. Deal with it. It isn’t the GOP’s fault that the DFL is the party of snow flakes.