Archive for the ‘Taxes’ Category

TEA Party Alliance president Jack Rogers is upset with House Republicans for not delivering on his demands for tax cuts:

“My heart is heavy with grief from the actions taken by the MN House Majority and some of the MN GOP Senators,” wrote Minnesota Tea Party Alliance president Jack Rogers on his Facebook page.

“Unfortunately, every house rep let us down in the final 48 hours,” commented Jake Duesenberg, the Tea Party’s executive director. “No tax cuts at all. Huge spending increases in public education and socialized health care.”

That’s disappointing coming from a group that’s supposed to know the Constitution. To expect tax cuts with a DFL majority in the Senate and a DFL governor is like expecting to buy winning lottery tickets each month. The odds are the same. Republicans passed tax cuts in the House. They were DOA when they arrived in the Senate. That’s political reality.

It’s also political reality that Republicans weren’t going to win many battles when controlling one half of one of the two political branches. If Rogers and Duesenberg want some of these accomplishments, then they should work tirelessly to elect more Republican legislators and a Republican governor. Without that, Republicans can’t enact their reform agenda.

While I’m disappointed with Mssrs. Rogers and Duesenberg, I’m not surprised that Paul Thissen and Ken Martin still won’t tell the truth. Check out Ken Martin’s whopper:

Said DFL Party Chair Ken Martin: “Republicans refused to compromise and are more interested in providing tax giveaways to corporations than investing in education.”

What is it that causes DFL politicians to reflexively lie? Does Alida Messenger implant a chip in these politicians’ brains that forces them to lie profusely? Martin saying that “Republicans refused to compromise” is disgusting dishonesty. It’s quickly disproven. Speaker Daudt and Sen. Bakk reached a budget agreement a week ago today. Of course, they kicked Gov. Dayton out of the room to finish the deal but they got it done.

Then there’s Paul Thissen. Here’s what Thissen said:

“House Republicans failed to finish the job,” DFL Minority Leader Paul Thissen said Wednesday. “They refused to compromise with Gov. Dayton. They wanted to keep this money so they can give corporate tax cuts.”

There’s those non-existent corporate tax cuts again. It’s stunning how frequently the DFL lies about this. Last weekend, I contacted Greg Davids, the chair of the House Taxes Committee, about the House Tax Bill. Here’s what he told me:

Eighty percent goes to individuals. Tax relief is for the middle class…. My tax bill is tax relief for the poor and middle class.”

It’s disappointing when people I agree with don’t acknowledge political reality.

What’s worse is when an entire political party proves itself incapable of telling the truth.

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ABM is launching another ad campaign, this time to push Gov. Dayton’s universal pre-K initiative across the finish line. Predictably, ABM’s latest campaign is filled with dishonesty:

“Minnesota Republicans — especially in the House — need to be held accountable for putting corporations ahead of working families’ priorities,” says Alliance for a Better Minnesota Executive Director Joe Davis. “The GOP repeatedly pushed for special treatment for big business, but shortchanged our schools.”

Here’s how Catharine Richert dropped the hammer on ABM’s BS:

Of course, this being politics, the story the Alliance for a Better Minnesota is trying to tell in its ads is more complicated than that. House Republicans and Senate Democrats agreed to put $400 million more into K-12 education. Dayton wants $150 million more than that to fund pre-kindergarten in public schools, and says he will veto the bill as a result.

TRANSLATION: ABM omitted the part about Republicans and Democrats, specifically, Kurt Daudt and Tom Bakk, agreed to this budget last Friday. ABM’s ad campaign doesn’t mention that the DFL Senate voted down Gov. Dayton’s proposal 2 weeks ago. I’ve written repeatedly about Dayton’s unwillingness to accept a bipartisan rejection.

Education experts like Art Rolnick, a former member of the Federal Reserve of Minneapolis, have criticized Gov. Dayton’s plan:

Rolnick, now a policy fellow at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, has made researching early childhood education a big part of his life’s work. He argues that the earlier kids start a good education, the better off they will be in life. But he doesn’t back the governor’s universal preschool plan for 4-year-olds.

“It’s not cost effective,” Rolnick said. “There’s a much better way of doing this.” Rolnick prefers an existing scholarship program that pays for needy children to attend Head Start, a child care facility or a public school program that meets quality standards. He said Dayton’s plan is misguided because it would subsidize early education for all kids rather than target low-income children who need early education the most and are the least likely to have access to it.

Gov. Dayton’s had the entire session to build support for his plan. That clearly hasn’t happened. This article highlights why Gov. Dayton’s proposal likely won’t pass:

Some school districts indicated to the House Education Finance Committee that they don’t have space to add “basically an entire new grade in our public school system,” its chair, Rep. Jenifer Loon, an Eden Prairie Republican, told us.

There’s concern about facilities, equipment and transportation, she said. “There may be money the governor is proposing per pupil, but there’s no money there to help districts if they have to build classrooms,” for example. “That’s a huge cost that would largely fall on local property taxpayers.”

That’s a gigantic property tax increase waiting to happen. Then there’s this:

“The high return to the public is in investing in our most at-risk children,” Rolnick said. In the study that made him a national leader in the fields of child development and social policy, “we got an 18 percent inflation-adjusted return when you invest in our most at-risk kids.”

Such findings, it’s been suggested, run counter to committing a broad stream of resources to serve all children.

Plus, says Rolnick, we now have evidence from St. Paul’s Promise Neighborhood that a key approach — an emphasis on preschool scholarships — is closing the achievement gap between white students and their peers of color.

This is documented, indisputable proof of what works. Dr. Rolnick wants to solve a problem. Gov. Dayton wants to pay off a political ally. I’ll pick solutions to difficult problems over paying off political allies with terrible policies every time.

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At the end of each legislative session, each chamber’s leaders issue statements on what did or didn’t get accomplished. Predictably, there’s quite a difference of opinion. Check Rep. Thissen’s statement out:

House DFL Leader Paul Thissen released the following statement:

“I would grade this session an ‘F.’ House Republicans failed to pass a transportation bill when this was supposed to be the transportation session. They failed to freeze tuition for Minnesota’s students despite our $2 billion budget surplus. They failed Greater Minnesota, ignoring broadband, oil train safety, and local property tax relief. They failed to get their job done on time, chaotically passing a jobs bill with no public input or debate. And they refused to negotiate with Governor Dayton, forcing a special session over their insistence on underfunding Minnesota’s earliest learners.

What makes this session’s failures so disappointing is the golden opportunity that Republicans have wasted- all to protect corporate special interests. With a growing economy and $2 billion surplus, we had the opportunity this session to provide greater economic security to hardworking families, fix our state’s roads and bridges, make college more affordable for students, and take needed strides to ensure all of Minnesota’s earliest learners have the chance to get ahead.

We should have done much better for hardworking Minnesotans, but Republican failed to deliver results.”

Compare that with Sen. Bakk’s statement:

Saint Paul, Minn.—Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk (DFL-Cook) released the following statement regarding the end of the 2015 legislative session.

“Tonight the legislature passed the final components of a two-year budget to keep Minnesota moving forward. Protecting MinnesotaCare from elimination, $138 million for nursing homes, and important new investments in education were significant accomplishments for the DFL Senate.

The last five months, we have seen what divided government looks like. Many bills this session passed the Senate with strong bipartisan support. However, the challenge presented by divided government immobilized many promising, critical initiatives.

I, and many Minnesotans, am particularly disappointed we were unable pass a comprehensive transportation bill this session. I will work tirelessly to pass a comprehensive transportation bill with stable funding during the 2016 legislative session. I will also work to dedicate portions of the projected budget surplus to investment in education and property tax relief for all Minnesotans,” Bakk said.

Last Friday night on Almanac, Sen. Bakk’s positive tone spoke volumes about how he felt about the budget he’d just negotiated with Speaker Daudt. He said “We didn’t get everything we wanted but we got everything we need to keep Minnesota moving forward.”

Thissen’s statement sounds like the type of political statement that an out-of-touch Twin Cities Metrocrat would write, which is what it is.

Expanded broadband isn’t a high priority for Greater Minnesota. Fixing Greater Minnesota’s pothole-filed roads are their highest priority, followed by building the Sandpiper Pipeline project to free up railcar space. Greater Minnesota understands that oil train safety, as defined by the DFL, isn’t the solution. Building pipelines is the solution, plus it kills 2 birds with one stone. First, pipelines are the safest way to get oil from Point A to Point B. Second, pipelines free up rail space for agricultural products.

Metrocrats like Thissen, though, don’t approve of that because the environmental activist wing of the DFL don’t approve of fossil fuels. The DFL’s record proves that they do exactly what their special interest masters tell them to do.

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Zach Dorholt’s dim-witted diatribe in the St. Cloud Times sounds more like a campaign speech than an op-ed. The poisonous tone to the op-ed is found throughout, though Dorholt’s opening paragraph is profoundly dishonest:

With the 2015 session coming to a close, it is my hope that the St. Cloud community and non-metro Minnesota will not be left behind. But given the budget that was passed by the new House majority, we have reason to be concerned.

Wow. That opening paragraph is profoundly dishonest. The budget that the House and Senate are passing is based on the budget targets that Speaker Daudt and Sen. Bakk agreed to last Friday. So much for Dorholt’s diatribe about the ‘evil’ Republicans’ budget. This is a bipartisan budget that both sides agreed to. The only people that haven’t agreed to it are Gov. Dayton, Lt. Gov. Smith and DFL candidates statewide.

Based on the tone to Dorholt’s dishonest diatribe, it sounds like he’s planning on running against Jim Knoblach in 2016. There’s tons of accusations but no solutions to it, which is pretty much what his time in the legislature was like. He wasn’t part of any solutions. He just voted the way Paul Thissen told him to vote. I could teach a yellow dog to do that.

Here’s another outlandish, dishonest statement Dorholt made:

The signature item of the House tax bill is a multi-billion dollar giveaway to the owners of the largest businesses and corporations in our state — many who don’t even live here. I do not think it benefits Minnesota to layoff teachers so that we can give owners of skyscrapers a tax break.

First, I challenge Mr. Dorholt to find the section of the House Tax Bill that contains the legislative language that gives tax breaks to the millionaires and billionaires supposedly getting these tax breaks for their skyscrapers. Next, Daudt and Bakk agreed to not pass a comprehensive transportation bill or a tax bill.

It should be noted that raising the gas tax was Sen. Bakk’s highest priority this session, just like providing tax relief was Speaker Daudt’s highest priority. Neither man got what they wanted in terms of their highest priority.

Jim Knoblach has been at the heart of these negotiations. He’s helped craft the bipartisan budget agreement. By comparison, Dorholt was a legislator who a) didn’t have to compromise and b) wasn’t important enough to be part of negotiations.

This weekend, Gov. Dayton said that he’d campaign around the state before he called a special session. It looks like he’s started campaigning already:

He’s charging up his rhetoric, too:

“I’m doing what I believe is the best for Minnesota. Again, this is not about who gets wins and losses – and gets their number one priority or anything else. This is about what’s right for Minnesota. This is what’s best for people who have got to drink the water. Right now, it’s declining in quality all over the state as both the Department of Health and Pollution Control Agency have documented in the last couple weeks.

This is about four-year-olds and their parents and giving them a better chance in life. And giving kids from disadvantaged backgrounds a chance in life. That’s what I’m fighting for. I’m fighting for the kids of Minnesota. I’m fighting for the parents of Minnesota. I’m fighting for the parents of those kids. I’m fighting for the people who need to drink quality water and think they are but will be horribly shocked that they’re not. That’s what I’m fighting for.

“My wins and losses are not important to me anymore. Doing what’s right for Minnesota is what’s important to me. I’m not running again. I’m not here to win or lose political points for myself. I’m here to win for people of Minnesota.”

That’s BS. Gov. Dayton should be ashamed of himself peddling this as a policy that helps children and parents. Art Rolnick, who dedicated his life to improving early childhood learning, opposes Gov. Dayton’s bill, saying that the program should be targeted to those most at risk and delivered through scholarships. Dr. Rolnick says that the alternative to Gov. Dayton’s plan is less expensive and is more effective.

The Minnesota School Board Association (MSBA) opposes Gov. Dayton’s initiative because it’ll raise their operating costs and force them to add onto schools, which will drive up their citizens’ property taxes.

Gov. Dayton, what part of those concerns says that your initiative will improve 4-year-olds’ lives? Gov. Dayton, how will raising property taxes on parents improve their lives?

The simple truth is that Gov. Dayton’s speech is Education Minnesota-approved spin. Anyone that thinks this is about brilliant public policy is kidding themselves or they’re incredibly ill-informed. This initiative, in its current form, is payback to Education Minnesota. Period.

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Gov. Dayton continues to insist that he’ll veto a bill that doesn’t fund universal pre-K. Though he’s been the point person, the personality in front of the cameras, on this issue, Gov. Dayton has had plenty of support from Lt. Gov. Tina Smith, House Minority Leader Thissen and Education Minnesota. This Pioneer Press article puts the blame for this impasse at the legislature’s feet while exempting Gov. Dayton, Lt. Gov. Smith from recriminations:

Dayton, who claimed he was cut out of the final deal-making, said he would not sign the education bill that lawmakers planned to send him. The deal doesn’t adequately fund the state’s education needs, the governor said.

“I’ll say it again and I’ll say it again and I’ll say it again: I’m going to veto $400 million because it’s wrong for the people of Minnesota, for the parents of Minnesota, for the schoolchildren of Minnesota. It’s wrong,” Dayton said early Saturday. The Democratic-Farmer-Labor governor said the state should increase state funding for E-12 education by a minimum of $550 million, $150 million more than the Legislature is willing to spend.

The governor had significant support for his demand. Several DFL senators, nearly five dozen DFL House members and the DFL Party all said Dayton is right to push for more education funding. “I still think we should do and can do better,” said Senate Assistant Majority Leader Katie Sieben, DFL-Newport.

FYI- This officially verifies that the DFL has declared war on Sen. Bakk and outstate Democrats. This is now officially the Metro DFL, with Tina Smith and Paul Thissen leading this new party.

I wrote this post to highlight what’s wrong with the Dayton/Tina Smith/Paul Thissen/Education Minnesota universal pre-K plan:

  1. the elimination of the school readiness program;
  2. requiring that 4-year-olds be in school longer than other students;
  3. limited facility resources;
  4. mandatory class size and staff-to-student ratios;
  5. parent participation requirements;
  6. requiring that early childhood teachers be paid comparable to K-12 teachers;
  7. coordinated professional development with community-based early learning providers;
  8. requiring school districts to recruit, contract and monitor early childhood programs for fiscal and program quality.

What’s wrong, Gov. Dayton, is shoving a program down school districts’ throats that requires them to dramatically increase staffing levels, build bigger schools to accommodate additional students and pay pre-K teachers virtually the same as K-12 teachers.

But the powerful Education Minnesota teachers union, which would add members if pre-K became universal, as well as many education experts say the cost is worth the result. They say it would mean better outcomes for students, particularly minorities who have lagged behind Minnesota’s white majority.

TRANSLATION: We want our cut. We’re the DFL’s GOTV operation and we demand our payoff.

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The best news from the Capitol this weekend is that transportation conference committee members have given up on reaching a grand bargain:

With a grand transportation compromise all but dead, lawmakers on Saturday moved to pass a so-called “lights-on” bill to fund the Department of Transportation next year.

Sen. Scott Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis said that unless “something incredible happens, say the clouds parting and heavens starting to sing, which I hope happens before midnight on Monday,” the best lawmakers can hope for in transportation is minor changes and spending. Just in case that miracle does occur, the conference committee the issue will stay open until late Monday waiting for an unlikely deal by senior leaderships. But in the meantime, the lights-on proposal seems likely to become law.

The proposed measure does include a collection of smaller spending items and policy proposals, including:

  1. $140 million in trunk highway bonds for rerouting Highway 53, for $12.1 million in debt service
  2. $5 million for Greater Minnesota Transit
  3. $5 million for rail grade crossing safety
  4. $12.5 million to help small cities with fewer than 5,000 residents with their roads
  5. An increase in the fine for repeat texting-while-driving offenses to $225
  6. Changing the distribution of County State Aid Highway funds such that 68 percent is based on construction needs and 32 percent on that county’s share of motor vehicles registered. The current formula is 60 percent and 40 percent respectively.

This all but officially ends consideration of the gas tax until 2017. There’s no way Sen. Bakk will bring the Dayton-DFL tax increase up in an election year. Sen. Bakk might be a Democrat but he isn’t foolish. He’ll push a tax increase if he’s got the political cover. This year’s dynamic (DFL Senate, GOP House right after a major tax increase) has people tired of tax increases. If Move MN and Brian McDaniel could’ve talked a couple Republicans into voting for a gas tax increase, Bakk would’ve gone forward with it.

The thing that’s got to have the DFL worried is that next year’s session will be the bonding and policy session. Republicans will have tons of time to push their transportation bill. It’ll get tons of headlines, too, because it’ll be the highest priority item on the agenda. With the transportation bill being the first legislation that the House will pass, they’ll be able to ask why the DFL hasn’t started debating the House transportation bill.

One of the safe members of the DFL, like Scott Dibble, will likely chief-author a bill but that won’t go far. Vulnerable DFL legislators will vote against it because they can’t afford to vote for a Dibble bill.

Once that’s dispatched, Republicans will ask why the DFL is opposed to the Republican bill. Eventually, that’ll turn into a lit piece in every vulnerable DFL senator’s district. Considering the fact that Minnesotans have made this their highest priority since 2013, they’ll be fired up to vote for people who support the Republican plan.

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Predictably, transportation lobbyists have started turning up the heat:

No one likes paying taxes and people get understandably nervous when they hear about the possibility of their taxes going up. But the fact of the matter is that we need taxes, not just to expand but to repair and maintain existing infrastructure. Roads and bridges are the core of government’s mission, and Minnesotans expect their roads to be safe. We cannot be afraid of the tough choices to provide core services and ensure road safety.

The key is to make sure that new money is dedicated to transportation; if money dedicated to transportation now can be shifted to cover a budget deficit a few years down the road, it doesn’t fix the problem. Governor Dayton’s proposal includes new, dedicated revenue for transportation that can’t be easily shifted when times get tough.

The argument that taxes that aren’t constitutionally dedicated to fixing roads and bridges don’t fix the problem is ridiculous. First, Republicans proposed the creation of the Transportation Stability Fund. Sales taxes already are being collected on auto parts, rental cars and leased vehicles. The DFL hasn’t explained why sales taxes on vehicles shouldn’t pay for road repairs. Next, the DFL hasn’t said why we shouldn’t put the TSF on the ballot as a constitutional amendment.

The DFL has repeatedly said that someone might raid the TSF if there’s another deficit. What they’re really saying is that the DFL might raid it if there’s a deficit. Republicans won’t because they badly want the TSF to work.

Brainerd is growing, due in large part to the hard work of the people who live here. But in order to continue to grow, we need our infrastructure to grow with us. Some of that work is already underway; for the past few years, Highway 371 has been expanded across our region, and the four-lane expansion between Nisswa to Jenkins beginning in 2016 will bring added benefit to the whole Brainerd lakes area. But we need to do better to meet the current needs of our businesses and residents, and we need to do a better job of maintaining what we already have.

The DFL’s latest transportation plan failed miserably. In 2008, they passed a nickel-a-gallon gas tax, promising that it would supply sufficient funding to clear up our backlog of transportation projects for a generation.

Now the DFL is back, insisting that “we need to do a better job of maintaining what we already have”, essentially admitting that their 2008 plan failed. The DFL didn’t hesitate about lying, either:

Unfortunately, we face a significant ongoing shortfall that cannot be met with a one-time shift of funds that are being fought over by many competing interests.

That’s a lie:

Much of the magic in the math involves the inflation rate used to calculate construction costs in the Minnesota Transportation Finance Advisory Committee’s 2012 report, upon which legislators and policymakers rely.

The state plugs in an inflation factor of 5 percent, more than twice the Consumer Price index average over the past 12 years. The Federal Highway Administration inflation factor for projects averaged 1.1 percent; the American Road and Transportation Building Association averaged 3.1 percent inflation during the same period, according to the report.

In other words, the DFL-appointed MnDOT commissioner is cooking the books to make it look like they need 2-4 times as much money as they really need. MnDOT’s inflation factor is 5%. The Federal Highway Administration inflation rate is 1.1%. It’s a safe bet that MnDOT’s cooking the books.

I’ll cut straight to the chase. Nan Madden’s op-ed in the St. Cloud Times is disgustingly dishonest. Check this lie out:

Large tax cuts passed at the end of the 1990s and 2000s proved to be unsustainable, and were followed by deep cuts in higher education, affordable child care and other services.

That’s total BS. First, the “large tax cuts passed at the end of the 1990s and 2000s” weren’t unsustainable. What happened is that the US economy took a major, lengthy hit because of 9-11, then the first banking crisis. If not for that major recession, the Jesse Checks would’ve been totally sustainable. Madden’s disgust with tax cuts is based more on misinformation and misguided ideology than by facts.

Her ideology is hard left. First, Madden is the director of the Minnesota Budget Project. MBP is part of an organization called Invest in Minnesota, an organization that “was founded by the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), the Joint Religious Legislative Coalition(JRLC) and the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits (MCN).”

According to IIM’s website, “Invest in Minnesota is united around two core principles:

  1. Revenue-raising must be a significant part of the solution to resolving the state’s budget deficit.
  2. The overall package of fair revenue-raising must make the tax system fairer.

It isn’t difficult to figure out why The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits and the Minnesota Budget Project hates tax cuts of any kind. Check out MCN’s agenda page:

I’d also argue that the tax cuts were large. Here’s some details on the Jesse Checks program:

“In late summer, I get to stand here and say, the checks are in the mail.”

Ventura pushed for returning surplus money in the form of a sales tax rebate, which some Minnesotans have come to call “Jesse checks.” This year, the average check is $512 for a married couple or head of household, and $232 for a single filer. State officials say all eligible taxpayers should receive their checks by Labor Day. But Ventura cautions that this may be the last year of rebate checks, since the state has cut taxes and the economy has slowed. “We are not bringing in the money that we used to bring in prior to my administration, and in light of that, and the economy, there may not be a fourth,” says Ventura.

Nan Madden is the type of person that thinks the government and the NPOs they support should get first dibs on the money Minnesotans earn. She thinks that because she can’t envision a world where NPOs don’t get first dibs on the taxpayers’ money.

Minnesota Budget Project, like Invest in Minnesota, pushed hard to pass a major minimum wage increase that includes cost of living adjustment. They’re currently pushing for a law that would require companies to pay for sick leave for their employees. It isn’t surprising that businesses have left Minnesota.

For nearly two decades, the Minnesota Budget Project has analyzed state tax and budget choices, and called for policies that propel Minnesota toward a future where all of us have access to opportunity and economic well-being.

That’s similar to the truth but it isn’t complete. Here’s the whole truth about the Minnesota Budget Project. The Minnesota Budget Project supports economic policies that support intrusive, ever-growing government. If that means intruding on businesses’ decisions for ‘the greater good’, they’re fine with that.

They aren’t a pro-growth organization any more than the Obama administration is a pro-growth administration.

My LTE highlights the fact that Gov. Dayton and the DFL should be blamed if there’s a state government shutdown. Anyways, here’s the opening to my article:

With little time left in the Minnesota legislative regular session, there’s a pretty decent chance there will be a special session. If that happens, Gov. Mark Dayton and the DFL should get the lion’s share of the blame. Here’s why:

Dayton’s highest priority this session is universal pre-K. The DFL Senate and the Republican House agreed it shouldn’t be funded at Dayton’s level, which is $343 million. In fact, the House and Senate didn’t fund it at all.

Needless to say, my LTE was rejected by the fringe activists that make up the dominant wing of the DFL. Here’s the source for my LTE:

Dayton wants to spend $343 million for universal pre-K and scholarships. He believes it would get 47,000 young students get ready for kindergarten. But legislative leaders didn’t even include universal pre-K in their budget proposals. “The House is zero, the Senate is zero,” Dayton told reporters. “I consider that, A, unacceptable, and B, insulting.”

That’s verifiable proof that there was a bipartisan rejection of Gov. Dayton’s pre-K spending initiative. It isn’t disputable.

Next, it’s important to highlight the fact that the cost of fixing Minnesota’s roads and bridges overshoots the price tag:

“When we’re talking about significant investments of taxpayer dollars, I think it’s always worth asking how did we come to this number, what assumptions led to it, and are there other assumptions that could have been used to improve that number one way or another,” said Bentley Graves, director of transportation policy for the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, one of 10 business associations funding the study.

Much of the magic in the math involves the inflation rate used to calculate construction costs in the Minnesota Transportation Finance Advisory Committee’s 2012 report, upon which legislators and policymakers rely.

The state plugs in an inflation factor of 5 percent, more than twice the Consumer Price index average over the past 12 years. The Federal Highway Administration inflation factor for projects averaged 1.1 percent; the American Road and Transportation Building Association averaged 3.1 percent inflation during the same period, according to the report.

Thanks to this report, we know that we don’t need to raise taxes by $13,000,000,000 to fix Minnesota’s bridges and fill Minnesota’s potholed roads.

If Gov. Dayton wants to shut Minnesota state government down, all he has to do is insist that we raise the gas tax and pay for universal pre-K. The DFL Senate opposes spending $343,000,000 on pre-K. 75% of Minnesotans polled by KSTP approve of the GOP transportation plan while 17% of Minnesotans reject the plan.

In other words, all Gov. Dayton has to do to shut state government down is defy the DFL Senate on pre-K and thumb his nose at three-fourths of Minnesotans on the gas tax.

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