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One thing that isn’t surprising is that DFL gubernatorial candidate Erin Murphy opposes families keeping the money they’ve earned. Recently, she said that the Republican tax cuts are “too expensive” because they take too much money away from planning for Minnesota’s future. That’s BS. It’s most likely that the Republican tax relief package cuts into the DFL’s ability to fully fund what might be called the DFL cities slush fund, aka LGA.

This article highlights the fact that “The mayors of Minneapolis and St. Paul are looking to raise taxes on property owners.” In 2013, the all-DFL legislature bragged that their tax increases and investments in education would shrink people’s property tax burdens. In 2017, it’s obvious it didn’t stabilize property taxes. It’s obvious that all it did was encourage another DFL spending spree. Further, it didn’t spur economic growth.

Rep. Murphy certainly didn’t spend time explaining what she meant when she said that the GOP tax relief package wouldn’t help in “planning the future.” Of the top-tier candidates currently in the race, Rep. Murphy would get the highest rating on ABM’s scorecard for being the most hardline progressive.

The DFL loves LGA because it’s essentially a way to pay off their political allies in the Twin Cities, Duluth and Rochester. LGA doesn’t lower property taxes. The Dayton administration admitted that the Dayton administration wouldn’t guarantee that property taxes wouldn’t go up if LGA was increased”:

One thing that stunned me was Mary Kiffmeyer’s statement that, in testimony before the House Taxes Committee, two people from the Dayton administration said that they couldn’t guarantee that property taxes wouldn’t go up if LGA is increased. Other legislators said that they’ve had small town mayors approach them, telling them that big city mayors don’t speak for them.

What these Dayton administration officials verified was that LGA is used to increase spending. It doesn’t do a thing to stabilize, much less lower, property taxes.

Rep. Murphy hasn’t hesitated in advocating for increasing LGA payments to the Twin Cities. She’s definitely an urbanite when it comes to budgetary matters. That isn’t just her governing philosophy. It appears to be her campaign’s strategy, too.

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Friday night during the Almanac Roundtable segment, DFL activist Abou Amara insisted that the legislature had frequently reformed the Met Council. When I heard that, I replayed that part of the segment (I always DVR it) to make sure I heard it correctly. Indeed I’d heard it correctly. Simply put, Amara’s contribution to that part of the roundtable was BS. The legislature has changed the Met Council’s responsibilities frequently but it hasn’t reformed it.

Let’s think of it this way. Each legislator, each city councilmember, each county commissioner and each school board member have hundreds, if not thousands of constituents. The Met Council has a single constituent — the governor. They don’t have to listen to members of the metro city councils, the Hennepin County commissioners and they especially don’t have to listen to the residents of the 7-county metro area. If they decide to ignore the city council, it doesn’t matter as long as they do what their constituent wants them to do.

Another part of Amara’s argument to keep the Met Council around is because there’s a need for long-term planning. That’s a fair point but it doesn’t prove that the Met Council is needed to accomplish that task. In fact, it’s proof that it isn’t needed. Governing bodies that aren’t accountable to people shouldn’t have any authority. The Met Council under Gov. Dayton is a patronage position.

Kathy Kersten’s column nails it in terms of the Met Council’s mentality:

“The people designing your city don’t care what you want.” That’s how forbes.com columnist Joel Kotkin sums up the mentality of today’s so-called “smart growth” urban planners. Here in the Twin Cities, we have a perfect example of what Kotkin is warning about: “Thrive MSP 2040,” the Metropolitan Council’s 30-year development framework for our seven-county metro area.

Here’s something else worth thinking about when thinking whether the Met Council needs a transformation. First, let’s start by noticing that Amara thinks we need to keep long-term planning out of the hands of “people who face election once every 2 or 4 years.” Question: where does Amara think we’d find these long-term planners? Are they ‘experts’ in their field? If they’re experts in their field, would that lead them to not listen to the residents of the seven-county metro? Would they only listen to like-minded advocates and lobbyists?

That’s what’s happening now. The Met Council isn’t listening to people in Prior Lake, Eden Prairie, Maplewood, Woodbury, Plymouth, et al. They have the authority to raise taxes. They don’t face the voters. Ever. That’s the worst possible system imaginable.

The truth is that Abou Amara isn’t telling the truth. The Met Council hasn’t undergone positive change except if you think mission creep is positive change. The Republican gubernatorial candidate that puts together a thoughtful plan that puts the people in charge of the Council will have a positive platform to tout to voters. It’s time to straighten this corrupt system out.

As with most movement conservatives, I haven’t been Mitch McConnell’s biggest fan. In this post, though, I enthusiastically applaud Sen. McConnell for essentially telling Sen. Schumer to take a hike.

In Steve Benen’s post, it says “With this in mind, the Senate Democratic minority acknowledged yesterday that another tax-reform push is poised to get underway, and they released a letter presenting some benchmarks, including a package that doesn’t cut taxes for the top 1% and doesn’t increase the deficit.”

The Washington Post article quoted in Benen’s post says “Senate Democrats issued a call Tuesday for bipartisan talks on a sweeping rewrite of the nation’s tax code amid growing pressure from the White House for Republicans to implement aggressive tax cuts before year’s end. Democrats unveiled their request in a letter calling on the GOP to work with them to update the tax code without reducing federal revenue or cutting taxes on the wealthy.” First, it isn’t bipartisanship when the minority party tells the majority party what it won’t do. Demanding that Republicans not cut taxes on “the wealthy” is Democratspeak for raising taxes on small businesses. That’s a non-starter with Republicans.

Still, it’s a welcome demand from a political standpoint. If Republicans reform the tax code instead of just cutting taxes, “the wealthiest 1%” will lose virtually all of their deductions but see their marginal rates stay the same under the Democrats’ proposal. That’s the equivalent of a massive tax increase on the rich. According to Townhall’s Guy Benson, the top 20% of wage earners pay 70% of the taxes. How is that smart economics? How will that jumpstart the economy?

I doubt that Sen. Schumer will force vulnerable Democrats into voting for a massive tax increase for “the wealthy”. That’s his initial bluster but I can’t see him telling Joe Donnelly, Heidi Heitkamp, Joe Manchin III, Bob Casey, Tim Kaine, Jeanne Shaheen or Claire McCaskill to end their political careers.

If Sen. Schumer decides to bully vulnerable Democratic senators into voting against tax simplification, he’ll be the Senate Minority Leader for at least a decade. I don’t think that will happen because I don’t see him being that stupid.

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A Taxing Thought on the Minimum Wage
By Speed Gibson
July 14, 2017

You may remember how a Stillwater restaurant added a “minimum wage fee” to their tabs in 2014, in response to a 75 cent increase in the Minnesota minimum wage. Liberals, amazed that the owners didn’t just draw on their assumed millions stashed under the floorboards, said they should just raise prices if need be, not play politics. Conservatives like me cheered for a business willing to push back with what liberals hate most: the truth. And then I realized that there was a greater point being made here, intended or not. As an added, involuntary, cost to a business, the requirement to pay above market minimum wages is a tax.

Albert Einstein’s two great theories largely sprang from his ideas of equivalence. An astronaut in a rocket accelerating at 1 G in free space experiences the same effects as another still sitting on the launch pad on Earth. Gravity, he thought, must also be some form of acceleration, hence his General Theory of Relativity.

So, is there an equivalent tax to mandated minimum wages? Let’s take some full-time employees making $10 an hour. Assuming none are subsequently laid off, the new law takes effect and now they make $15 an hour. Each makes an additional $200 a week, or equivalently $200 a week now leaves the owner’s cash register. No additional work was performed. The money simply moved from the owner to the employee.

But a tax law could equivalently demand that the $200 “shortfall” be sent to St. Paul, then distributed to the employee via a refundable income tax credit based on the $400 paid and reported. Either way, the owner, employee and State checking account balances all read the same afterward.

I therefore conclude, if the minimum wage looks like a tax and acts like a tax and is compulsory like a tax – it’s a tax, with one remaining difference to now resolve: display that tax on the receipt like the courageous Stillwater restaurant owners did.

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This LTE is filled with progressive hypocrisy about health care. For instance, the writer highlighted the Bible verse that says “Sell your possessions, and give to the needy.” That verse is found, according to the author, in Chapter 12, verse 33 of Luke’s Gospel.

As a Christian, I’m tired of Democrats cherry-picking that verse each time they want to guilt Republicans into expand a government program. That entire section of the Bible says “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

It’s pretty clear that Democrats aren’t following this verse’s directive. When government levies taxes to pay for government programs, that isn’t selling one’s possessions and giving the proceeds to the poor for their benefit.

That passage finished by saying that “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Isn’t it clear that this passage is talking about personal behavior, not public policy? The point is that we shouldn’t use Bible verses to push public policy positions. We should use Bible verses to examine our personal behavior.

The next paragraphs illustrate the author’s true intent:

Do so by calling those Republican leaders and screaming against the repeal, voting for mercy, compassion, humanity, common sense and morality, to save the health and lives of millions of people who depend on Obamacare.

If not, next will be Medicare and Social Security for this ruthless immoral gang.

It’s obvious that the author simple wants to maintain the status quo on 20th Century programs rather than see if there’s a better way of helping the least fortunate amongst us. PS- Trusting in government creates its own problems. Isn’t it time we stopped thinking that it’s the solution to our every problem?

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Elizabeth Warren’s go-to line is that the American economy is rigged against the little guy. She’s actually right. Big government, high tax rates and a complicated tax code give the rich too many undeserved advantages. This op-ed, written by Rep. Ron Estes, (R-KS), asks some pointed questions that Sen. Warren and Sen. Sanders probably don’t want to answer.

For instance, I’m fairly certain Sen. Warren wouldn’t want to reply when Rep. Estes said “Today’s code is riddled with special interest giveaways that are essentially tax earmarks or “spending” in the tax code, to quote Martin Feldstein, the chief economic adviser to former President Ronald Reagan. Tax earmarks are tax increases on everyone who doesn’t receive the benefit. They keep rates artificially high for everyone to favor the few. Do Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren believe families should be paying higher rates so that officially recognized Eskimo whaling captains – one beneficiary in today’s code – can pay less?”

Sen. Warren and Sen. Sanders have advocated for higher tax rates but they’ve never advocated for cleaning up the tax code. Cleaning up the tax code is important because, the words of “Apple CEO Tim Cook, said on 60 Minutes in 2015, ‘This is a tax code … that was made for the industrial age, not the digital age. It’s backwards. It’s awful for America. It should have been fixed many years ago. It’s past time to get it done.'”

Rep. Estes said that there’s another important reason for updating the tax code:

In 2016, Americans spent $409 billion simply complying with the IRS code, according to the Tax Foundation.

What a waste of money. That’s money that should’ve been spent on creating jobs. Instead, it was spent on Big Government. Many of these carve-outs were put in place by lobbyists who advocate for the corporations that hired them. Small businesses don’t have the advocates that big corporations have.

Sen. Warren and Sen. Sanders love big government. That means their policies lead directly to the policies and conditions that they complain about. Their policies also lead to income inequality. Policymakers should implement tax reform. While that’s happening, reporters should report the progress that’s getting made. Once the bill is signed, though, the MSM should question Democrats about their tax policies. They should specifically ask Sen. Sanders and Sen. Warren why they favor policies that increase income inequality while slowing economic growth in the middle class. They should ask Sen. Schumer why he hasn’t told Democrats to jump on board with tax simplification.

Those are things that might happen in a dream world. Unfortunately, the MSM won’t ask those questions because they agree with Sen. Warren and Sen. Sanders. The MSM, aka the Agenda Media, will work tirelessly to protect Democrats. Anyone that thinks the MSM is fair-minded and that they seek the truth isn’t thinking straight. The MSM is mostly corrupt and shouldn’t be trusted.

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According to this WCCO-TV article, Gov. Dayton will decide by tonight whether he’ll veto any of the 10 bills agreed to, passed and sent to his desk last week. The most likely outcome is that Gov. Dayton vetoes the tax bill but signs the other 9 bills, thereby avoiding a government shutdown but vetoing the Republicans’ tax cut bill.

By doing this, Gov. Dayton would give Republicans a major weapon against the DFL in the 2018 gubernatorial election. By vetoing the Republicans’ tax cut bill, Gov. Dayton will certify that the DFL a) is untrustworthy and b) thoroughly hates tax cuts of any sort or size.

WCCO/DFL stenographer Esme Murphy was wrong in stating that “If the governor vetoes even one of the bills, that means it would be back to square one: more negotiations, another special session and a new deal would have to be reached or the government would shut down on July 1.” There wouldn’t be a government shutdown if Gov. Dayton vetoes the transportation and/or tax bills.

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True to form, Gov. Dayton inexplicably vetoed middle class tax relief that Republicans supported and that the DFL rejected.

In rejecting the Republicans’ bill, Dayton said that the bill’s cuts are “irresponsibly large” and focus “tax relief to some of the most fortunate.” Responding to Gov. Dayton’s veto letter, the Center for the American Experiment replied “The House and Senate agreed to over $1 billion dollars in tax cuts last week, much of it focused on the middle class. The largest chunk—nearly $220 million—went to cut taxes on social security income. The bill also included substantial increases in subtractions and credits for expenses related to child care, education, scholarship program contributions, and student loans.”

The truth is that Gov. Dayton won’t sign a tax bill that demolishes his tax increases from 2013. For all their talk about loving the middle class, the truth is that the DFL loves tax increases exponentially more than they love the middle class. The DFL’s last centrists have either died or switched parties. Gov. Dayton and President Obama are leading the way in making them politically irrelevant.

UPDATE: All 89 DFL legislators (57 in the House & 32 in the Senate) voted against the GOP tax cuts.

Anders Koskinen’s article on Gov. Dayton’s tax ‘relief’ bill is enlightening in that it proves that Gov. Dayton still hasn’t learned that sending money to cities and counties doesn’t shrink families’ tax burdens. It just adds to those cities’ and counties’ spending.

The key part of Koskinen’s article is where he writes “the proposal ends up seeing the state spending $1.60 in subsidies for every dollar of direct tax relief. Dayton’s proposal includes $21 million in middle class tax cuts, $61 million of child care tax credits, and $34 million of property tax credits for farmers. A further $186 million, however, is a series of subsidies.”

Lt. Gov. Tina Flint-Smith adds “Our tax bill would provide significant relief to farmers by buying down the cost of local school district levies. I urge the Legislature to provide this needed tax relief for Minnesota farm families this session. In 2013, the DFL majorities in the House and Senate passed a bill with the same promises. It failed miserably. I wrote about those failures in this post and this post.

Despite all the DFL’s claims, property taxes skyrocketed anyway. While it isn’t shocking, it’s more than a little disgusting.

The DFL theory is that sending money to cities and counties should reduce the need for raising taxes. The reality is that it increases cities’ and counties’ spending. That’s been proven repeatedly. That’s why I called the DFL’s tax relief proposal a theory. It certainly isn’t verifiable fact.

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Salena Zito’s article about Wisconsin becoming a red state is must reading for Minnesota conservatives. That’s because it provides the blueprint for turning Minnesota red.

Salena’s article starts by saying “Eight years ago, Wisconsin Democrats were in the catbird seat; they held the Governor’s office, the majority in both chambers of the state legislature, two U.S. Senate seats, five of the state’s eight congressional seats and handed Barack Obama a rousing victory in the presidential election.” That’s the Wisconsin of 2008. That isn’t the Wisconsin of 2016.

What changed in that time? Since the 2008 election, “Republican Gov. Scott Walker has won his seat three times (there was a recall election in between his two outright wins) and Republicans have twice taken the state attorney general’s office, won control of both state legislative chambers (and retained them twice) and won a bruising state Supreme Court race.”

In short, Reince Priebus and Paul Ryan put together a blueprint that’s caught fire:

House Speaker Paul Ryan has played a big role in the redirection traditional Democrats towards the Republican Party with his stabilizing, responsible economic message; while his district voted for Barack Obama in 2008, it supported Mitt Romney in 2012 when he was on the ticket as the vice-presidential nominee.

The Cheeseheads’ Three Amigos turned the Republican Party of Wisconsin into winners on a mission:

What’s possible in Wisconsin is possible in Minnesota, too. The thing that Gov. Walker, Chairman Priebus and Speaker Ryan have in common is that they’re principled leaders. That means this trio isn’t afraid to push conservative initiatives. More than any other trio in US state governance, this trio has created a reform movement that’s attracting erstwhile Democrats into their movement:

And despite the news media nationalizing the raucous 2011 state capitol protests in Madison when Walker passed Act 10, which curtailed collective bargaining for most public employees, the conservative movement stubbornly continued to attract independent and Democratic voters to their message and their candidates. Walker won the recall election the unions forced with more votes than he did when he ran the first time. He won reelection in 2014 even as experts also predicted he would lose.

That led to this:

Folks have altered their allegiances politically said Todd. “The government sector unions broke the bank and forced a reckoning that surprisingly found trade union members on the taxpayer’s side,” he said.

Minnesotans don’t need another Scott Walker, Paul Ryan or Reince Priebus. Minnesotans just need principled leaders who are conservatives, too.

The one remaining state-wide elected Democrat in Wisconsin is U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, who will have to try to defend her seat in 2018, the same year that Walker will likely seek a third term as governor. Those two races will be a true test to see if the Democrats understand their faults and display a willingness to comprehend and reconnect with their electorate.

If not, they risk placing Wisconsin on the battleground map in 2020 alongside Ohio.

It’s too early to predict a Republican winning the governorship in Minnesota in 2018. Still, with Republicans flipping Minnesota’s State Senate, it isn’t unreasonable to think it’s a possibility. Already, things are starting to look like it will be a good year for Republicans in 2018. Democrats will be defending 10 red-state seats in the US Senate. Once President Obama leaves office, Democrats won’t really have a national spokesperson. Meanwhile, Donald Trump will be the Republicans’ chief spokesman. He’ll be touting the many popular accomplishments of his administration, including tax simplification, returning to the rule of law and replacing Obamacare with something that’s actually affordable.

It’s time to make Minnesota a red state.