Archive for May, 2009

Last week, I put together a Your Turn editorial for the St. Cloud Times. In my Your Turn, I questioned the DFL’s and the media’s storyline that Tim Pawlenty and the DFL-dominated Legislature were equally to blame. Follow this link to read the entire thing.

Follow this link to read Rep. Steve Gottwalt’s Your Turn editorial. It’s a great read, mostly because Steve didn’t hold anything back.

I’d like to thank Randy Krebs, the Times’ Editorial Page editor, for keeping the editorial content intact. Comparing it to what I submitted, I noticed that there were only minor cosmetic changes to it.

UPDATE: The Times Editorial Board’s editorial is worthwhile reading. Here’s the attention-getting phrase from their editorial:

You said then you would balance the state’s next two-year budget via unallotment if the DFL-led Legislature wouldn’t do enough things your way. Sadly, its leadership didn’t come through with anything more than the political status quo, and they were tardy in offering that. Astute voters know that.

Those last 2 sentences should scare the DFL. Indeed, the DFL leadership offered their traditional status quo solution of major tax increases at the last minute. St. Cloud’s voters, like I suspect voters across the state, know that the DFL leadership failed them.

UPDATE II: Here’s the link to Tarryl’s Your Turn editorial criticizing Gov. Pawlenty’s unallotment plans.

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The Right Blogosphere’s anger was stirred when Bill O’Reilly declared himself the policeman of the internet. That happened when he accused HotAir of peddling hate speech based on a comment left on HA’s post about Sonia Sotomayor. The next morning, Michelle Malkin rightly stood up for her bloggers during Jon Scott’s program. That night, Bloviating Bill admitted that the offensive comment came from a commenter, not from either blogger.

That wasn’t enough for Bloviating Bill, though. During his Reality Check segment, Bloviating Bill said that it wasn’t enough for websites to say that they aren’t responsible for their comments, adding that they should police their comments like his people police his website.

That’s where Patterico’s Pontifications entered the fray:

The latest “Bill O’Reilly blog posting”:

Above: Bill O’ blog posting

Here’s the text of the “blog posting”:

NO HOMOS NO HOMOS now will the League arrest me for my right wing statement, perhaps i will be taken off the New Yuk slimes CHRISTMAS card list. what you do or dont do in your bed room is none of my business just dont tell me I am wrong if i say NO MARRIAGE FOR HOMOS NO MARRIAGE FOR HOMOS. Hay maybe you can have a vote and lose and have the courts overturn your vote. Well that cant happen in AMERICA now can it.

to any one whos name begins with an R REMEMBER NO MARRIAGE FOR HOMOS. Awaits to knock on the door from the lack of free speech AG. AND janet baby

This afternoon, Mitch and Ed interviewed Patterico during their NARN show’s final segment. They quickly called Patterico when they read his Tweet saying that Patterico’s subscription as a Bill O’Reilly premium member was cancelled:

I wish I could share today’s “ blog posting” . . . but my membership has been terminated:

Due to violations of the Terms and Conditions of attributed to your account, your Premium Membership is hereby terminated effective as of the date of this notice. The termination is final and any attempt to use the site or to renew membership either directly or indirectly will similarly result in termination and/or blocking use of the site.

I’m not sure what terms and conditions I supposedly violated. I never posted any comments (or “blog postings”) on O’Reilly’s site. All I did was quote (and screencap) two embarrassing comments from the message boards.

It’s a bit much to think that Patterico’s membership was coincidental. In fact, it’s impossible to think that his premium club membership isn’t the direct result of him exposing Bloviating Bill as a phoney.

This Monday, Bill O’Reilly owes HotAir an apology for his criticizing that great website for following the same guidelines as he does on his website. He owes another apology to Patterico for cancelling his subscription for exposing Bloviating Bill’s phoniness.

I’m not holding my breath waiting for Bloviating Bill’s apology, though. I can’t imagine that it’s his style to admit that he doesn’t practice what he preaches.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

This morning, I found out that Sen. Tarryl Clark, the assistant Senate majority leader, called Gov. Pawlenty a “rogue governor.” In this Grand Forks Herald article, Tarryl levels a number of charges against Gov. Pawlenty. Here’s the first of the egregious statements Tarryl made:

“What the crafters of the unallotment law didn’t anticipate was a rogue governor who would choose to act in bad faith, as Pawlenty has done,” Clark wrote. “Pawlenty refused meaningful negotiations, made impossible demands for clearly imprudent accounting stunts like borrowing to pay ongoing expenses and vetoed reasonable attempts by the Legislature to make cuts and increase revenue.”

This morning, I sent Tarryl an email highlighting the fact that the DFL rejected Gov. Pawlenty’s proposal:

Pawlenty’s new plan, offered Monday morning, would borrow just under $500 million against future state revenues instead of the nearly $1 billion he had originally proposed. It would adopt the Senate’s proposal to drain $250 million from the state’s reserve account and would fill in the remainder by acceding to the larger accounting shifts proposed by the House.

The proposal by Pawlenty steps around the cluster of tax increases passed by the House and Senate last week.

But DFL leaders were unimpressed. “It’s a compromise in word, but not in deed,” said House Majority Leader Tony Sertich, DFL-Chisholm.

In other words, Gov. Pawlenty made a good faith counterproposal, meeting them more than half ways on two issues that the DFL deemed important. Despite this good faith counterproposal, Tarrl Clark insists that Gov. Pawlenty is a rogue governor who didn’t negotiate in good faith.

Remember that I said in this post that the proper translation of the DFL’s “negotiating in good faith” claims is code for “Gov. Pawlenty wasn’t willing to compromise on the DFL’s job-killing tax increases.”

Here’s something else that Tarryl said that’s laughable:

Clark said that the unallotment law is for emergency use only: “During a financial crisis occurring between legislative sessions, a governor, acting prudently and in consultation with a key legislative commission, would make needed adjustments to hold the budget together until the legislature and governor could again pass legislation to balance the budget.”

I’m betting that most Minnesotans will agree that the legislature refusing to pass a balanced budget, which is the legislature’s coinstitutionally mandated responsibility, constitutes an emergency.

I fully expect the DFL to say that they passed a budget that balances. That’s because they’ve already started spinning it that way. That’s a laughable position. If we wanted to apply truth in advertising principles to the DFL, we’d be forced to say that the DFL is just upset because they got blindsided because they didn’t anticipate being blindsided by a principled governor. It’s also true that the DFL is upset that they weren’t able to force Gov. Pawlenty into signing off on their disastrous job-killing tax increases.

King pointed out in this post that our neighbor to the northwest, North Dakota, “is cutting its income tax rates by about an eighth across the board. Corporate rates too.” As I told King on this afternoon’s Final Word, this should scare the DFL mightily. It should scare them because Minnesotans will be able to contrast the DFL’s tax policy with North Dakota’s results.

If things go as I think they will, North Dakota will be able to point at their cutting taxes as helping in strengthening their economy. I further suspect that the results will be known within a 12-18 months.

Here’s the most objectionable part of Don Davis’ article:

The DFLers say they did their part by passing a budget, but Pawlenty vetoed their package of tax increases and payment delays to cover the gap.

I’m not criticizing Davis for writing what he wrote. What Davis wrote is totally accurate. I’m critical of this because the DFL’s last gasp attempt at increasing taxes was thrown together in the conference committee on the last night of the session. The conference committee started ‘debating’ the legislation after 10:00 pm on the last night of the session. The conference committee report reached the House floor for debate at 11:20, 40 minutes before the end of this year’s session.

There was less than FIFTEEN MINUTES of debate on this insanely cobbled together legislation. Notice I didn’t say fifteen minutes of debate in the House and 15 minutes of debate in the Senate. That fifteen minutes is combined.

If the DFL wants to campaign on their passing a last gasp tax increase bill that was debated for less than fifteen minutes during the last half hour of this year’s session as proof that they passed a balanced budget, they’re certainly welcome to try.

Of course, I’ll point out all the trouble they had in getting prominent legislators in their own party to vote for their tax madness. I’ll also highlight that the tax increase that Gov. Pawlenty vetoed and that the legislature couldn’t override was a $920,000,000 tax increase.

Had Gov. Pawlenty signed that bill into law, the DFL would still have been almost $2,000,000,000 short of a balanced budget.

Putting these facts together, Minnesota’s taxpayers should be asking this question:

Who’s the rogue? The governor who stated things clearly and had a coherent plan that didn’t destroy small businesses with excessive tax increases? Or is the DFL the rogue entity for (a) not accepting Gov. Pawlenty’s counterproposal, (b) insisting on raising taxes that would’ve done more damage to Minnesota’s economy and (c) reaching a balanced budget only by throwing a tax increase package together at the last minute that they knew their members wouldn’t even agree with?

I’ll confidently cast my vote that the DFL colelctively acted like rogues. The deciding factor for me is that the only time that the DFL put a balanced budget together this session was with an hour left in the session with a bill that was debated all of fifteen minutes.

That isn’t a deliberative act. That’s an act of imprudence.

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The good people at Redstate have been blogging up a storm on the NRSC’s endorsing Charlie Crist, Florida’s governor with an appetite for raising taxes and supporting President Obama’s ‘Spend Like A Drunken Sailor’ bill, aka ARRA. Friday morning, they offered Sen. Cornyn the opportunity to make the case for why Charlie Crist must be the GOP candidate in Florida. Here’s Sen. Cornyn’s explanation:

Some believe that we should be a monolithic Party; I disagree. While we all might wish for a Party comprised only of people who agree with us 100 percent of the time, this is a pipedream. Each Party is fundamentally a coalition of individuals rallying around core principles with some variations along the way. My job as Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee is to recruit candidates who have the best chance of winning and holding seats – and to do so in as many states as possible. Earlier this month, two Republicans candidates emerged for the open Senate seat being vacated by Mel Martinez in the Sunshine State: Marco Rubio, the young and talented Hispanic former Speaker of the state House, and Charlie Crist, the state’s popular Governor.

There is no doubt both of these candidates have a bright future in the Republican Party. But with his record of leadership and astronomical approval ratings, including strong numbers among Republicans, Democrats and Independents, Charlie Crist represents the best chance for Republicans to hold this seat in Florida. That is why I endorsed Governor Crist for the U.S. Senate. That is also why Governor Crist was endorsed by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, outgoing Florida U.S. Senator Mel Martinez, U.S. Senator John McCain, and other leaders within the Republican Party.

First of all, nobody thinks that we’ll return to majority party status by being a monolithic party. That’s the type of argument that President Obama makes and that we criticize him for making.

Secondly, listen to the people who’ve endorsed Charlie Crist: John McCain, Mel Martinez and Mitch McConnell. Saying that Mitch McConnell is a has been might be giving him too much credit because, outside of his title, what has he ever been? While John McCain was our presidential nominee, he wasn’t the leading votegetter on the ticket because he refused to fight for every vote. In fact, he never warmed to movement conservatives during the campaign. Mel Martinez is a great American story but he’s a worthless politician. None of these three men will fight for the conservative principles that will bring this nation back from the brink of catastrophe.

Sen. Cornyn lost me when he started talking about Crist’s “record of leadership.” What leadership would that be, Sen. Cornyn? Crist’s leading the fight against tax increases in Florida? That can’t be it because Gov. Crist just signed a major tax increase bill to balance Florida’s budget. Perhaps it was Gov. Crist’s crusade against President Obama’s ARRA bill? That can’t be it because, in addition to saying that he would’ve joined Arlen Specter, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins in voting for ARRA, he campaigned for passage of ARRA with President Obama in Florida.

What this really comes down to is Sen. Cornyn’s eyes glazing over when he thinks about Crist’s fundraising abilities and his 100 percent name recognition. Unfortunately, Sen. Cornyn didn’t consider what having Crist in the U.S. Senate would mean.

Winning back the majority requires not only that we hold the Democrats accountable, but also that we embrace the vast number of issues upon which Republicans agree. Failing to do so will hand the Democrats yet another victory in 2010, and deny the American people a check on Democrat-controlled government.

What check would Charlie Crist be against the Democrats’ agenda?

More importantly, there’s a compelling case that’s being made on Rubio’s behalf, not the least of which is how he energizes conservatives. That’s before talking about what a charismatic speaker he is. Simply put, if given the chance, he’ll energize the GOP faithful like Gov. Palin energized Republicans last year. View this video, then ask yourself whether you want the pale pastels of the current DC Republicrats that inhabit the Senate:

Conservatives like me smile when we hear Rubio say that this election is about clear choices. He’s right about that. That’s why Crist, even if he’s elected, is a poor choice. Electing Marco Rubio would change how the Senate works. That’s because Marco Rubio isn’t another go-along-to-get-along types that the Senate GOP is infested with.

Ask yourself this: shouldn’t we fight for the man who identifies with the Tea Party movement, especially considering his opponent in the GOP primary is the man who would pour cold water on the Tea Party movement? Let’s ask another question: Since Sen. Cornyn says that this election is about choices, shouldn’t we support the man who would annihilate Kendrick Meeks in a debate by being a principled, charismatic conservative?

This Hill article sums things up perfectly:

Rubio supporter and GOP fundraiser Ana Navarro, a self-appointed leader of the anti-Crist movement, said Republican activists will drive home the stimulus support, with the idea that Crist’s support is a mile wide and an inch deep.

“Specter has not changed on social issues for his entire career, and Pennsylvania Republican primary voters were OK with that; but the last straw was the stimulus vote,” Navarro said. “I think Charlie has greatly misjudged the incredible damage of his fawning support of the stimulus package.”

I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that this primary could be decided by Tea Party issues. If that’s the case, Crist’s support of Obama’s stimulus bill will haunt him. Unlike national pundits, I don’t question whether the Tea Party movement will fizzle. It won’t, especially now that the various Tenth Amendment movements are taking off.

The other thing working against Crist and for Rubio is the anti-politics-as-usual mood in the nation. Crist is a typical cookie-cutter politician who looks like a typical politician. Then there’s this to factor in:

There is certainly no evidence of Bush lending a hand to Rubio at this point, though Rubio has signed top Bush fundraiser Ann Herberger. But Rubio’s supporters are confident Bush will at least stay neutral, given his antagonistic past with Crist, and if Rubio gains traction, Bush might be tempted to push him over the finish line.

Matching Jeb’s top fundraiser with a charismatic conservative candidate sounds like an effective combination. There are plenty of conservatives in Florida. It isn’t known whether Crist’s support is solid or half-hearted, either. The other thing that could be an X factor in this primary and in the general election is Rubio’s ability to attract new voters who haven’t been part of Florida’s political equation.

Finally, Rubio will be able to hit Crist hard for not being a fiscal conservative while touting his own conservative credentials. The ability to keep your opponent off balance is a great way to force your opponent into running a less than stellar campaign.

The realities that Sen. Cornyn and the NRSC ignored are significant. This cycle, people are looking for conservatives. This isn’t the election for triangulation. That’s partially because people are becoming disenchanted with congress being a rubberstamp for radical policies. People aren’t yet upset with President Obama but they are upset.

Florida voters need to vote against Crist because there’s little difference between him and a Kent Conrad or Max Baucus. Meanwhile, giving Florida general election voters a choice between a liberal like Rep. Meeks and a true conservative is an easy choice because Rubio is a Tea Party conservative.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Whenever I debate the liberals on the Times’ story chat about cutting taxes, one of the things the liberals tell us is that people don’t leave states because of tax increases. I now have proof that they’re wrong. I always knew they were wrong. The difference is that I now have irrefutable proof of it, thanks in no small part to this article:

Maryland’s “millionaires’ tax” flopped. It was doomed from the start.

Anyone taking Economics 101 could have predicted that those best able to avoid Maryland’s new 6.25 percent marginal tax rate on income over $1 million would. They are the ones best able to choose where to live and to pay accountants and lawyers to lower their tax burden.

Market losses no doubt contributed to one-third fewer people filing taxes in that income bracket in Maryland by April 15, as supporters of the legislation say. So did those filing extensions. But they and the Republicans yelling “I told you so” miss a bigger issue: Everyone is leaving Maryland, not just the rich.

Drive south on I-83 during morning rush hour for evidence. Count how many Pennsylvania license plates adorn cars making their way south into Baltimore City in bumper to bumper traffic.

Move over to I-95, and add Delaware tags to the mix. I doubt there are enough Richie Riches to fill those cars, especially since 40 percent of the 6,000 residents earning more than $1 million each year live in Montgomery County.

At least a good portion of them have to be middle class people wanting more land, a bigger house and lower property taxes. Just talk to Baltimore City police officers who call Pennsylvania home.

And it’s not just anecdotal evidence. The U.S. Census Bureau shows more people are migrating out of Maryland than moving in. The only reason Maryland is gaining population is from women in the state having babies.

Martin O’Malley can keep raising tax rates if he wants but it won’t balance Maryland’s budget. If he doesn’t believe me, he can ask Ahnold how well California’s tax hikes have worked. (Better yet, O’Malley should ask Gov. Gibbons should ask how California’s tax hikes have helped Nevada.

Don’t bother asking Charlie Crist about all the millionaires flocking to Florida. He’s too busy breaking promises and signing tax increases.

If the Tax Day Tea Parties weren’t proof enough that the American people are fed up with high taxes and out of control spending, then people need to wake up and see the people leaving states like Maryland, California and Michigan.

Martin O’Malley might be safe in Maryland in 2010 because so many right-leaning votes have left the state. Still, I wouldn’t feel comfortable if I were the O’Malley campaign’s strategist. This isn’t a good environment for tax-raising incumbents, even in states like Maryland.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Earlier this week, Bill O’Reilly smeared HotAir by insinuating that HA trafficked in hate speech. This is nonsense. His proof? A commenter to a post called President OBama by the name Hussein.

O’Reilly eventually offered a non-apology apology when it was pointed out that this wasn’t from Ed or Allahpundit but from a commenter. Bloviating Bill went onto say that it isn’t enough to say that comments don’t reflect the views of the website, that websites have an affirmative responsibility to police their comments.

The bad news for Bloviating Bill is that bloggers don’t take that type of bloviating sitting down. They investigate, something that Bloviating Bill only occasionally does. One such investigative blog is Patterico. Here’s what Patterico found while policing Bloviating Bill’s website:

Here’s the text of the “blog posting”:

NO HOMOS NO HOMOS now will the League arrest me for my right wing statement, perhaps i will be taken off the New Yuk slimes CHRISTMAS card list. what you do or dont do in your bed room is none of my business just dont tell me I am wrong if i say NO MARRIAGE FOR HOMOS NO MARRIAGE FOR HOMOS. Hay maybe you can have a vote and lose and have the courts overturn your vote. Well that cant happen in AMERICA now can it.

to any one whos name begins with an R REMEMBER NO MARRIAGE FOR HOMOS. Awaits to knock on the door from the lack of free speech AG. AND janet baby

It’s so refreshing to know that Bloviating Bill’s staff do such a great job monitoring the hate speech on his website. (SARC)

Seriously, Bloviating Bill’s not practicing what he preaches and his double standards while pretending to be the supreme moral arbiter makes Bloviating Bill a pinhead.

Meanwhile, Michelle Malkin, Patterico, Ed Morrissey and Allahpundit have pointed out Bloviating Bill’s hypocrisy and double standards.

These bloggers are patriots for investigating Bloviating Bill’s accusations and for highlighting the fact that he’s two-faced blowhard.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

This morning’s St. Cloud Times has an op-ed from Rep. Michele Bachmann talking about the federal government’s involvement in the Chrysler and GM bailouts. It’s a well-written, impeccably researched op-ed that I strongly recommend every reading. Here’s an example of the important information contained in the op-ed:

Take the actions of the Obama administration’s auto task force. Government has kicked private business out of the board room and installed itself as CEO, CFO and board of directors of American automobile manufacturing companies. It is making decisions about who to hire and who to fire, how much to budget for advertising, and what car lines to continue to manufacture. And, the “Car Czar” has given rise to two of the most stunningly brazen takings of our day.

First, the task force turned basic American legal principles upside down, leapfrogging unsecured debts of the United Auto Workers ahead of secured debts of legitimate bondholders. Secured creditors get preference in bankruptcy because they loaned money only on the contractual promise that if the debt was unpaid they would get back specific property. The administration may have considered its political promise to the UAW to supersede that contractual promise; but in doing so, it has set an ugly precedent.

I’m betting that few of the St. Cloud Times’ readers knew the difference between secured and nonsecured bondholders. They would’ve needed to read King’s post to learn things like that:

Many bought the debt knowing that bankruptcy was possible. They did so under the expectation that the rule of law would apply in America, that their place in line under bankruptcy law was purchased with that debt. President Obama’s ire over their unwillingness to give away that place in line, a place purchased by those endowments and foundations and pensions not for themselves but for students, pensioners and grant recipients, is an indication that the president thinks his noble ends are superior to theirs.

These principles are so clear that even an attorney couldn’t get them wrong. Let me rephrase that: These principles are so clear that it’s possible that an attorney could get them right. I make that correction because an attorney on the Times Story Chat got this badly wrong. That attorney is former St. Cloud Mayor John Ellenbecker. Here’s what Mr. Ellenbecker said that I find offensive:

Rep. Mrs. Marcus Bachmann, …Let me get this straight, you voted against financial assistance for GM and Chrysler; had your side prevailed, GM and Chrysler would have been allowed to fail, meaning all GM and Chrysler dealers would be closed, putting thousands more out of work, along with hundreds of thousands working for the automakers and their suppliers. And now you are concerned about a few dealerships? Ironic.

It’s impportant to first note that John Ellenbecker’s hatred of Rep. Bachmann is deep and quite possibly uncontrollable. What’s worse is that Mr. Ellenbecker is an attorney. As such, it’s impossible to believe that he could’ve passed the BAR without, at minimum, a modest understanding of bankruptcy law.

Since Ellenbecker stated that Michele Bachmann’s vote on the GM and Chrysler bailouts was a vote that would’ve meant that “all GM and Chrysler dealers would be closed, putting thousands more out of work, along with hundreds of thousands working for the automakers and their suppliers”, there’s only two possible explanations fro his statement. Either he’s intentionally telling an outright whopper or he’s that ignorant of Ch. 11 bankruptcy law.

I’m leaning towards the option that he’s ‘telling a whopper’ because John Ellenbecker is one of the people who is most afflicted with Bachmann Derangement Syndrome.

Another reason for John’s spin is to distract people’s attention away from President Obama’s threatening GM and Chrysler bondholders. Unfortunately for John, he’s losing on that front, too, because I’m exposing President Obama’s threats to the bondholders.

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Much has been said and written about the DFL’s storyline about Gov. Pawlenty not being willing to compromise. At this point, it’s important that we state clearly what the DFL is saying.
Let’s start with something Larry Haws said in his end-of-session e-letter update:

Since January, the only offers that came from the Governor included significant borrowing, which would have had to be paid back by our children and grandchildren. The House and Senate viewed this as fiscally irresponsible, and preferred a “pay-as-you-go” approach.

Let’s dismantle Rep. Haws’s statement that Gov. Pawlenty’s proposal only “included significant borrowing” by highlighting Cindy’s post outlining Gov. Pawlenty’s compromise:

Yesterday, Governor Pawlenty offered an olive branch to the DFL leadership on the budget. In a letter addressed to the Senate Majority Leader and the Speaker of the House, the Governor said that he would relent on his opposition to two of the three main sticking points between the the Legislature and the Governor’s office and he would cut in half his request for bonding. In essense he was giving in to the DFL on 2 1/2 of the 3 main issues that the DFL had with the Governor’s budget. The DFL’s response was quick and predictable. Calling it a “false compromise” and a compromise in “word and not in deed” the DFL leadership of the House and the Senated doubled down on their intent to once again drive the state toward a shut-down (as they did in 2005).

That sounds like Gov. Pawlenty was willing to cut his borrowing significantly while conceding on two important DFL points. If Gov. Pawlenty was willing to compromise with the DFL on 2 of their key issues, it can’t legitimately be said that he’s unwilling to compromise.

This is where a little translation is in order. This is speculation but it makes lots of sense. I suspect that when the DFL says Gov. Pawlenty wasn’t willing to compromise, they’re really just not completing the sentence. I suspect what they really mean is that Gov. Pawlenty wasn’t willing to compromise on the DFL’s job-killing tax increases.

During our many conversations, King has often asked the theoretical question of what’s the halfway point between right and wrong. Let there be no mistake: raising taxes while job creation is heading south is just plain wrong.

The other part that needs translating is Rep. Haws’s statement that the DFL preferred a “pay as you go” system. That’s translated into this:

“If we spend money, we’ll balance it with tax increases.”

I’m betting that most people would think of pay as you go budgeting to mean that you’d cut some spending in one part of the budget if you want to spend more in another part of the budget. I’m betting, too, that people wouldn’t think of pay as you go as meaning “Let’s spend more & pay for that spending with tax increases.”

Here’s something else Rep. Haws said that needs translation:

Minnesota’s ability to compete in the 21st century global economy will depend on a highly skilled workforce and an excellent system of public schools.

As I pointed out in this post, Rep. Haws supports the New Minnesota Miracle. That means an additional $1,700,000,000 of new spending on education annually for this biennium. When Rep. Haws talks about a “highly skilled workforce”, what he’s really saying is that we need to spend more money.

That doesn’t mean he’s a proponent of reforms or prioritizing. He made that perfectly clear during the League of Women Voters Education Forum in Sept., 2007:

Let’s start with some of the most memorable quotes from the Forum. The first memorable quote was from ‘Grandpa Larry’ Haws. Steve Gottwalt had just said that we needed to do a better job prioritizing education spending, prompting Larry Haws to say “Maybe we do need to prioritize.”

I was in the audience that day. To say that the audience was stunned when Rep. Haws made that statement is understatement. People I watched had an ‘I can’t believe he just said that” look on their faces. I don’ think it’s a stretch to say that Rep. Haws’s position on education is that just spending more money is the total solution.

While I’m certain that he’d pay lip service to reforms, accountability and prioritizing, I’m equally certain that he wouldn’t act on those things. I further suspect that his DFL colleagues living in outstate Minnesota stake out similar positions without taking action.

The reality is that Rep. Haws can’t go too far for fear that EdMinn wouldn’t help him with his GOT efforts or make campaign contributions.

Finally, I’m betting that this paragraph from Rep. Haws’s e-letter sounds familiar to people all across the state:

As the Governor continues his go-it-alone unallotment approach, please know that as your legislator, I’ll keep working to ensure that the state supports our schools and students as best we can in the face of difficult economic times and a Governor who is unwilling to compromise.

Statements of this type should be shot down quickly. The “go-it-alone” bit doesn’t hold water. Here’s something that Rep. Gottwalt sent to Randy Krebs, the editor of the St. Cloud Times editorial page that instantly dispels that DFL myth:

On May 16th, Rep. Matt Dean attempted to amend SF1566 to provide $100 million for hospitals in FY2011 to help cover GAMC losses. Rather than vote on it, Rep. Tom Huntley “continued” the bill and never took it up again, essentially killing the amendment.

TRANSLATION: The DFL wanted the issue. They didn’t want the solution. The bad news for them is that we won’t let them play that game. MOBsters everywhere should be contesting these statements both in person at townhall meetings, in their posts and in LTEs. Put this information out with whatever method is available.

It’s time to put the DFL on the defensive by exposing their spin. They’re vulnerable to the truth. They’ve shown us their hand. It’s a hand built as solidly as a house of cards. It isn’t a house that can withstand any persistent resistance.

Simply put, it’s a house waiting to be toppled with the facts.

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In his end-of-session newsletter, Rep. Larry Haws made this statement:

That being said, as a supporter of the New Minnesota Miracle this session, I was disappointed that a framework for moving in that direction was not part of the final budget bill. This education funding reform would provide schools with stable, adequate and more equitable funding, with $600 million in net property tax relief. It would also have fully funded the state share of special education costs. Nevertheless, the legislation that we passed this year represented the best-case scenario for Minnesota’s schools and students in these challenging economic times.

I did a little digging into the New Minnesota Miracle. Here’s what I found:

Over the next several years, DFL representatives and senators, along with a smattering of Republican allies, plan to ask for $1.7 billion a year in new money for schools. That’s a total that dwarfs the last big school funding increase, approved in 2007, which allocated about $790 million in additional funds over two years.

Because the Strib article cited is from April, 2008, I just checked with House Research on this proposal. Their figures range from $1.7 billion to $2.5 billion increases annually. They told me that the K-12 budget for the biennium just ending, 2008-2009, is $13.8 billion. A $3.4 billion increase in K-12’s budget represents an increase of almost 25 percent this biennium.

I also received a pdf talking about the tax consequences of the New Minnesota Miracle if implemented. The Department of Education estimates that the House Democrats’ plan would cost an additional $2.6 billion per year.

In order to raise $2.6 billion, House Democrats would have to raise income taxes by an average of 30 percent on all Minnesotans, not just the state’s wealthy individuals and businesses.

  • A family of four making $37,000 a year would see a 44 percent tax increase.
  • A family of four making $68,500 a year would see a 37 percent tax increase.
  • A single parent making $37,000 with one child would see a 41 percent tax increase.

When Rep. Haws says that the New Minnesota Miracle “would provide schools with stable, adequate and more equitable funding” and that it would provide “$600 million in net property tax relief”, I couldn’t help wondering what the catch was. Then it dawned on me that the catch had to be increased income taxes. The House Research pdf bears that out.

What good does “permanent property tax relief” do if Minnesotans from all income tax brackets get hit with higher income taxes? According to the study, here’s how much income tax rates would have to increase:

  • The lowest bracket would go from 5.35% to 7.55 percent.
  • The middle bracket would jump from 7.05 percent to 9.25 percent.
  • The top bracket would jump from 7.85 percent to 10.05 percent.

Here’s several other questions I’ve got:

  • Would the NMM increase accountability. If yes, by what mechanism? If not, why not?Would NMM continue the Minneapolis-first bias in the funding formulas? If yes, why?Would NMM control rising costs? If it doesn’t, why doesn’t it?

It was pointed out to me that Minneapolis public schools get 46 percent more per student than outstate public schools. That begs these questions:

  • Why don’t all outstate DFL legislators vote against the current formula?
  • Why don’t these legislators band together to force reform to the funding formula?
  • If DFL legislators don’t band together to fight for their constituents, is it because they aren’t allowed to step out of line with the DFL leadership?

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President Obama plans on highlighting the fact that it’s been 100 days since singing ARRA, aka the Porkulus Bill. Accompanying his speech is this report which supposedly reports of the recovery being unleashed by the Democrats’ porkfest. Here’s a little portion of it that’s worth debunking:

Across America, recovery is under way. From the new State of Maine Ferry to a community health center in Mississippi, from classrooms in Florida to the Willamette River Bridge in Washington, we are using the Recovery Act to jump-start our economy today, while building a new foundation for the sustained economic growth of tomorrow. In the first 100 days since President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act into law, we have obligated more than $112 billion, created more than 150,000 jobs and helped communities and tribes in every state and territory.

But recovery is more than just a compilation of statistics; it’s the return of hope and optimism about the future that comes with making life better for communities and families across the country. And it’s proof of America’s vast capacity to create real progress in the short term as we emerge from an economic crisis that was years in the making.

Borrowing $787,000,000,000 for public works projects, most of which will be spent after the 2010 midterm elections, is hardly a springboard to prosperity. Spending money on “classrooms in Florida” might sound nice but it’s hardly something that will jumpstart this faltering economy.

What’s particularly insulting is this sentence:

But recovery is more than just a compilation of statistics; it’s the return of hope and optimism about the future that comes with making life better for communities and families across the country.

By now, people across this nation know that they’re facing a future with high interest rates, high inflation rates, slower growth, little if any savings and big income tax increases to pay for the Obama administration’s unsustainable deficits.

That’s before thinking about the rising unemployment rate, which might hit the 10% mark in Q1, 2010. Unemployment might jump more depending on how the GM and Chrysler bailouts shake out.

What part about those looming realities suggests to this White House that people are feeling more hopeful today than this time last year?

Leading economists think that the vast majority of jobs created now are temporary in nature. What happens when the various projects are finished and the economy continues to stagger along? What happens when the Obama administration’s tax increases and inflation suck money out of families’ budgets?

What happens when people realize that the Obama administration’s economic plan is more about smoke and mirrors than about sound economic principles? What happens if GM and Chrysler struggle through their troubles?

Renewable Energy: Using $27 million of Recovery Act funding, a public housing development in Washington, D.C., the Regency House, has undergone a green retrofit. As part of this upgrade, the building installed solar panels, a “green” roof, a rainwater collection system, energy-efficient lighting as well as water conserving toilets, showerheads, and faucets. The greening of this building will allow the Regency House to save money in energy costs, while lessening their impact on the environment.

They’re spending $27,000,000 on this crap? Please. This will jumpstart our economy? I wouldn’t bet on it.

In Wilmington and Bear, Delaware, Amtrak is using $22 million in Recovery Act funding to restore two Superliner cars, three P-3 locomotives, and four Amfleet train cars.

How will this jumpstart the economy? At best, the restoration projects will keep union people already working for Amtrak busy a little while. Because people understand that the money that’s spent on this project is onetime money, the efffect will be limited. People that get this type of money understand that this money won’t come in month after month.

It won’t have the effect that creating private sector jobs will have because, unlike jobs created through increased entrepreneurial activity, the ARRA money isn’t likely to be sustained.

Simply put, the Obama administration will attempt to spin this but people know what effect it’s having on their lives.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative