Archive for June, 2011

With the state apparently heading for a shutdown, it’s time to review Minnesota’s priorities, not just our budget policies. Readers of this blog know that I’ve been asking 4 questions about raising taxes. Here are those questions:

Will raising taxes strengthen Minnesota’s economy?
Will raising taxes improve Minnesota’s competitiveness either regionally, nationally or internationally?
Will raising taxes create prosperity?
Will raising taxes give entrepreneurs an incentive to put their capital at risk?

It’s time to replace that set of questions with a fresh set of questions. Here’s that fresh set of questions:

Will raising taxes strengthen Minnesota’s economy?
Will raising taxes increase job growth?
Is spending money on antiquated programs that should’ve been reformed a decade ago the best use of taxpayers’ money?

If KSTP/SUSA polled those questions, I’m betting Minnesotans would reject a budget that raised taxes and funded antiquated government programs by a huge margin. What taxpayer enjoys hearing that their taxes aren’t being spent wisely? What Minnesotan thinks that enacting policies that hurt our economy are what’s needed right now? What person thinks that raising taxes will create dynamic, well-paying private sector jobs?

The debate we’re currently having in the Minnesota media is entirely the wrong debate. Specific policies should be set aside until Minnesota’s priorities are first determined, then clearly articulated. Once that’s done, the policies will fit into place quickly.

Nobody will argue that Minnesotans pride themselves on innovation. With that established as a dominant part of Minnesota’s personality, the next step is determining which government programs and agencies either have outlived their usefulness or could be done better with some tweeks or with significant changes.

These are the types of discussions Minnesotans are having with their neighbors and, to a certain extent, politicians are having. Dan Fabian, Keith Downey and King Banaian are three reformers in the House. Roger Chamberlain, David Hann and Amy Koch are reformers on the Senate side.

In both instances, they’re only part of the reformers in the state legislature.

The next step in this discussion should be to prioritize our reforms. Photo ID, HHS reform, as well as MnSCU reform, in my opinion, should be the next targets now that permitting reform and alternative teacher licensure have passed.

Notice that the highest priority items don’t include tax increases or major spending hikes. Frankly, raising taxes isn’t remotely close to being a priority for most Minnesotans.

Will some Minnesotans accept a tax increase? Yes, but only if it’s on someone else. Is it something that they’re insisting on getting passed? Nope.

Republicans should take this message of economic growth, governmental reform and Minnesota’s revitalized commitment to innovation to the four corners of the state this summer.

If they do, they’ll win this budget fight with the DFL. Handily.

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Earlier this afternoon, I saw this tweet from Eric Pusey:

Ruh Roh – Lowering taxes doesn’t create jobs? Say it ain’t so

I knew it had to be an extreme stretch so I read the post. Here’s the basis for their opinion:

In fact, as Center for American Progress Director of Tax and Budget Policy Michael Linden found, “in the past 60 years, job growth has actually been greater in years when the top income tax rate was much higher than it is now”:

For instance, in years when the top marginal rate was more than 90 percent, the average annual growth in total payroll employment was 2 percent. In years when the top marginal rate was 35 percent or less, which it is now, employment grew by an average of just 0.4 percent.

And there’s no cherry-picking here. Pick any threshold. When the marginal tax rate was 50 percent or above, annual employment growth averaged 2.3 percent, and when the rate was under 50, growth was half that.

In fact, if you ranked each year since 1950 by overall job growth, the top five years would all boast marginal tax rates at 70 percent or higher. The top 10 years would share marginal tax rates at 50 percent or higher. The two worst years, on the other hand, were 2008 and 2009, when the top marginal tax rate was 35 percent. In the 13 years that the top marginal tax rate has been at its current level or lower, only one year even cracks the top 20 in overall job creation.

I’d say that that’s a flimsy argument if I didn’t want to offend flimsy arguments. The argument is pathetic for a bunch of reasons.

First, economic conditions in the 1950s were dramatically different than we’re facing today. We were building factories at a significantly faster pace than they’re being built today. The baby boom generation was being born so new home construction was skyrocketing. We were building the interstate highway system, an infrastructure project that dramatically improved our competitiveness and productivity.

Let’s also consider that there wasn’t a global economy during the 1950s. With capital and labor essentially having unlimited mobility, and with other countries envious of our standard of living, it would stupid to think that tax rates don’t matter in today’s world.

Therein lies the problem. Like Mark Dayton, today’s Democrats think of the world in 1970s (or earlier) terms. Those were the good old days. In their thinking, returning to those glory days simply means doing what they did half a century ago.

Some things work like that. Give people a reason to be productive and it’s likely that they’ll be productive. Confiscating 70+ percent of an entrepreneur’s income isn’t giving an entrepreneur much incentive to be productive.
It’s time that Democrats stopped living in the past. It’s time that they understand that capitalism will succeed because free market capitalism is based on human nature taking its course.
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Considering the fact that Gov. Dayton’s plan was to maximize the hurt on Minnesota, Judge Gearin’s ruling dramatically limits his ability in that respect. In that respect, Mitch’s post is 100% correct:

Mark Dayton’s attempt to push all the pain of this shutdown onto this state’s most vulnerable residents, which we’ve been documenting for weeks, although the mainstream media can’t seem to be bothered, has been rebuffed for now.

For me, Finding of Fact # 39 sums things up pretty nicely:

The Court agrees with the position of the League of Minnesota Cities, the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities and the City of St. Paul regarding Local Government Aid legislation. These funds have already been lawfully appropriated and should be paid on schedule. This is also true regarding previously lawfully appropriated payments to school districts.

I’m not arguing that LGA is a policy worth keeping. I’m simply arguing that money already lawfully appropriated should continue to be paid according to the schedule agreed upon by the legislature and governor.

The reason why 39 is important is because it says Gov. Dayton can’t hold school districts hostage. Imagine the PR mileage he would’ve gotten from filming boarded up schools and children not being able to stay on course for graduation.

That PR weapon was effectively removed from Gov. Dayton’s hands.

At last night’s townhall meeting, a number of people spoke out of fear that a shutdown would leave them paying for their own medications and their health care. The Dayton administration worked hard to build that fear in their attempt to pressure Republicans into accepting a major tax increase.

Now that that’s eliminated as a weapon, it’s reasonable to think that alot of the pain Gov. Dayton was hoping to inflict on people has subsided. In fact, I’m betting alot of nonprofits that rely on federal funding passing through the general fund account breathed a huge sigh of relief after hearing Judge Gearin’s ruling.

There’s still alot of work to be done in resolving the budget issue. Still, this is a victory for Republicans because Judge Gearin took the PR tools out of Gov. Dayton’s hands.

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Tonight’s townhall meeting at the St. Cloud Library was a portrait of Minnesota Nice. That doesn’t mean there weren’t a number of sharp questions and suggestions on how to solve the state’s budget crisis.
One woman that identified herself as working for a nonprofit asked if they’d get paid for work they’d done during a government shutdown. She also asked whether that would affect federal dollars. Another lady asked how the budget could be the biggest in state history and still be considered an all-cuts budget. That lady then asked why anyone would think that raising taxes won’t take money out of the private sector.

Though things got a little contentious during the last segment of the meeting, it was nothing like the contentiousness from last Monday’s townhall held at the Haven Township Hall.

During the second segment, Chuck Rau said that “Fifteen years ago, private employers moved away from defined benefit pensions to defined contributions because we had to.” He then asked why state employees hadn’t gone to that type of retirement system.

Mayor Dave Kleis moderated the event, breaking things down into half hour segments. Twenty minutes of each segment was devoted to people asking questions, with the other 10 minutes devoted to King answering questions.

Rep. Steve Gottwalt was scheduled to co-host the event but wasn’t able to attend. In the middle of Tuesday afternoon, I saw a tweet talking about a brief negotiation period on the HHS bill had yielded some positive results. As a result of that, the tweet said that they’d be holding another negotiating session starting at 4:00 pm Tuesday afternoon.

Shortly after seeing that tweet, I contacted Rep. Gottwalt to verify whether he’d be participating in the negotiations or whether he’d be participating in Tuesday’s townhall. Shortly thereafter, Rep. Gottwalt confirmed to me that he’d be participating in the HHS negotiations.

During the event, a wide range of questions were asked. Others chose to make suggestions. Though not as many as last week’s townhall, many questions focused on “the richest [fill in percentage] percent” paying their fair share.

King responded to most of the questions, including answering one tax the rich question with a question. King asked what percent was a rich person’s fair share. He then noted that capital and labor were more mobile than they were a generation ago. He then said that that’s why it isn’t possible to raise taxes on the rich without risking capital flight.

The crowd of approximately 60-70 people were generally well-behaved compared with last week’s agitated bunch that pushed the message that Republicans had to compromise with Gov. Dayton. Then again, Tuesday night’s group wasn’t as filled with public employee unions as last week’s event was.

Mayor Kleis, Rep. Banaian and the audience each deserve kudos for the integral parts they played in the townhall. There were still disagreements but they each played a role in showing how people can disagree without being disagreeable.

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The first thing I thought after reading this Strib editorial was that the sole focus is on Republicans’ refusal to raise taxes in a faltering economy. The next thing I thought about is that the Twin Cities media never thinks about economic growth as part of the budget equation.

Word came from the Department of Transportation that the bridge is now deemed a critical service by the Dayton administration. The courts willing, the governor now aims to continue the bridge’s regular rise and fall if other government functions cease.

So Republicans replayed last week’s talking points instead. They asked Dayton to call them into special session before a full budget agreement is in place, something he has said he will not do.

And they gave no indication that they are willing to spend more than the $34 billion contained in bills that Dayton vetoed last month.

I can’t express my disappointment with the Twin Cities media strongly enough. Rather than thinking in terms of what’s best for Minnesota’s economy, the Twin Cities media has focused on funding an antiquated form of government that was outdated by Clinton administration standards.

At no point in their editorial does the Strib editorial staff talk about how important putting in place policies that let job creators create jobs. At no point does the Strib editorial board consider the possibility that a strong economy properly funds Minnesota’s priorities.

This paragraph is particularly infuriating:

That turned the bridge into an emblem of misplaced focus by state leaders, on both sides. With only days remaining before the shutdown deadline, lawmakers ought to have been devoting all of their energies Monday to pursuit of a bipartisan compromise.

Immediately after that paragraph, the Strib returned to attacking Republicans. What a waste of bandwidth and ink.
As for “pursuit of a bipartisan compromise”, I’d argue that doing what’s best for Minnesota should rate as a higher priority. I don’t give a damn if an agreement is bipartisan in nature. When the DFL intends on looking out only for their special interest allies, then something is seriously wrong.

I’ve said it before and I’ll repeat it again: the DFL is the party that wants to fund a 1970s form of government; Republicans are the party that wants to build a 21st Century economy. It’s just that simple.

Rumors had been swirling that GOP leaders had finally recognized what was apparent to most Minnesotans soon after the 2010 election: Enacting a new budget would require that Republicans meet the new DFL governor at least partway, with a larger budget than “no new taxes” affords.

Again, political realities be damned. Doing what’s right for Minnesotans is most important. I don’t want to play nice if the other side has shown that they’re only interested in doing what’s in their special interest allies’ best interest.

While it’s true that fixing Minnesota’s economy won’t straighten out all of our problems, I’m confident that taking that step would help alot.

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Based on information contained in MAPE’s statement, thinking people must ask these simple questions:

  1. How long have MAPE and other PEU’s been coordinating with Gov. Dayton and the DFL on Dayton’s shutdown?
  2. Have MAPE and other PEU’s planned on a lengthy shutdown?

Here’s the information on the MAPE website:

Shutdown Eve Vigil and Cookout Join your fellow state employees and concerned citizens as we witness a solemn and historic event, the literal closing of the Capitol symbolizing the state government shutdown. Prior to the vigil, there will be a cookout at 411 Main from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm.

Shutdown Eve Vigil
Pre-Vigil Cookout Thursday June 30th
9:00-11:00 PM
State Capitol Steps
St. Paul

Shutdown Eve Cookout
Thursday June 30th
6:30-8:30 PM
411 S Main St
Saint Paul

We know this is a very stressful time for state employees. If you have questions about the memorandum of understanding, health insurance or other issues please call our information line at 651-287-9672.

In addition, MAPE is working with other unions to hold a shutdown resource fair where members can seek guidance and assistance. The Resource Fair will be 3:00-7:00 PM on Wednesday June 29th at 411 S Main St in Saint Paul.

Ongoing Events: Throughout July, MAPE members will continue to show solidarity and put pressure on elected officials to end the budget impasse.

End the Shutdown Rally As we approach the one-week mark of the shutdown we will return to the Capitol to ask our elcted leaders to compromise and find a solution.
Wednesday July 6th 4:30 to 6:30 PM
State Capitol Front Steps

Team MAPE Legislative Phone Bank Help us contact MAPE members in key legislative districts and ask them to call their legislators.
Tuesday July 5th
3:00-6:00 PM
MAPE 1st floor 3460 Lexington Ave North Shoreview, MN

Coalition Ring of Fire Lit Drops Drop literature in targeted districts asking constituents to contact their legislators.
Saturday July 9th 10:00 AM
Multiple locations around the state
Contact for more info.

Team MAPE Legislative Phone Bank Tuesday July 12th
3:00-6:00 PM
MAPE 1st floor 3460 Lexington Ave North Shoreview, MN

Coalition Ring of Fire Lit Drops
Saturday July 16th
10:00 AM Multiple locations around the state
Contact for more info.

The most noticeable thing in MAPE’s statement is what isn’t there. Notice that these dates didn’t include the routine disclaimer that all dates are subject to necessity. The next most noticeable thing in MAPE’s statement is that they’ve got these events scheduled out over the next 3 weeks. That’s pretty extraordinary event planning for something that might be concluded without a shutdown.

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According to a tweet by Rep. Ryan Winkler, Republicans will “cave”. It’s a matter of when, not if. Here’s the text of Rep. Winkler’s tweet from last Wednesday:

Rep. Ryan Winkler (DFL-Golden Valley) has said he believes that if courts refuse to fund “core services” during a shutdown, this would force Gov. Mark Dayton and GOP leaders to reach a budget agreement.

The GOP will cave. Only question is if they do it [before] they cause shutdown,” Winkler Tweeted last Wednesday.

If Rep. Winkler were a professional athlete, his tweet would be posted on his opponent’s chalkboard before the next game. It’s what’s known in pro sports as chalkboard material. When a player predicts his team’s win, he’d better back it up by winning. Otherwise, his prediction serves only to motivate his opponent’s team.

Prior to reading Rep. Winkler’s quote, I’d talked with numerous GOP legislators. Frankly, I don’t think they’ll cave. After finding out about Rep. Winkler’s quote and after putting a complete, balanced budget together, I’m betting that Republicans will stand their ground.

The likelihood of Republicans caving goes down if you factor in the Pi-Press’s anti-Dayton op-ed:

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton has attempted to position himself as interested in compromise. Though both sides have compromised, the governor seems to have had the better of the “I compromised and they didn’t” spin.

But it’s not that simple. Rather than work out differences and sign off on large portions of the budget on which agreement is within reach, Dayton has as of this writing refused to get deals done and preserve operations in those parts of government. This is not compromise. This is hostage taking.

The governor is threatening to unnecessarily shut down portions of government to have his way on other, more contentious budget matters. We understand his desire to bring the greatest possible pressure to bear on the Legislature in support of his promise to raise taxes on higher incomes. Politics ain’t beanbag. But the unnecessary infliction of pain is not consistent with an attitude of compromise.

For a Twin Cities newspaper to say that Gov. Dayton is “threatening to unnecessarily shut down portions of government” is unthinkable most days. In fact, it might be unprecedented.

Regardless of whether it’s unprecedented, it should be enough to stiffen the spines of any wobblies that might still exist. I’ve talked with activists around the state. That they’re calling and emailing their legislators telling their legislators that doing the right thing will be rewarded is making a difference, too.

Rep. Winkler is likely considered a rising star in the DFL. If that’s the DFL’s version of a rising star, the DFL is hurting.

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If I had a sawbuck for each time the DFL used the term “all-cuts budget”, I’d be a wealthy man. This morning, this LTE was published in the Tuesday edition of the St. Cloud Times. I note that because it cites an organization called the Joint Religious Legislative Coalition. I have a habit of questioning any organization that I’m not familiar with. This search, like so many other searches, turned up interesting fruit. I found this on the JRLC’s current action alert page:


The 2011 legislative session officially ended on May 23. The legislature offered their cuts-only budget and Governor Dayton vetoed the bill. Without a final budget solution, the state is headed toward a special session and potentially a government shutdown on July 1 if a compromise is not reached before the deadline.

Isn’t it interesting that the DFL chanting point and the JRLC’s chanting point are equally inaccurate and similar sounding? Actuallly, it isn’t as odd as you might think. Any organization with an innocent-sounding name automatically jumps to the top of my “Suspicions List”.

First, this post highlights the inaccuracy of the DFL’s chanting points and the JRLC’s chanting points:

SEN. COHEN: We’re going to be passing a budget that is billions and billions and billions and billions of dollars and at a level that we’ve never done before in the history of the state. The 12-13 budget will be $34.33 billions of dollars in general fund dollars taxed to the citizens of Minnesota. The 10-11 budget two years ago was $30.171 billion, I believe.

So the difference is over $4 billion, I believe. The largest state general fund budget ever, ever, ever, in the history of the state of Minnesota.

It’s impossible to say that a budget that’s the “largest state general fund budget ever, ever, ever, ever” in Minnesota history is a cuts-only budget.

It’s impossible to simultaneously argue that a budget that’s the biggest in state history is a cuts-only budget.

I looked at other likeminded organizations mentioned on the Joint Religious Legislative Coalition’s website. This pdf gives advice on how to right letters to the editor. It also has this advice:

Talking Points:
Talk about why saving Homeless Programs are important to you.

One of the sister organizations to the Joint Religious Legislative Coalition is the Minnesota Homeless Coalition. One of the Minnesota Homeless Coalition’s Resource pages relates to curriculum to be taught in schools. Here’s a little glimpse into that curriculum:

The Coalition provides a one-of-a-kind curriculum series to help teachers, young people, and their families will gain a greater awareness of the causes of homelessness and the devastating impact it has on people’s lives.

We also hope that this curriculum will be a valuable resource for your school to increase the sensitivity of staff and students, so that this school is a welcoming and caring place for those children who do not have a home.

First, the MHC can’t put a priority on basic punctuation and grammar because those paragraphs are filled with poor punctuation and terrible grammar. Instead of saying that “The Coalition provides a one-of-a-kind curriculum series to help teachers, young people, and their families will gain a greater awareness of the causes of homelessness”, it should read “The Coalition provides a one-of-a-kind curriculum series to help teachers, young people, and their families gain a greater awareness of the causes of homelessness.”

Instead of saying this “We also hope that this curriculum will be a valuable resource for your school to increase the sensitivity of staff and students, so that this school is a welcoming and caring place for those children who do not have a home”, that sentence would read like this “We also hope that this curriculum will be a valuable resource for your school to increase the sensitivity of staff and students so that this school is a welcoming and caring place for those children who do not have a home” if it was using the proper punctuation.

I’d further add that that sentence wouldn’t read “We also hope that this curriculum will be a valuable resource for your school to increase the sensitivity of staff and students, so that this school is a welcoming and caring place for those children who do not have a home.” Instead, it would be broken down to say “We hope that this curriculum will be a valuable resource for schools. We hope that schools would be sensitive to the needs of those students who don’t have a home.”

The point is that the JRLC and the Minnesota Homeless Coalition are low-profile parts of the DFL. The JRLC represents the DFL first, the religious commmunities a distant second.

That’s why they speak with near unanimity.

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The big news in Minnesota politics today is rightly assigned to Michele Bachmann, particularly after surging even with Mitt Romney in Iowa. That said, Tim Pawlenty made noteworthy news today, too. First, here’s CNN’s take on Michele Bachmann:

Forget political pedigree, executive experience or ties to deep-pocketed donors.

No Republican presidential candidate is better positioned to capitalize on the recent tide of conservative anger toward President Barack Obama than Michele Bachmann.

Her charisma and crossover appeal to both social and fiscal conservatives have the three-term Minnesota congresswoman rising in the polls and primed to make a serious impact on the GOP nomination fight.

Bachmann, unlike several of her rivals making appeals to the Tea Party movement, has the resources and fundraising potential to steer her campaign beyond the crucial early states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

Though firmly on the insurgent side of the Republican field, she is also taking steps to position herself as a credible alternative to the crop of establishment-friendly White House contenders with deep pockets and long political resumes.

Quite awhile ago, I thought that Michele Bachmann’s name didn’t belong in the same sentence with U.S. president. It wasn’t that I didn’t think she had the chops. I knew early on that Michele was a conservative superstar long before her getting the CD-6 GOP endorsement:

This past Sunday, I had the opportunity to meet State Senator Michelle Bachmann. To say that I was impressed with her is understatement.

She was articulate in her presentation. She had a ready answer for all of the questions posed to her. Most of the people I talked with said that they were either impressed or very impressed with her speaking skills. Her energy was impressive, too.

It’s because I thought the DNC would mercilessly attack her in much the same way then-candidate Obama and the Obama shills in the media attacked Sarah Palin.

In the years since, Michele has given us plenty of reasons to be impressed. The reality is that, despite the noise her detractors make, she’s an impressive policy wonk on fiscal and national security issues.

Here’s Ed Morrissey’s take on Pawlenty’s good news:

For Pawlenty, his strong performance in a state-wide poll is rather remarkable, since Democrats here have been trying to dump blame on him for the current budget impasse in order to deflect criticism of the in-over-his-head new governor, Mark Dayton. Pawlenty wins majorities of voters between 35-64, although he trails with independents 39/51. He also wins big in the top two income demographics and ties Obama among $50K-$75K earners. Most impressively, Pawlenty comes within four points of Obama among Twin Cities voters, which are usually a Democratic stronghold. He also wins all other regions, including an 11-point margin in southern Minnesota, which is represented by Democrats in Congress (Peterson and Walz).

However, another way to look at this is that Obama has suddenly become very, very vulnerable in a state where he should be showing considerable strength. Despite efforts in the last three electoral cycles by national conservative organizations, Minnesota hasn’t come very close to going red in a presidential election. Upper Midwestern progressivism still thrives in Minnesota, even if it has seriously waned in Wisconsin. Republicans didn’t win a single state-wide office in the 2010 elections despite taking control of both chambers of the state legislature and scoring an upset in MN-08 with Chip Cravaack’s win over 18-term Rep. Jim Oberstar. Now, suddenly, Obama can’t score better than a tie against a candidate who has yet to gain significant national traction?

If I was Tim Pawlenty, I’d be encouraged by these results. If I was in Obama’s White House, I’d be very, very worried about them.

I agree with Ed saying that this is both good news for TPaw and terrible news for President Obama’s campaign. It fits, though, with my belief that President Obama is facing an uphill re-election fight. If President Obama has to spend tons of money to keep Minnesota in the blue column, then he’s a one-termer.

Still, this shouldn’t just be seen as President Obama’s weakness. TPaw is a formidable opponent who simply hasn’t caught fire yet. I wouldn’t be surprised if he gains momentum as people start deciding who they’re supporting.

Michele can tout her finish in the recent Iowa poll:

Romney, the national front-runner and a familiar face in Iowa after his 2008 presidential run, attracts support from 23 percent of likely Republican caucus-goers. Bachmann, who will officially kick off her campaign in Iowa on Monday, nearly matches him, with 22 percent.

“She’s up there as a real competitor and a real contender,” said Republican pollster Randy Gutermuth, who is unaffiliated with any of the presidential candidates. “This would indicate that she’s going to be a real player in Iowa.”

The fact that Michele’s running that strong this early says she’s doing something right. It says she’ll do well in the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses.
All in all, that’s a pair of pretty promising surprises for Republicans of national prominence.

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Alot of things have been talked about, including whether taxes should be hiked, whether a $4,000,000,000 spending increase is enough and whether Gov. Dayton’s tax hike will strengthen Minnesota’s economy. (They won’t.)

The thing that hasn’t been talked about is whether DFL moderates would step in and tell Gov. Dayton that his policies would hurt Minnesota’s economy without putting Minnesota’s budget on a sustainable path.

The DFL has called for Republicans to compromise by giving into Gov. Dayton’s tax increase. Nobody has called on John Benson, Denise Dittrich, Andrew Falk or Patti Fritz to compromise. Why is it automatically assumed by the Twin Cities media that only Republicans should make major compromises? (Yes, that’s a rhetorical question.)

The reality is that so-called moderate DFL legislators haven’t stepped forward and acted like statesmen and women. In Realityville, people of all partisan stripes understand that you reform government by eliminating redundancies and agencies who’ve experienced mission creep.

It’s predictable that hardliners like Sandy Pappas, Ryan Winkler, Larry Pogemiller and Paul Thissen would reject the GOP’s reform agenda. I couldn’t picture them voting to change the status quo that’s been in place since the 1970s.

Still, I’d hoped that moderate DFL legislators would stand with Dan Fabian, King Banaian and Keith Downey in reforming government. By supporting their common sense reforms, they could’ve forced Gov. Dayton to expose his extremist agenda or force him into signing legislation that would’ve helped Minnesotans for a generation.

I don’t doubt that there are relatively moderate DFL legislators. What I’m having my doubts about, however, is whether these DFL legislators will stand up to leadership and start changing the political landscape.

With that said, there’s one DFL legislator who hasn’t hesitated in bucking DFL leadership is Rep. Gene Pelowski. To his credit, Rep. Pelowski has frequently done the right thing. Here’s hoping that Rep. Pelowski gets lots of reinforcements soon.

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