Archive for March, 2014

In 2007, Julianne Ortman voted for the Next Generation Energy Act, aka the NGEA. The vote was 59-5. Here’s one of the requirements of the NGEA:

The plan must determine the feasibility, assess the costs and benefits, and recommend how the state could adopt a regulatory system that imposes a cap on the aggregate air pollutant emissions of a group of sources, requires those subject to the cap to own an allowance for each ton of the air pollutant emitted, and allows for market-based trading of those allowances. The evaluation must contain an analysis of the state implementing a cap and trade system alone, in coordination with other states, and as a requirement of federal law applying to all states. The plan must recommend the parameters of a cap and trade system that includes a cap that would prevent significant increases in greenhouse gas emissions above current levels with a schedule for lowering the cap periodically to achieve the goals in subdivision 1 and interim goals recommended under paragraph (a).

This sentence jumps off the page:

The plan must recommend the parameters of a cap and trade system that includes a cap that would prevent significant increases in greenhouse gas emissions above current levels.

I’ll stipulate that this vote was taken long before then-Sen. Obama made his infamous comments about his Cap & Trade bill:

I was the first to call for a 100% auction on the cap and trade system, which means that every unit of carbon or greenhouse gases emitted would be charged to the polluter. That will create a market in which whatever technologies are out there that are being presented, whatever power plants that are being built, that they would have to meet the rigors of that market and the ratcheted down caps that are being placed, imposed every year.

So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.

Still, policymakers knew that Cap & Trade would significantly increase the price of electricity. Sen. Ortman voted for a bill that a) imposes a cap on greenhouse gases and b) increased the cost of generating electricity. How is that the right thing to do? At the time, did Sen. Ortman think this bill would make life better for the average Minnesotan?

The NGEA didn’t just raise the price of electricity. It created a significant burden for energy transmission companies:

The plan must include recommendations for improvements in the emissions inventory and recommend whether the state should require greenhouse gas emissions reporting from specific sources and, if so, which sources should be required to report.

In other words, the NGEA increased compliance costs for power plants. That necessarily drives up the price of electricity. Unfortunately, there’s still more to this horrific bill:

The state must, to the extent possible, with other states in the Midwest region, develop and implement a regional approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from activities in the region, including consulting on a regional cap and trade system.

NGEA also created new responsibilities for state government. It’s a public employee union’s dream come true because it requires people to monitor regional greenhouse gas emissions.

According to FactCheck.org, the NGEA requires Minnesota to reduce GHGs, aka Greenhouse Gases, by 80%:

But the Next Generation Energy Act of 2007 didn’t “only” take “steps on renewable energy,” as Pawlenty said. It established strict statewide greenhouse gas reduction targets of 15 percent below 2005 levels by 2015 and 80 percent below those levels by 2050.

The fact that Sen. Ortman voted with the overwhelming majority in support of the BGEA isn’t comforting. Minnesota doesn’t need a politician that goes with the flow. Minnesotans need a leader who does the right thing.

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This morning, Rep. Matt Dean and Sen. Roger Chamberlain submitted a bill that would strip funding for Sen. Bakk’s Office Building:

Republican legislators are pushing a bill that would block construction of the much-maligned new Senate office building complex. Already a source of criticism from many conservatives, the building is now the subject of legislation brought by Rep. Matt Dean, R-Dellwood, and Sen. Roger Chamberlain, R-Lino Lakes, that would strip the crucial language from the 2013 tax bill, leaving the $90 million project unfunded.

Dean and Chamberlain highlighted their bill with a Monday morning Capitol press conference. Joined by numerous other GOP lawmakers, they spelled out a number of complaints with the construction plan, which they say is unpopular and unnecessary.

“Republicans’ priorities are family first, people first, before the needs of politicians,” Chamberlain said.

I can’t see Speaker Thissen letting this bill get a hearing, which means passing this bill is virtually dead in the water. Thissen can’t afford to let the bill get out of committee and to the House floor for a vote on final passage. If it gets a vote on final passage, his vulnerable members would have to choose between voting against the bill, which is political suicide or voting for the bill, which would put the Senate in a difficult position.

Frankly, this is a political hot potato for the DFL. Most DFL legislators in the House and Senate voted for the Office Building. Some, like Zach Dorholt, have said that they voted for the bill because they wanted to vote for the tax increases. If this comes up for a vote, Rep. Dorholt would have to decide whether he’ll leave Sen. Bakk and other DFL legislators hanging or if he’d vote against the Chamberlain-Dean legislation.

If the Chamberlain-Dean bill passes the House, Sen. Bakk will be in a predicament. If he tables it, it’ll create an anti-DFL backlash across the state. Every DFL legislator will be tagged as part of the party that puts politicians first. Voters won’t make a distinction between senators and representatives just like they don’t differentiate between DC politicians and state legislators.

The prevailing storyline will be DFL legislators looking out for each other. Either that or it’ll be politicians putting themselves first, families way down the list. This is a heads, the DFL loses, tail and the DFL can’t win situation. This is brilliant from a tactical standpoint.

That’s before talking about Jim Knoblach’s appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court. The first judge essentially ruled that anything could be included in the Tax Bill because it finances state or local government operations. In other words, that judge gutted the Single Subject Clause of Minnesota’s constitution.

If the Supreme Court rules the way the first court should’ve ruled, the Chamberlain-Dean bill will be moot.

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Tim Walz knows how to play the DC spin game. This article is proof of that:

At the U.S. Capitol, Walz said, “there’s not democracy.” Instead, “there’s just a speaker who holds a gavel.” The only legislation that can get voted on is that which the House speaker allows.

The reason Tim Walz is in the minority is because the politicians he voted for for Speaker didn’t just hold the House hostage. Then-Speaker Pelosi wouldn’t even let Republicans participate in writing a bill the vast majority of Americans didn’t want. It wasn’t enough for Ms. Pelosi to play the role of tyrant. She wasn’t satisfied until she ruled with an iron fist.

I don’t recall Rep. Walz complaining about Ms. Pelosi’s dictatorial stranglehold on the House from 2007-2011. Perhaps that’s because getting his way was the only principle that mattered to him.

Walz wasn’t the only spinmeister on stage:

With Republicans in charge of the Legislature and a Republican governor, Smith said, Minnesota ended up with a $6 billion debt.Under Democratic control, the deficit was erased, and money has been put aside for future emergencies.

Tina Smith should be ridiculed and criticized for lying like that. There’s never been a time when a Republican governor got to work with Republican majorities in the House and Senate. N-E-V-E-R. In 2010, Republicans gained control of the Minnesota Senate since it became a partisan election in 1972. From 1972 through 2010, Democrats had a stranglehold on the Senate.

That part of Smith’s BS is bad enough but that isn’t the only BS Smith peddled. In 2011, Republicans inherited a $6,000,000,000 deficit from Sen. Pogemiller and Speaker Kelliher. Sen. Pogemiller had a veto-proof DFL majority in the Senate while Speaker Kelliher lead 87 Democrats in the 134-member in the House.

When the DFL regained control of the House and Senate in 2012, Sen. Bakk and Speaker Thissen inherited a $640,000,000 deficit, not a $6,000,000,000 deficit.

That means Smith was only off by $5,360,000,000. In other words, she was as close to being accurate on the deficit as Gov. Dayton was with the e-tabs projection. That means neither was particularly accurate.

If spin was a $100 bill, the DFL could pay off the national debt. If accuracy and honesty was a gold bar, Walz and Smith couldn’t afford a stick of gum.

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This news article could’ve been written by Denise Cardinal or Carrie Lucking:

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton signed a $616 million tax cut plan for the state on Friday, and this is one measure that can truly be described as “bi-partisan.”

Lawmakers tell us that the bill was in the works for a short while as everyone knew this was something the state desperately needed.

Minnesota State Rep. Kim Norton, (D) Rochester, says she’s thrilled to have this bill passed and signed by the governor and having it pass quickly as some of the cuts apply to tax returns being filed right now.

“The Senate took the bill on the House floor this last week,” she said, “it was sent over to the house, we concurred with their bill very quickly, there was a little bit of discussion but there were no amendments on the house side. We were able to vote it into law and send it to the governor for his signature very quickly.”

It might have been a speedy process, but it was thorough.

That’s the definition of spin. First, the bill that Gov. Dayton just signed isn’t a tax cut. It’s mostly the repeal of a tiny portion of last year’s tax increase, which was the biggest tax increase in Minnesota history. Next, the amount of taxes repealed didn’t come close to $616,000,000. It’s been reported that the repeal saved Minnesota taxpayers $440,000,000. Repealing taxes that haven’t gone into effect isn’t a tax cut.

Third, this bill wasn’t in the works just “a short while.” The repeal of the warehouse services sales tax, the farm equipment repair sales tax and the telecommunications sales tax were initially proposed prior to last summer’s special session. That’s 7 months ago. That’s longer than a legislative session by a couple months.

Fourth, the tax repair bill that Gov. Dayton signed wasn’t signed because he and the DFL legislature love cutting taxes. Gov. Dayton didn’t sign this bill because he hates raising taxes. Gov. Dayton signed this bill because not repealing these taxes would’ve been political suicide.

Fifth, the process wasn’t thorough. I wrote here about how little the DFL thought their tax increases through. Here’s the transcript between Rep. Kurt Zellers and Commissioner Myron Frans:

REP. ZELLERS: But if I pay him every month $20 or $100, is that going to be or is he going to have to start collecting sales tax and remitting it to the State of Minnesota?
COMMISSIONER FRANS: …He probably would. If it was a monthly charge, then there likely would be a sales tax charge.
REP. ZELLERS: So then someone mowing my lawn, someone shovelling snow for me during the winter time or a babysitter?
COMMISSIONER FRANS: Those services would generally all be covered by the sales tax.

The DFL’s leadership didn’t even think basic things through. Commissioner Frans couldn’t even answer basic questions about what would and wouldn’t be taxed.

Republicans shouldn’t kid themselves. The DFL’s praetorian guard, aka the Agenda Media, is already running interference for the DFL. Think of what it’ll be like when the campaign gets into full swing. Republicans should get out ahead of this issue now and return to it repeatedly. This isn’t the time to take things for granted. It’s time to demolish the Agenda Media’s premise before it’s considered the truth.

Repealing a tiny portion of the biggest tax increase in Minnesota history is just that: the repealing of a tiny portion of the biggest tax increase in Minnesota history.

A thief who steals some jewelry, a hi-definition big screen TV and some kitchen appliances is still a thief if the thief returns the kitchen appliances.

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The headline to this Strib article should be treated with proper skepticism. Here’s the article’s lede:

Despite months of glitches, embarrassments and finger pointing, Minnesota’s health insurance exchange is on the verge of reaching its goal to sign up 135,000 people by March 31.

More than 1,000 Minnesotans are enrolling daily as MNsure enters the final days for consumers to buy insurance or face a financial penalty. Enrollment in government programs for those with low incomes has been particularly strong, offsetting figures for commercial health plans that are much lower than expected.

TRANSLATION: Things are going better than expected. MNsure isn’t the disaster Republicans initially predicted.

Here’s a little cold water for the Strib’s celebration:

As of Wednesday, only about 20,400 (16 percent) were ages 26-34, well short of the ideal goal of 54,000.

If only 16% of the people who enroll through MNsure are young healthies, insurance premiums will skyrocket. Here’s what Ed Morrissey said about those statistics:

Most of the plans that these younger consumers can afford come with deductibles that far exceed the $3,000 out-of-pocket per household estimate, which sounds fantastically high in the first place, especially for that demographic. They will have to pay those deductible costs plus the premiums, which will also run in the thousands of dollars, before they see a single dollar in benefits. That’s why most of that demographic got catastrophic insurance coverage … before ObamaCare took that choice away from them.

TRANSLATION: Young healthies get ripped off by the ACA, aka Obamacare.

For all of the Strib’s happy talk, the truth will be revealed this September when adverse selection hits:

The term adverse selection was originally used in insurance. It describes a situation wherein an individual’s demand for insurance (the propensity to buy insurance and the quantity purchased) is positively correlated with the individual’s risk of loss (higher risks buy more insurance), and the insurer is unable to allow for this correlation in the price of insurance.

In other words, insurance companies get hurt because, in the current scenario, most of the people purchasing insurance are older and less healthy. The insurance companies need lots of younger and healthier people purchasing insurance. Hypothetically speaking, young, healthy people pay in their premiums but rarely file claims, which is exactly what’s needed to pay the claims that older, less healthy people file.

The bottom line isn’t difficult to understand. When lots of money is paid out in claims but a relatively small amount of premiums are collected, the insurance companies have 2 choices. They can either go out of business or they can raise premiums. Since companies aren’t likely to want to lose everything, raising premiums is the only legitimate option.

That’s what we’ll see this fall. That’s when the Strib’s happy talk won’t mean much.

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President Potter’s monthly editorial for the SC Times hits all the right-sounding notes. Unfortunately, there isn’t much in the key paragraphs that match with reality. Here’s an example:

Students and their families are seeking educational opportunities that offer the greatest value, and campuses are putting greater focus on containing costs while maintaining high-quality educational programs.

That isn’t at all in touch with reality at St. Cloud State, where they’re spending millions of dollars each year on their lease with the Wedum Foundation, the contract with the St. Cloud Police Department, the Confucious Institute and the Community Garden.

President Potter’s response will be that he’s cut millions of dollars in spending, which is true. Unfortunately, what’s true is that he’s cut viable programs that were generating revenues through large enrollments. (Think Aviation program, the 10th largest program at the University at the time it was closed.) Cutting major programs while spending money on things the University doesn’t need is the definition of foolishness.

There’s no question parents and students alike are looking for the best value for their higher education dollars. It’s that St. Cloud State is on the verge of retrenchment, which wouldn’t be needed if President Potter had spent money wisely.

Can anyone say that paying Earthbound Media Group almost $500,000 for rebranding was smart? Was it smart to pay $50,000 to the Great Place to Work Institute for the right to use their logo? I’m betting the answer to both questions was an emphatic no.

For vibrant campuses such as St. Cloud State University, which offers broad and accessible educational opportunities for today’s students as well as future generations, keeping tuition costs affordable is of vital importance. This is not a job we can do without help.

President Potter should be frog-marched off the campus for saying something this dishonest. SCSU’s enrollment has shrunk 17.9% since FY2010. This year’s enrollment figures still haven’t been finalized but they’re declining again. Next year will be another year of decline.

What part of that suggests SCSU is a vibrant campus? And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. This graph shows how dissatisfied the faculty is with President Potter’s administration:
they’re either corrupt or totally clueless. This graphic contains the results of the Great Place to Work Institute’s survey conducted at St. Cloud State:

According to that graphic, only 26% of faculty thinks President Potter “delivers on its promises.” Only 24% think that management’s, aka President Potter’s, “actions match its words.”

Enrollment is declining, the administration is deleting students’ failing grades from the students’ transcripts and people don’t trust President Potter’s administration. If that’s the definition of a vibrant campus, I’d argue that there isn’t a definition for a failing campus.

It’s decision time for the St. Cloud Times. Either they start reporting on what’s actually happening on campus or they should announce on the front page that they’ve volunteered to be President Potter’s off-campus PR firm. Publishing this type of BS is why the Times is a dying newspaper.

If people appreciate hearing the truth about SCSU, they can show that appreciation by dropping their spare change in my tip jar. Otherwise, they’ll be stuck with the St. Cloud Times publishing President Potter’s spin while refusing to publish the truth about St. Cloud State.

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Last week, the DFL Senate’s spin about passing ‘tax relief’ was that the DFL added money to Minnesota’s Rainy Day Fund while providing tax relief to the people:

Nearly every Republican joined most DFLers in backing it, but GOP members criticized the majority for a provision in the bill that adds $150 million to state budget reserves. That brings the state’s rainy-day fund to more than $800 million, but Republicans said that money should go back to taxpayers too.

This puts the DFL in a difficult position. When they talk about a bonding bill, their predictable mantra is that spending x amount of dollars in a bonding bill creates thousands of jobs. When they’re talking about tax relief, though, taking $800,000,000 out of the private sector’s hands, the DFL’s argument essentially is that this doesn’t hurt job creation.

Having some money in the Rainy Day Fund is appropriate but having almost $1,000,000,000 in the Rainy Day Fund is criminal because it’s taking money that should be used for creating jobs and putting it away to maintain government spending longer than government spending should be maintained.

The other thing that the DFL has to be exposed on is the myth that the surplus is proof that Minnesota’s economy is booming. That’s BS. The government is wealthier than it was with the GOP legislature but that’s it. The surplus is proof that the DFL’s tax increase is stealing too much money from families and small businesses.

The DFL is ok with that because the DFL has sworn its allegiance to growing government to the point that it’s intruding in people’s lives too much. The DFL objected to PolyMet until recently. They’re still objecting to the silica sand mining in southern Minnesota. They’re objecting while chanting ‘the environment’. Nowhere in their chanting points is there a mention about families needing the high-paying jobs that silica sand mining and PolyMet would provide.

The DFL’s Rainy Day rip-off is proof that the DFL’s highest priorities are feeding government while appeasing militant environmentalists. Those aren’t the average Minnesotan’s priorities. They want policies that create jobs that don’t require raising taxes to create. At this point, the DFL doesn’t champion policies like that.

The DFL’s policies promote intrusive, expensive and inefficient government. How many people know that taxpayers’ money is being used to lobby the legislature to spend more of the taxpayers’ money? The Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities spent $840,000 lobbying for the legislature to spend more of the taxpayers’ money. While they’re the biggest in that classification, they weren’t the only organization doing that. The League of Minnesota Cities spent $628,945 lobbying the legislature to spend more of the taxpayers’ money on cities.

The definition of corruption is using the taxpayers’ money to convince legislators that they aren’t spending enough of the taxpayers’ money. In that scenario, the taxpayers are getting shafted twice. How isn’t that corrupt?

That’s before talking about the millions of dollars being paid to legislative liaisons. Legislative liaisons is government-speak for taxpayer-funded lobbyists. State agencies are littered with legislative liaisons. If that position was eliminated from state government, government spending would drop dramatically.

It isn’t that legislative liaisons get expensive salaries. It’s that they convince DFL legislators to spend tons of money they don’t need to spend.

If Minnesotans want a real economy, the DFL is the worst option. If Minnesotans want money spent efficiently, the DFL is the worst option. If Minnesota families want government dictating to them what they can and can’t do, then the DFL is the right choice. If Minnesota families want government ripping them off and putting productive money into a dead fund, then the DFL is the only choice.

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According to this article, Sen. Bakk rebutted Sen. Hann’s reason for not suspending the rules so the Senate could pass the DFL’s Tax Repeal Bill:

Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk rebutted Hann’s argument, saying the bill had gone through only minor, technical changes during Thursday’s committee hearing, and pointing out that, by law, the Senate needed to act on a bill that had first passed through the House.

“Members, we might not get another tax bill — this might be it,” Bakk warned. He added: “If you want to wait until tomorrow to process it, that’s certainly within your control here today.”

Trusting Sen. Bakk isn’t wise. After all, Sen. Bakk is the tyrant who held the bill hostage so he could use it as leverage against the House. Sen. Bakk wanted to use that bill to extract a promise from Speaker Thissen that the House would approve Sen. Bakk’s Legislative Office Building project.

Why would we trust Sen. Bakk after that fiasco?

Which of Sen. Bakk’s recent actions indicate that he’s trustworthy? At the start of the week, Sen. Bakk insisted that the Senate was just doing their due diligence on the House’s bill. Then Gov. Dayton criticized the DFL Senatea for dragging their feet. Within an hour of Gov. Dayton’s criticism, Sen. Bakk announced that the Senate Taxes Committee would hear the bill the next day.

FYI- I don’t believe in coincidences, which means I don’t believe that Sen. Bakk’s newfound urgency was triggered by anything other than political pressure.

While Democrats haven’t hesitated in voting for something they hadn’t read, Republicans are more cautious. Republicans insisted on reading the bill before voting on it. That’s the sensible thing to do. This is the perfect illustration that the DFL’s votes are calculated by political expediency.

“There is no good reason for Senate Republicans block the bill’s passage today,” Dayton said. “If Republican legislators force any further delays in either the Senate or the House, they will be solely responsible for denying income tax cuts to thousands of Minnesotans.”

Gov. Dayton’s statement was driven by either total dishonesty or by taking too much pain medication. First, Sen. Bakk whined that if he didn’t get his office building, the Senate would be kicked out to the street. This time, Gov. Dayton whined that Republicans were irresponsible for insisting on reading a major bill before voting on it. I’d argue that that’s a totally legitimate reason for their actions.

When the drama fades and the dust settles, several things will be apparent. It’ll be apparent that the DFL voted for the biggest tax increase in Minnesota history. It’ll be apparent that the DFL repealed the B2B sales taxes because they saw the political backlash it’d created. It’ll be apparent that Gov. Dayton signed the tax increases into law. It’ll become apparent that Sen. Bakk wanted to play political hardball with the Tax Repair Bill. It’ll become apparent that the DFL’s mentality is to raise taxes first, then determine whether raising taxes was the right thing to do.

Additionally, it’ll become apparent that the DFL, including their media apologists, is shifting into spin mode in their attempt to hide the DFL’s disaster.

I’ll be here to counter the DFL’s spin. If that’s important to you, feel free to drop a few coins in my tip jar so I can continue fighting the good fight.

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This article sickens me because it’s intellectually dishonest. Baird Helgeson is intent on portraying the DFL as heroic tax cutters. That’s BS. The DFL is the party that taxes first, then waits to see if there’s a backlash. If there’s a backlash, they pass a Tax Repair Bill like they did Friday.

“This is a monumental victory for the DFL leadership in the Legislature and just shows that we have a balanced approach to Minnesota,” Dayton said during a celebratory news conference with DFL House and Senate leaders. “That’s what people wanted.”

Despite Gov. Dayton’s attempt to praise the DFL leadership in the House and Senate, it’s just proof that Gov. Dayton is intent on painting over his criticism of Sen. Bakk earlier this week. Here’s what he said earlier this week:

I’m very disappointed that we have not been able to reach a bill and frankly, we’ve got a meeting this afternoon with House and Senate leaders. I just have to say that the impasse isn’t around the tax bill. It’s about the Legislative Office Building and the Senate’s insistence that they have the building and they aren’t willing to let a reasonable tax bill proceed on a timely basis until they get the building and the House’s unwillingness at this point to agree to that. So I hope that Minnesotans will communicate with their legislators, and these are Democrat legislators, I’m sorry to say, that this is inexcusable and unacceptable.

Which is it, Gov. Dayton? Does Sen. Bakk deserve praise for stalling a bill to pressure the House into approving Bakk’s Palace? Does the DFL deserve praise for passing the biggest tax increase in Minnesota history last year, then repealing a tiny fraction of them this year? Does the DFL deserve praise for raising taxes and fees by $2,400,000,000 last year, then giving $440,000,000 of that back this year?

Minnesotans shouldn’t be happy that the DFL finally listened to them. They shouldn’t be happy that the DFL did the right thing only after the DFL started worrying about this year’s elections. That isn’t representing the people. That’s voting the DFL’s ideology.

It’s proof that the DFL will always do the right thing…when it’s the only option left.

The House and Senate passed the bill overwhelmingly on Friday. Nearly every Republican joined most DFLers in backing it, but GOP members criticized the majority for a provision in the bill that adds $150 million to state budget reserves. That brings the state’s rainy-day fund to more than $800 million, but Republicans said that money should go back to taxpayers too.

Putting that much money into the state’s rainy day fund is criminal. That’s stealing money from businesses that would create jobs with it. The DFL is putting money aside so the DFL won’t have to spend money efficiently. They’d rather pay off their special interest allies with the taxpayers’ hard-earned money. The DFL wouldn’t be able to pay off their special interest allies with taxpayers money if money was spent efficiently. It’s time the DFL stopped feeding their special interest allies and started representing their constituents.

Thus far, the DFL hasn’t proven that they’re interested in doing the right thing the first time. They’ve proven quite the opposite. This week, the DFL proved that they’ll do the right thing only when they’re worried about the next election.

That isn’t leadership. That’s called brinksmanship, which shouldn’t be rewarded with praise. This isn’t tax relief:

Much of the tax relief is delivered by conforming to recent changes in federal tax law, and about $57 million of it is retroactive to taxes paid in 2013.

Typically, tax conformity is the first bill passed by the legislature each year. It’s typically the first bill the governor signs each year. By waiting until after thousands of people have filed their tax returns before passing the tax conformity bill, the DFL just caused taxpayers the headache of filing an amended return. The DFL didn’t give thousands of people the opportunity to do their taxes once. Instead, Sen. Bakk opted to force thousands to file amended returns.

That isn’t cause for celebration. That’s cause for criticism. The DFL, specifically Sen. Bakk, put a high priority on getting the Senate Office Building approved. The DFL, especially Sen. Bakk, didn’t put a high priority on passing what I’m calling the Tax Repair Bill. Sen. Bakk said that the Senate couldn’t be rushed into passing the Tax Repair Bill because they were studying the impacts the tax repeals would have.

Sen. Bakk said that until he was exposed as playing political games with the Tax Repair Bill. Then he went into warp speed.

The GOP deserves praise in this for not supporting the biggest tax increase in Minnesota history. The GOP deserves praise for not buying into the DFL’s counterproductive tax increases. Minnesotans deserve praise for passionately criticizing the DFL’s tax increases.

UPDATE: This video is sickening:

Speaker Thissen spoke about tax relief for possibly 1,000,000 Minnesotans. Sen. Bakk praised the DFL for working at warp speed to get these tax ‘cuts’ passed. Isn’t it interesting that Sen. Bakk conveniently omitted the part about how he tried holding the tax repeals hostage to force the House to approve his Senate Office Building project? He didn’t budge until Gov. Dayton threw him under the bus because the political backlash was threatening a second Dayton term.

Sen. Bakk deserves criticism for playing politics with this Tax Repair Bill. Speaker Thissen and Gov. Dayton deserve criticism for passing the original tax increases which they repealed Friday. The DFL ‘leadership’ deserves criticism for putting a higher priority on voting their ideology than representing their constituents.

The good news is that we can fix two-thirds of the problem this November.

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I wrote this post to highlight the Agenda Media’s willingness to parrot the DFL’s ‘tax cut’ rhetoric. Frankly, it’s insulting intellectually to hear them say that the DFL is cutting taxes. A little history lesson will illustrate the intellectual emptiness of the DFL’s claims.

Let’s start with 2010, when voters swept in a class of reformers, giving Republicans majorities in the House and Senate. That group of legislators started with a $6,200,000,000 deficit. Gov. Dayton immediately proposed the biggest tax increases in Minnesota history.

When the February budget forecast came out, the projected deficit had ‘dropped’ to $5,030,000,000. Immediately, Gov. Dayton took several proposed tax increases off the table. Here’s a list of Gov. Dayton’s tax increases:

Taxes: Largest Increase in History; Highest Rate in Nation –

New fifth tier of 13.95% for anyone earning over $500,000.
New fourth tier of 10.95% for single earning $85,000 or married filing jointly earning $150,000.
State property tax on Home Values over $1 million.
Closing Corporate and other Loopholes
Health Care Surcharges including the Granny Tax.
Other Tax Revenues including a car rental tax to help fund Minnesota tourism.
No complete payback of K-12 shift until 2023.

Spending: A 22% Increase

When the dust settled after the Dayton Shutdown, taxes weren’t raised. As a result, Minnesota’s economy rebounded. When the DFL took over the legislature, Gov. Dayton again proposed huge tax increases. He did this despite the fact that the projected deficit had dropped to $600,000,000. That’s quite the difference from the $6,200,000,000 deficit Republicans inherited.

Despite the tiny deficit, Gov. Dayton and the DFL proposed $2,400,000,000 in tax and fee increases. Gov. Dayton and the DFL included new business-to-business sales taxes in its ‘tax reform’ package. They also included increased LGA, allegedly to provide property tax relief.

Immediately, the business community criticized the B2B sales taxes and the income tax increases. Quickly, Gov. Dayton and the House DFL dropped those tax increases. The Senate DFL refused to play along with that. The Tax Bill that House and Senate Democrats voted for and that Gov. Dayton signed included those B2B tax increases along with money for Sen. Bakk’s Legislative Office Building.

Fast forward to this week. Gov. Dayton criticized Sen. Bakk for playing games with what I’m calling the DFL’s Tax Repair Bill. As a result, Sen. Bakk caved and eventually passed the Tax Repair Bill.

When a thief plunders a home, taking jewelry, high tech electronics and kitchen appliances, that’s a theft. If the thief returns the kitchen appliances, it’s still a theft. Similarly, raising taxes, then repealing a tiny portion of those taxes still means that the DFL raised taxes.

The reality is that Minnesota families will have a greater percentage of their paychecks confiscated because of the Dayton-DFL tax increases than they paid when this legislature was sworn in. That’s the verifiable reality.

Whether Heather Carlson, Mary Lahammer and Tom Scheck parrot the DFL’s chanting points, the plain truth is that Gov. Dayton and the DFL have raised taxes on every Minnesotan since taking office in 2013. No amount of tap-dancing by the DFL and the Agenda Media will change that.

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