Each week, different proof appears that the DFL is intent on eliminating the GOP’s reforms. Months ago, I wrote about the DFL’s attack on teacher accountability, aka HF0171. HF0171 would repeal the basic skills test for teachers that Gov. Dayton signed last year. This week, I wrote about the DFL’s attempt to eliminate the Sunset Advisory Commission.

If the DFL would put forward a good faith effort on reforming government, the Commission would be a great tool for increasing government accountability. In some instances, the Commission would force agencies to justify their existence. In other cases, it would force the agency to justify their staffing and funding levels.

First, why won’t the DFL explain who wrote the bill that would eliminate the basic skills test for teachers? Requiring teachers and applicants to pass such a test isn’t revolutionary. It’s sensible. Why, then, did the DFL write legislation that would eliminate that requirement? They aren’t doing it “for the children” because they’re the first people it’d shortchange. Their parents and other taxpayers are the next people this legislation would shortchange.

It isn’t a stretch to think that EdMinn wrote this legislation because it’s their job to protect union members. If EdMinn wrote that legislation, why isn’t Rep. Ward representing his constituents, not EdMinn? Perhaps Rep. Ward thinks that EdMinn is his constituent and that he doesn’t have to represent the people living in his district.

Second, why is the DFL insisting on eliminating a great tool for increasing government accountability and transparency? Without the Sunset Commission, government oversight doesn’t exist. As recently as last year, the DFL threw a hissy fit when Republicans sought to make government more efficient. They accused the GOP of “waging war against working families.” Eliot Seide held a press availability in which he got exceptionally agitated.

He talked about how Republicans hated “working families” because they questioned whether state agencies, commissions, councils and panels had outlived their usefulness or had expanded themselves beyond their original charter. The Commission’s purpose was to examine these entities, then tell the legislature whether they were still doing what they were created to do and whether that mission was still important.

We know that the DFL doesn’t believe in oversight because they rejected that notion in 2007. That’s when they insisted that spending should be adjusted for inflation. In the DFL’s thinking, once an appropriation is made, it should increase by the rate of inflation in the future.

Another GOP reform required the Minnesota Department of Revenue to factor federal taxes into their annual tax incidence report. Minnesota is one of a tiny handful of states that didn’t do that. Gov. Dayton signed that legislation into law. Now he’s signed it out of existence after the DFL legislature voted to repeal that requirement.

This year’s report had been prepared but it hadn’t been released. That report included federal taxes. The DFL moved quickly, eliminating the federal taxes requirement. The new tax incidence report doesn’t include federal taxes. First, the new report doesn’t give an accurate picture of Minnesota’s taxes. Second, it means that all the time that went into preparing the first report was for nothing.

Is that the type of government efficiency Minnesotans deserve? I’d argue it isn’t. I’d argue that that’s the type of waste that must be eliminated.

While we’re on the subject of taxes, let’s talk about the fact that the DFL isn’t committed to a progressive tax system. I’ll stipulate that they’re great advocates of progressive taxation during campaigns. That’s as far as it goes, though. Then-Candidate Dayton argued passionately for a more progressive taxation system during his campaign. In 2010, he criticized Tom Horner for supporting increases to the alcohol and cigarette taxes:

you’re in favor of raising taxes on alcohol and cigarettes, another regressive tax. So the difference between us is I want to raise taxes on the rich, and you want to raise taxes on sportsmen and women and and middle income working families.

This year, Gov. Dayton’s objections to increasing taxes on alcohol and cigarettes disappeared, most likely because he needs the revenues to increase the size and intrusiveness of state government.

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