What Do MN Senate Republicans and Donald Trump Have in Common?

The answer to the question of: What What Do MN Senate Republicans and Donald Trump Have in  Common?, is well you tell a lie enough times it doesn’t become the truth. The bald faced lie they continue to perpetuate is there intractability on moving from the State Office Building (SOB) to the new Senate Office Building will not cost the taxpayers any money is blatantly false.

Move Out Day is scheduled for Monday. New address 95 University Ave W.

By the Senate Republicans continuing to occupy the first floor of the SOB they are incurring unnecessary costs being born by the $56,000 rent being paid at 525 Park Street by the Legislative Revisor’s Office. In fact, the Revisor is adding an additional five people to their office for the session and will need to contract for more space. This means the $56,000 figure is low.

Republicans claim they can move their own stuff from their current offices and not incur an additional moving expense. This may be fine for their personal possessions, but it doesn’t include the furniture. So unless the Republican Senate Caucus is hiring college movers to insure and move the historical furniture there will need to be a second moving contract. Also, by standing pat, Republicans are delaying the restoration, refurbishment and reupholster of the furniture they are currently using in the SOB. We unsure are the cost this will incur.

The most laughable item we have learned is by staying at the SOB Senate Republicans are being coddled with bottled water. As of right now there is not any bottled water contracted for the new Senate Office Building, but there was a $30,000 contract over the 2014-15 biennium. This means, if the service is retained, the cost will be around $7,500.

Now, ultimately if we believe the specious Republican claims of never wanting the building and not being actively involved in the process, we ask why did three of their members receive per diem for the planning meetings?

Senator Majority Leader David Hann (R-48, Eden Prairie), never one known to tell the full truth and Senators Warren Limmer (R-34, Maple Grove) and Michele Fischbach (R-13, Panesville) all attended multiple planning meetings and went so far as to calling for the need of 67 offices. Another interesting fact is, Limmer said more than once he wanted the windows to open.

It is clear Senate Republicans are trying to gin up an issue for the 2016 election, but realistically, they had better find a better set of issues for their election campaign other than a St Paul office building, since turnout in a Presidential election year historically favor the DFL heavily.

We feel comfortable in predicting if Senate Republicans stay on their misguided course they will make a find veto proof minority in 2017.

$1.871 Billion Surplus Projected: Surprise DFL Seeks More Spending, and Republicans Tax Cuts

Ever since the tax policies advanced by the DFL majorities in both houses of the legislature, during the 2013-14 legislative session, and then signed by Governor Mark Dayton (DFL), the state of Minnesota has experienced surpluses and projected surpluses continue. This is a far cry from when Republicans controlled the state house and the Governor’s seat under Tim Pawlenty (R) when the opposite effect of deficits became the rule.

Yesterday, we learn the state’s revenue forecast is $1.871 billion, of which a portion, $665 million, must be allocate to the Budget Reserve $594 and $71 to the Environmental funds. Part of this surplus resulted from the $865 million left unspent during the last legislative session. This means the state will have additional monies to allot to a varied of programs, tax cuts and other activities. It is important to remind readers a tax cut is a diminishes revenue called tax expenditures.

The Revenue Forecast recognizes structural deficits in our projected workforce, which is aging, and there are fewer people entering the workforce to make up this shortage. Also, there are additional pressures on the future economy due to weaknesses in the agricultural economy and the mining industry. These will cause lower revenues in future years.

Dayton is calling for an application of the surpluses in a measured fashion. He would like to peg any tax reductions to additional support for education spending. This is met with skepticism by Senate Minority Leader David Hann (R-48, Eden Prairie) who states money for education has yet to reduce to the achievement gap.

During the Republican response to the Revenue Forecast, House Speaker Kurt Daudt (R-31A, Crown) renders the old Republican saw: If people had more money in their pockets they would know how to spend it better than government.

Budgets Are Just Politics

All of this information provides an interesting setting as a backdrop to the overall political posturing coming into the 2016 legislative session. Granted, we will need to wait for the next Revenue Forecast in March to know what the final numbers will be, and we expect the total to exceed $2 billion, which will only ratchet up the arguments pending a November election.

In advance of the Revenue Forecast, the House DFL issued a press release calling attention to November 27th fundraising letters signed by Daudt and sent into districts Republicans won during the last election. Additionally, the Minnesota Jobs Coalition also sent letters into these swing districts. Remember, Republican Executive Director Ben Golnik worked for during the Minnesota Jobs Coalition during the 2014 election; show the schizophrenia of the Republican Coalition. Of course there isn’t any coordination between the GOP Caucus and Independent groups, wink, wink.

In their literature, the Minnesota Jobs Coalition highlights votes by freshmen members on projects they support; in turn Republicans, especially, the leadership, hope this attention will retain these members in office. In their mailer supporting Rep. David Baker (R-17B, Willmar), who defeated Rep. Mary Sawatzky (DFL) by a mere 214 votes. The Coalition extols Baker’s vote “for” transportation funding, which is not clearly identified, but is intended to provide the impression to his district that he supports transportation jobs. Here is the actual mailing.

Republicans recognize they have a far steeper climb to gain or retain seats in swing districts during  Presidential elections. Higher electoral turnout does not bode well for retention of seats obtained in 2014, and hence why their entire focus this next legislative session will be on political issues oriented toward their own supportive constituencies rather than the general well being of all Minnesotans.

Taking a quote from Daudt’s fundraising letter, “The House GOP majority believe that government spending needs to be stopped in its tracks and then, yes, dramatically reduced. Hard-working Minnesotans are struggling to make ends meet. And, House Republicans are going to hold the line to help them out.” We find this rhetoric interesting as the House GOP leadership attempts top self-define. When Daudt’s says “We’re leading both assertively and smartly on policy, advancing conservative principles such as protecting unborn and Second Amendment rights to promoting tax cuts and eliminating bureaucratic red tape so businesses can thrive and expand.”

Here is the entire letter.

GOP Fundraising Letter 11.27.15

We wonder if these sentiments are expressed by Daudt to stem, in anyway, from this trailer parked at the onset of his legislative district and sitting on Highway 65. The Tea Party of MN is attempting to shape the impressions as well and it is unclear if the right-hand knows what the far right-hand is doing, or vice-versa.

 

Finally, A City Wise Enough to Reject Ranked Choice Voting

Our publisher Shawn Towle, was born in Duluth, and he was watching last night’s election results in the Zenith City will great interest. Mainly, because he hoped for Ranked Choice Voting to finally fail in a municipal election. Additionally, he was also watching the Duluth Mayoral race, because he had squared off against Independent Candidate Chuck Horton, back in his pugilist years. We did expect Horton to be vanquished.

We read with great interest former Vice-President Walter Mondale’s (D) Op/Ed in Sunday’s Duluth News Tribune, calling on the citizen’s of the Zenith City to reject Ranked Choice Voting. http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/letters/3872534-readers-view-ranked-choice-voting-will-not-improve-democracy This article was reminiscent of one penned by Towle in 2011, http://www.twincities.com/alllistings/ci_19258562?source=rss just prior to the first usage in the Capitol City.

We are ebullient to see that finally one major city in Minnesota is able to see through the heaps of BS constantly trotted out to extol the virtues of an unnecessary system. The most powerful point remains, this is a solution in search of a problem.

The reason the more progressive voters think this specious idea has merit is because they want to forgo any plurality elections and prevent another Green Party candidate from succeeding in mucking up the election results as Ralph Nader did in 2002.  Minneapolis can keep their problems for themselves and hopefully smarter people will prevail in the future. We hear there is an effort to correct this in St Paul next election, and the advocates can count on Checks & Balances to support the idea.

In Duluth, the initiative failed on a nearly 3-1 margin.

 YES 5271 25.30%
 NO 15564 74.70%

Congratulations to the more intelligent community on the shores of Lake Superior.

The DNC Descends in the Mill City

There will be Democrats far and wide in Minneapolis this weekend for the Democratic National Committee Summer meeting. We will not be surprised if some wander over to the Great Minnesota Get-Together in St Paul.

The candidates for the Democratic Presidential nomination will address the party faithful at the tomorrow at the Minneapolis Hilton Hotel . Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and former US Senator Lincoln Chaffee (D-RI) will address the DNC delegates at 10:00 AM. With former Governor Martin O’Malley (D-MD), and US Senator Bernie Sanders (I-IL) will do the same at 1:00 PM.

Today, Vance Operman is hosting an event for Hillary Clinton at his offices and various receptions are being held about town.  There is a welcoming reception at the Hilton.

Hey Commissioner It’s Free Money

On July 1, 2015, the Minnesota State Supreme Court ruled on case Webb Golden Valley, LLC v. State which found on behalf of the State of Minnesota. The matter in dispute was over three parcels of land the State had obtained through eminent domain in the city of Golden Valley, which were originally thought to be necessary for use with the redevelopment of Highway 394.

Afterwards, the Department of Transportation decided the parcels were unneeded and decided to gift them to the city of Golden Valley, to which Webb sought suit having already owned an adjoining property with the right-of-way to these other parcels. Though Webb’s case was dismissed this sets up a scenario where Commissioner Charles Zelle may continue with the gift to Golden Valley while passing up on money readily available to the state of Minnesota.

As we dug into this issue, we learned Webb wanted to purchase the parcels for $2.6 million to establish a mixed use retail property. This means by the state not gifting away, but selling the parcels in a public auction we, the citizen’s of Minnesota will receive the money from the sale. Additionally, because of the type of development the state (us) will continue to receive sales and property taxes from said sale.

So we ask the question. Commissioner Charles Zelle, are you going to give away over 2.5 million of dollars for nothing?

Here is the case for your reference. http://law.justia.com/cases/minnesota/supreme-court/2015/a13-2044.html

Why Not Minnesota for the 2024 Summer Olympics?

When the news broke on Monday, that Boston Martin J. Walsh (D) ended his city’s bid with his unwillingness  to sign a contract for a guarantee from the host community; we thought, why not Minnesota.  We already have many of the facilities necessary for use in 2024. Then the Vikings Stadium will be eight years old; the University of Minnesota Stadium will be ready for a facelift and the University of Minnesota Aquatics Center at the will be in line for refurbishment.

Minnesota already holds the USA International Cup (Soccer) at the National Sports Center in Blaine, Twin Cities Marathon route can be utilized for an Olympic marathon and there are opportunities to use the local colleges and Universities facilities, which are largely unused in the summer. We are making a suggested list of venues, already in place that could be used, and many are already internationally recognized in their respective sports.

We just through together a suggested list of the Olympic event and existing facilities and locations throughout the state, which can accommodate. So let’s start the hashtag #WhynotMN #MNOlympics2024.

The various events listed for the 2016 Olympics are:

Aquatics-Diving Swimming Synchronized Swimming Water Polo/U of MN Aquatics Center

Archery/Theodore Worth Park

Badminton/Eagan Senior High School

Basketball/Target Center

Boxing/Xcel Energy Center

Canoe Slalom Sprint/ Any Minneapolis Lake

BMX Cycling/Ham Lake Road Cycling/Stillwater Track Cycling/National Sports Center Blaine/ Mountain Bike/St Paul River Bottoms/Crosby Farm Park

Equestrian Dressage Eventing Jumping/Western Hennepin County

Fencing/Hamline University

Football/National Sports Center Blaine

Golf/Hazeltine

Gymnastics/U of MN

Gymnastics Artistic Gymnastics Rhythmic Trampoline/University of St Thomas

Handball/St Paul Parks & Rec

Hockey/St Paul Parks & Rec

Judo/St Catherine’s College

Modern pentathlon/Bethel College

Rowing/St Paul Mississippi River

Rugby/Fort Snelling Polo Fields

Sailing/Duluth, Lake Superior/Lake Minnetonka

Shooting/Oakdale Gun Club/Metro Gun Club/South St Paul Rod & Gun Club

Table tennis/St Paul Central High Scool

Taekwondo/Minneapolis South High School

Tennis/U of MN

Triathlon/Shoreview Turtleman Course

Beach Volleyball/Lake Calhoun

Women’s Volleyball/U of MN

Women’s Volleyball/Concordia College

Weightlifting/St Paul RiverCentre

Wrestling/U of MN

Greco-Roman Freestyle/ Augsburg College

If you have other suggestions let us know, none of this is locked in stone.

MN VS WI Redux

ICYMI: We are re-posting our story we first ran in January regarding Governor Scott Walker’s (R-WI) then potential, now official, Presidential bid. Coincidentally, President Barack Obama (D) made some of these same points when he was in Lacrosse, WI.

Originally, published January 29,2015.

MINNESOTA VERSUS WISCONSIN

Hashtag This. #MNvsWI

With Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R) as a potential candidate for President in 2016 a comparison between Minnesota (MN) and Wisconsin (WI) is well warranted.Walker’s approach to government and Governor Mark Dayton (DFL) can not be more diametrically opposed.

Walker has stood against the state’s labor unions, while Dayton has embrace his.Walker has cut taxes in his state while Dayton pledged to raised them on high income earners in his campaign and did when elected to office. WI is experiencing a budget deficit while MN is experiencing its 2nd surplus and Walker is proposing significant cuts to the University of WI and even saying faculty should teach an additional class.

On paper, the two states look like cousins. In spite of WI being older by ten years the two have traveled quite different paths. Currently, MN has a slightly smaller population, but simlar small levels of diversity. MN household income is $7,423 better, the Unemployment rate is 2.5% lower and part of this might be the fact MN has 5.8% more college graduates.

Wisconsin looks like MN did 10 years ago under Governor Tim Pawlenty (R), who shares a similar philosophy to Walker.  Then MN’s statisics looked similar to WI today, when the MN Unemployment rate was floating arount 4.5%.

Because of his close association with Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (R-NY) the two served in the U.S. Senate together and she has attended fundraisers forDayton.  Dayton would make a quintesential surrogate if Walker is the GOP nominee.