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minnesota_state_capitolI didn’t foresee this. If you ask me it’s brilliant.

Dayton added that, by signing the (tax cut) bill, he was protecting funding for the Minnesota Department of Revenue. Earlier he chastised Republican lawmakers for adding what he called a “poison pill” provision to a bill that would have eliminated all Minnesota Department of Revenue funding if it were killed, a move the governor described as a “reprehensible sneak attack.”
In response, Dayton used his power to eliminate spending for the House and Senate.
The gravity of that move wasn’t immediately clear but it’s certain to trigger a confrontation with GOP legislative leaders.
When asked about slashing legislative funding, Dayton told reporters, “Well, they can come back and get it restored …. we’ll find out how much money they have stashed away” in reserve accounts.
The governor said he would be willing to call a special session but only if lawmakers agreed to cut out provisions he still finds distasteful, including tax relief on tobacco products.

Actually, the worst thing in the bill in my estimation is the long term tax cut welfare for the rich inherent in the property tax changes for businesses.

The state revenue loss resulting from changes to the state business property tax in the tax conference committee report are likely to increase rapidly over time—for reasons described in a recent North Star article—and ultimately surpass the revenue loss associated with other tax cuts in the report. As the magnitude of that tax break swells in future years, the relief will shift from low-value to high-value businesses, and from Greater Minnesota to the seven-county metropolitan area.
(North Star Policy Institute)

Though the estate tax changes are loathsome giveaways to those least deserving, as well. And cutting taxes on tobacco products, despite those taxes’ demonstrated effect in reducing teen, and adult, smoking, is unconscionable.
I suspect that MN Party of Trump legislative leadership is on the phone, or videoconferencing or whatever, with ALEC as I’m typing this (7AM Wednesday), getting their instructions on what to do. There are a lot of wild cards here, and I’m not going to speculate on the outcome.


523366_637975359561312_1313347915_nHere are a couple of things that I intellectually believe are true. But I just can’t bring myself to be confident, yet, that they will manifest by the next election as they should.

But the theory isn’t supported by the evidence. To the contrary, Trump’s base seems to be eroding. There’s been a considerable decline in the number of Americans who strongly approve of Trump, from a peak of around 30 percent in February to just 21 or 22 percent of the electorate now. (The decline in Trump’s strong approval ratings is larger than the overall decline in his approval ratings, in fact.) Far from having unconditional love from his base, Trump has already lost almost a third of his strong support. And voters who strongly disapprove of Trump outnumber those who strongly approve of him by about a 2-to-1 ratio, which could presage an “enthusiasm gap” that works against Trump at the midterms. The data suggests, in particular, that the GOP’s initial attempt (and failure) in March to pass its unpopular health care bill may have cost Trump with his core supporters.

As Americans learn how policies put into effect by the politicians they elect directly affect their personal economies and as everyday citizens are emboldened to believe in their self-worth, they will slowly awaken into action as they did in decades past. We made a big mistake in 1980 by allowing a smooth-talking politician to bring the final pieces inspired by the Powell Memo to fruition. Now it’s time to rid America of that cancer once and for all.
(Daily Kos)

Comment below fold.

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trump19A matter of fundamental significance, indeed.

Budget proposal targets people who put Trump in power
Can America be great and mean to its most vulnerable at the same time?
This is a philosophical question whose answer has changed over the course of this century. In the race to alleviate the suffering of the largest taxpayers, politicians have pledged to protect the most vulnerable. It would have been political suicide to do otherwise.
That is no longer the case; quite the opposite, actually.
This is a seismic political shift lost in the drama and theater of daily political news.
(MPR NewsCut)

Comment below fold.

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MN lege: To the session’s end, Part 5

by Dan Burns on May 26, 2017 · 0 comments

Minnesota-State-CapitolThe article is a good round-up that goes into some detail. Your guess is as good as mine, as to whether Gov. Dayton will “say no to elements of it.”

Minnesota lawmakers left for home Friday after a four day of special session to approve the final parts of a new $46 billion state budget, which would increase spending in some areas and provide targeted tax cuts.
That package is headed to Gov. Mark Dayton, who is facing considerable pressure to say no to elements of it.

From Session Daily, more on the State Government Finance bill, and bonding bill, with links to spreadsheets and all.


trump17It turns out that Pr*sident Trump’s trillion-dollar infrastructure investment plan is just another mega-lie.

All right, so there is no new investment. The “one trillion dollars” was never happening, even back when the plan was only a nebulous stub, and now we learn that “one trillion dollars” is, in fact, bupkis. This is the same administration that is defending a two trillion dollar math error in their budget, so it should come as no surprise that some half-literate cretin working from under a White House desk still swears up and down that the money-farting unicorns will indeed ride across the sunny American skies, so long as you truly believe in them…
So there you go, then. It was all crooked from the beginning, and anyone who listened seriously to any of it, knowing what we all know about the pathological liar and his daily, hourly, and by-the-minute lies, needs to have an infrastructure project to cement over the hole in their head. Good God, people, how many times can the man play you before you get tired of getting played. There is no good side to Team Trump, they’re just a set of common thieves borrowing ideas from C-list economic loons whose ideas were proven wrong decades ago. The man and his team will never, ever stumble upon doing a good thing, not even by accident.
(Daily Kos)


MN lege: To the session’s end, Part 4

by Dan Burns on May 25, 2017 · 0 comments

mncapitol2For some reason, people are huffy that the legislature has been missing its artificial “deadlines,” and legislators have a chance to actually carefully read and consider what they’re voting on, and people whose lives will be affected have opportunities to make their opinions known. I don’t see the big old calamitous problem with that.

After hanging around the Capitol all night Tuesday and not getting much done, legislators made some progress Wednesday afternoon and then took the night off.
Both the House and Senate voted on a tax cut bill and an education funding measure, but they still have to resolve some differences before sending them to the governor.
Other bills, including funding measures for health and human services and state departments, still need to be passed, and lawmakers still hope to pass a public works construction bill.
And as the House and Senate struggled to pass bills Wednesday, some DFL-leaning groups tried to put pressure on Gov. Mark Dayton to start over to try to get a better deal.

More on the education bill, which isn’t great to say the least, here, from Session Daily. Ditto on the transportation bill, here.
And more on some of those who are not pleased, from Twin Cities Daily Planet, here.


trump21I couldn’t resist the image at the right, but it’s not entirely accurate. Most Trump voters are not “clueless morons” in most areas of life. But when they voted they certainly were. Why so many suspend reason and common sense when it comes to politics, time and time again, does not admit of a quick and easy explanation, because human psychology is endlessly messy and complicated.

None of this should be a surprise. Trump is a coward. He says wildly offensive things when the objects of his derision aren’t around, but crumples when he actually meets them. In his presidential announcement speech, Trump called Mexican immigrants “rapists.” But when he sat down with his Hispanic Advisory Council, he proved “humble” and “conciliatory” and called mass deportations “neither possible nor humane.” During the campaign, he endlessly trashed Mexico’s government. But when he actually arrived in Mexico City last August, he declared the trip a “great, great, honor” and when President Enrique Peña Nieto asked him about his famous pledge to make Mexico pay for a wall between the two countries, Trump refused to discuss the subject. During the campaign, Trump accused Black Lives Matter of being responsible for the murder of police, and described African American living conditions as hellish. But when he actually showed up at a black church in Detroit last September, he spent most of his time flattering his hosts. Trump’s speech, noted The Washington Post, constituted a “jarring shift in tone and message.” During the campaign, Trump repeatedly claimed that China was manipulating its currency. But after meeting with China’s president, he acknowledged that was not true.
(The Atlantic)


State Auditor Rebecca Otto on her farm.  (Pioneer Press: Jean Pieri)

State Auditor Rebecca Otto on her property in Marine on St. Croix on Friday, January 8, 2016. (Pioneer Press: Jean Pieri)

Here’s why: All the available data strongly indicates that Otto will beat all the other contenders across state in the upcoming Governor’s race.


Democrats have two major problems to face in 2018 and beyond. First, how do we win elections? Second, how do we remain true to our progressive and liberal roots?


For Democrats, 2018 is a must-win election, and Minnesotans have a lot at stake. Will the state remain the shining star of the North, or will it go the way of Wisconsin, and sink into a Republican dark age of union busting, environment polluting, professor bashing, service slashing, and economic activity destruction?


Of all the candidates running or suspected of running for Governor in 2018, Rebecca Otto is the only one who can most clearly win and at the same time preserve and advance core, human based, Democratic ideals, in my opinion.


The smart move for the DFL in 2018 is to turn to a candidate that has won several times statewide and has strong name recognition, positive feeling among the voters engendered by her commitment to widely held values, and a strong base of support. State Auditor Rebecca Otto is the only candidate with that resumé. Otto has racked up several historic victories, including the largest upset of an incumbent in 112 years, and is positioned to do it again in 2018. Her statewide electoral prowess far outstrips her nearest competitor, Tim Walz, who is largely unknown outside of his first district, and is untested statewide. Beyond that, Otto stands for strong for Democratic values, while Walz has shown himself to be a DINO-style Democrat. Walz enjoys a very high rating from the NRA, for example, and in February of 2013 was one of only six Democrats in Congress to vote to expand gun sales to the severely mentally ill, over the objections of senior generals including David Petraeus, Michael Hayden and Stanley McChrystal.


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MN lege: To the session’s end, Part 3

by Dan Burns on May 24, 2017 · 0 comments

mncapitol2What all is going to be signed into law probably during the next day or two has plenty that is bad, but could be a whole lot worse. Scant comfort. The St. Paul Pioneer Press has a good overall guide.

– Check out this nasty crap. The blockquote is typed from the article “$46B budget signed, not sealed” from this morning’s Minneapolis Star Tribune print edition, as I can’t seem to find that article online.

As part of the agreement with Dayton, Republicans kept the (pre-emption) measure out of their budget bills…
But to make the veto more painful, Republicans loaded the bill with other provisions that are important DFL priorities, including a measure to punish wage theft and another to provide paid sick and family leave for state workers, who already have the benefit but would lose it if Dayton does not sign the bill…
Dayton said…that he would honor his commitment and veto the bill anyway.

– Health and Human Services will see cuts. From that same Strib article:

To offset significant cuts to health and human services, Dayton and legislators agreed to dip into the Health Care Access Fund – funded by a 2 percent tax on medical providers that is scheduled to disappear in 2020.

– Tax cuts for the rich. More here. Probably everything noted in those two linked articles didn’t make it into the final package. But based on what we’re seeing now, at least much of it did.


There’s a lot more, of course. But for those whose ordinary human empathy and sense of fairness haven’t disappeared into extremes of right-wing motivated reasoning and cognitive rigidity, to try to put it all into one post would be overwhelming, and not in a good way.


MN lege: To the session’s end, Part 2

by Dan Burns on May 23, 2017 · 0 comments

Minnesota-State-CapitolThere is plenty that progressives are going to find out about that we are not going to like. But the profoundly unfortunate fact is that Republicans won the last election.

Minnesota legislators blasted past their midnight deadline Monday to get their work done — but will come back immediately to finish the job.
Forty-five minutes before their constitutionally mandated end of this year’s five-month legislative session, Republican legislative leaders joined with Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton to announce they had reached a deal on how much money to spend on tax cuts, transportation, health and human services and public schools…
The deal means a liberal Democratic governor looking to preserve state programs and his legacy and a newly powerful Republican legislative majority aiming to shift Minnesota to the right managed to agree on how to spend $46 billion over the next two years…

Dayton said he agreed to call lawmakers into special session just past the stroke of midnight. The agreement means they will have until Wednesday morning to approve a $990 million state building measure, an $18 billion school budget and around $14 billion for health and human services programs.
(Pioneer Press)

This one is from yesterday. It’s a mixed bag.

Additional dollars for the judiciary, tweaked language regarding the Appleton prison, and rulemaking related to driver’s licenses for undocumented residents are three of the high-profile items in the final version of the omnibus judiciary and public safety bill.
Missing is language related to freeway protestor penalties…
The Public Safety Department would be prohibited from using its rulemaking authority to issue driver’s licenses for undocumented residents.
“This is in place clearly — clearly — because there’s a mean spirit behind this,” said Rep. Raymond Dehn (DFL-Mpls). Rep. Karen Clark (DFL-Mpls) said the provision “smacks of injustice and, I’m afraid, it also smacks of racism.”
(Session Daily)