August 9th, 2019
Quote of the Week: “We have been raising alarms about the accounting and costs in DHS for years. Today just shows that the agency’s mismanagement, underperformance, and incompetence has cost the taxpayers millions of dollars. This is actual money we’ve robbed from the taxpayers for at least five years.”
Sen. Michelle Benson (R – Ham Lake)
In This Issue:
THE GHOST OF MARK BRANDT DAYTON
When this publication labeled Mark Dayton a “failed” governor, we didn’t think it was overstating the situation.
Given the ongoing excavation of skeletons from his administration, it isn’t hyperbole to consider Dayton this state’s worst governor – ever.
Tim Walz probably didn’t think he would spend his first year in office walking around with a massive fiscal pooper-scooper, cleaning up the piles of elephant dung Dayton left for him after eight years of what was apparently a free-for-all down at the executive branch.
It’s stunning to look back at the legacy of incompetence, waste, fraud, and abuse tolerated by the Dayton administration.
What’s the over/under on the number of scandals Walz and the legislature will uncover and then clean-up over the next three years – or longer?
The latest turd in the fiscal punch bowl is the discovery of over $25 million in illegal payments from the Department of Human Services to two tribal nations regarding opioid treatment programs.
While an investigation is ongoing to determine whether a mistake or intentional, there is no dispute that at least $25 million in illegal payments went out the door for at least the past 5 years.
One or two major scandals in an administration is breathtaking. To consider what happened (and has recently been uncovered) shocks the conscience.
And to think the people of this state a) elected him after a disastrous tenure as U.S. senator; and b) re-elected him after four years of tomfoolery.
While it hurts, let’s review Dayton Hall of Shame career. The man may be gone from office, but his Ghost of Blunders Past (and Future) haunts the halls of Saint Paul.
Under Dayton, the state attempted to craft software to update the state’s vehicle licensing system, used by the DMV.
It should have been pretty easy. 49 other states, including Mississippi and Arkansas, manage to do it.
The roll-out was a miserable failure and a boondoggle.
Long lines, glitches, and bugs galore led to the outright ditching of the system.
All told, the taxpayers will have spent over $153 million on a failed system that delivered nothing.
The state will soon simply start over, developing a new system with the acronym “VTRS,” which stands for Vehicle Title and Registration System.
This is a unique scandal in that there are multiple skeletons in this closet.
MnSURE is the state’s cute name for our version of Obamacare, the government take over of our healthcare that promised to lower costs, expand care, and allow us to keep our healthcare plans and our doctors.
A recent audit of the program, rolled out under Dayton, estimates that massive error rates in determining eligibility have resulted in illegal payments of upwards of $271 million.
Then there’s the MnSURE web portal, the “Travelocity” style web site that government promised would make for easy, simple Obamacare policy/plan choices.
In the end, taxpayers ended up spending $190 million to develop the web site, that to this day is plagued with problems.
And that’s not all. Despite the massive problems with MnSURE, 14 managers in the program received bonuses! All told, 14 managers received cash payments that equaled 1.5% to 2.5% of the annual salaries.
All for a job decidedly not well done.
Dayton incurred the wrath of both Republicans and Democrats when he jacked up the pay of his political appointees, some of them getting 100% pay raises.
Dayton proudly declared that since he wasn’t running again, he could grant these pay raises and not face political consequences.
Here’s the pay structure Dayton implemented:
• Administration, $144,991
• Commerce, $144,991
• Corrections, $150,002
• Education, $150,002
• Employment and Economic Development, $150,002
• Health, $150,002
• Housing Finance, $144,991
• Human Rights, $144,991
• Human Services, $154,992
• Labor and Industry, $144,991
• Management and Budget, $154,992
• Natural Resources, $154,992
• Higher Education, $144,991
• Pollution Control, $150,002
• Public Safety, $154,992
• Revenue, $154,992
• Transportation, $154,992
• Veterans Affairs, $144,991
• Commissioner, Bureau of Mediation Services, $140,000
• Executive director, Gambling Control Board, $119,997
• Commissioner, Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation Board, $140,000
• Chair, Metropolitan Council, $144,991
• School Trust Lands Director, $125,009
• Ombudsman for Mental Health & Developmental Disabilities, $119,997
• Commissioner, Public Utilities Commission, $140,000
• Executive Director of Pari-mutuel Racing, $115,988
I SIGNED WHAT?
What can you say about a chief executive who doesn’t know what’s in the bills to which he affixes his signature, transforming proposed legislation into the law of the land?
Among the many instances of Dayton admitting he didn’t know what was in the bills he signed, two in particular stand out.
The first was a bill that applied the sales tax to the repair of farm equipment like combines and grain wagons.
Understandably, the bill caused a great deal of anger in farmland, where equipment repairs can run into the tens of thousands of dollars.
After running into a maelstrom of criticism from angry farmers, Dayton admitted that he didn’t know about the tax “until it was too late.”
Really. The constitution gives the governor three days (excluding Sundays) to consider any bill that reaches his desk.
Moreover, a governor has dozens of staffers and attorney who review the legislation and provide guidance and counsel to the governor before he signs or vetoes.
In other words, there’s really no excuse.
The second infamous “I signed what?” incident occurred around the Vikings stadium bill.
The bill contained permission for the team to charge “personal seat licenses” to season ticket holders and keep all the revenue.
These “PSLs” are essentially flat fees a season ticket holder pays for the “right” to buy season tickets.
When PSLs became a flashpoint around the stadium, as the funding mechanisms fell flat, Dayton claimed that he didn’t know of the PSLs and that the legislature “snuck” them into the bill he signed.
CHARITY IS FOR OTHERS
Finally, there was the episode where it was revealed that Dayton gave virtually nothing to charity, as reflected in his tax returns.
Dayton’s tax returns from 2012 and 2011 revealed that he gave a total of $2,750 to charity during that time, despite income of $685,000 over that time, for a giving rate of .4% of his income.
This is relevant for two reasons.
One, a large chunk of Dayton’s income wasn’t earned, it was income from trust funds set up for him. A true silver spoon affair.
Second, like all Dems, Dayton loved to engage the rhetoric of higher taxes in the name of the wealthy “paying their fair share.”
Thus, Dayton practiced charity at the point of a gun for others, yet voluntarily gave virtually nothing when it came to his own charitable practices.
You elected this guy governor, Minnesota.
Welcome to my web site!
I created this website in response to governmental waste and abuse in Anoka County.
Many taxpayers don’t know that our local governments spend millions of tax dollars every year on things like public relations teams, lobbyists, and junkets to places like Hawaii.
Since there seemed to be no place to turn for the “other side” of these issues, I created the Anoka County Watchdog. My intent is to create a one-stop-shop where concerned taxpayers can find fact-supported information and other resources to counter the governmental machine. Many people want to confront their elected officials regarding waste and abuse but feel they don’t have the information they need to make an effective argument. This web site offers that information.
Some of our elected officials in Anoka County have become arrogant and unresponsive, forgetting that they work for the very people who put them in office. It’s high time to hold them accountable for their decisions.
Harold E. Hamilton
US Mail: Anoka County Watchdog
C/O K Solutions LLC
3083 Victoria Street
Roseville, MN 55113
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