April 19th, 2019
Quote of the Week: "I am deeply troubled by a hiring process at the IRRRB that lacked transparency and fairness. As a former IRRRB Commissioner and a member of the board now as a legislator, I have spent years working to improve the image of the agency. This kind of political maneuvering undermines public confidence in the agency and reinforces the worst impressions people hold—fairly or not—about the IRRRB.”
Quote of the Week: “I don’t see the issue.”
Factoid of the Week: Nearly two-thirds of voters statewide oppose Governor Walz’s 20 cents-per-gallon gas tax increase, and more than half (54%) strongly oppose it.
65% oppose (54% strongly)
In This Issue:
A MAJOR SCANDAL
The first major scandal of the Walz administration erupted this week when the Timberjay newspaper published a thorough investigative report on the hiring of a DFL political crony to a plumb $100,000 per year job at the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation agency (IRRR or IRRRB), a state agency.
The scandal centers on the hiring of Joe Radinovich, a DFL political flack with little experience for the job into which he was hired.
So why is this a scandal?
First, it appears that IRRR leadership circumvented state hiring laws to ensure that Radinovich was the one hired.
It’s very important to understand that this job is a civil service job and not one of the handful of jobs in state government that are exempted from hiring laws and reserved for political appointees.
These civil service jobs are governed by state laws designed precisely to avoid them being turned into political patronage jobs. The public policy is to ensure that these jobs go to the best qualified applicants and not to well-connected political cronies.
It appears that this is exactly what happened.
For example, the job was only posted for 24 hours, which is highly unusual. State policy calls for posting these jobs for 21 days.
Moreover, email and other correspondence uncovered by the Timberjay show that IRRR leadership clearly expected the job to go to Radinovich. In fact, an internal organizational chart showed Radinovich in the job even before it was posted.
Furthermore, a well-qualified woman (lacking political connections) applied but didn’t get the job, raising further suspicions about the hiring.
The existence of certain state jobs that are exempt from hiring laws is a fair subject for debate.
What isn’t up for debate is the perversion of permanent civil service jobs converted to political patronage slots. Bad news.
The Senate GOP majority would be well-served to launch public hearings into this scandal, calling to the witness table the IRRR commissioner, the HR director, and Mr. Radinovich himself.
This underhanded chicanery erodes what little faith remains in government and fuels long-standing suspicions of both the IRRR and the DFL.
The appearance here is that Joe Radinovich, who has publicly acknowledged that he is contemplating another run for Congress in the 8th district, was handed a cushy government job to provide an income and benefits while he prepared another run for political office.
Prove us wrong, Governor Walz.
THE EAGLE HAS LANDED
It’s happened, loyal readers.
The most consequential bill of the 2019 session has been introduced.
Rep. Frank Hornstein (DFL – Minneapolis) has introduced HF2836, an act relating to climate change; establishing the “Minnesota Green New Deal Act.”
That’s right, the DFL has finally jumped the shark and introduced their own version of the Green New Deal.
And as you might expect, it’s chock-full of the same job-killing, economy-killing, prosperity-killing central planning found in the federal Green New Deal.
In fact, the author proudly calls the bill the “Minnesota New Green Deal Act.”
Here are just a couple of choice excepts from the bill:
The urgency to address the challenge of climate change compels the state to accelerate the greenhouse gas emissions-reduction goal established under Minnesota Statutes, section 216H.02, subdivision 1, by establishing a goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. The commissioner must approve job training programs in occupations that are heavily represented in industries that produce green products and services, and must target the programs to youth, communities of color, indigenous people, individuals with low incomes, workers in fossil fuel industries, and released prisoners. A state agency is prohibited from issuing a permit to construct a facility to transport, store, or process coal, crude oil or its derivative products, propane, or natural gas. The commission is prohibited from issuing a certificate of need to construct an electric generating plant powered by coal, products refined from crude oil, or natural gas. The commission is prohibited from issuing a certificate of need to construct a facility that transports or stores coal, crude oil, or derivative products.
On April 23rd, House Republicans will offer amendments that put this legislation before the entire Minnesota House for a vote.
In short, every member of the Minnesota House will be put on record next week regarding their stance on this legislation.
Grab the popcorn.
ABOUT THAT GAS TAX
Democrats are crowing that a number of red states have increased their gasoline taxes of late, using those increases as a justification for their support of Governor Walz’s 20 cents per gallon tax increase.
Let’s compare these new tax rates, and the overall tax ranking of those states, to see where Minnesota currently compares, before the consideration of both the gas tax and other assorted tax increases the DFL is proposing.
MN 28.5 cents/gallon (48.5 under the Walz plan)
OH: 38.5 cents/gallon (2019)
IN: 28 cents/gallon (2017)
AL: 28 cents/gallon (2019)
TN: 27.4 cents/gallon (2017)
AR: 24.5 cents/gallon (2019)
OK: 19 cents/gallon (2018)
In other words, Minnesota’s gas tax is already higher than 6 of the 7 states that recently raised their tax.
Overall Tax Burden Ranking (Wallethub – 2019)
Here’s a suggestion: If Governor Walz agrees to adopt Tennessee’s income tax structure, the GOP will agree to adopt Walz’s gas tax.
To say the DFL is cherry picking on the gas tax issue would be a gross understatement.
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
7956 Main Street NE
Minneapolis, MN 55432
(Anonymous submissions accepted!)