April 5th, 2019
Quote of the Week: “But I'll tell you right now, I'll tell you right now the story that can be told, and the story that not just Minnesota needs but the country needs is a bipartisan and a split government that came together in the good of the people and moved things forward for Minnesota. That's what we can do.”
Quote of the Week: “Governor Walz's speech called for us to work together to get things done for Minnesotans, but those words are going to have to be followed-up with actions. We hope the Governor will work in good-faith with Republicans and back off his 70 percent gas tax increase, his plans to increase health care costs, and his opposition to the Line 3 pipeline.”
Quote of the Week: “The legislative failures of the past four years have revealed that the Legislature needs to reform the way it conducts business. I am hopeful the Minnesota Senate will partner with us to make the legislature more efficient, effective, and transparent.”
In This Issue:
STATE OF THE LEGISLATIVE SESSION
As is the norm in politics, rhetoric rarely matches actions.
Such is the case these days at the Capitol in Saint Paul, where the talk is happy and optimistic. Visions of bi-partisan compromise and vapid platitudes about “One Minnesota” and exhortations to “do the people’s work” are thrown about like pennies into the wishing well.
Such is not the reality.
The reality is the Democrats, who campaigned on themes of bi-partisanship and transparent law making, have done none of that.
Of course, the media has done nothing to shine the light of truth and accountability of the hypocrisy.
Yes, democracy dies in darkness. Whatever.
Thus far, our governor has demonstrated his commitment to bi-partisanship by proposing a radical, confrontational budget that offends Republican principles and values regarding fiscal restraint and policy considerations.
Readers are also mindful of the governor’s ham-handed attempts to confront Republicans by showing up in their districts to fear-monger transportation safety issues and his wife’s threats to GOP senators regarding gun control.
Even worse is the House DFL’s unmitigated hypocrisy and arrogance regarding their own campaign promises, especially as they relate to transparency and accountability.
Let’s get in the way-back machine and all the way back to 2018 to review what current House Speaker Melissa Hortman was saying about the GOP majority in the House.
Hortman’s promise regarding these reforms was captured in an interview in Minnesota Lawyer, given just after her election as Speaker of the House.
Quoting Hortman, the interview piece noted, “She said that she will schedule more bipartisan activities and foster collegiality between the caucuses. And she will direct committee chairs to avoid constructing Omnibus Prime-styled mega-bills like the one Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed in May.”
Further, Hortman stated, “What I hope we will do—which we used to do under Republican and Democratic speakers—is pass a bunch of little bills. If we can pass a bunch of bills by 120-14 votes in the early going, we can get a pattern of working together and then use that later to attack the bigger, harder issues.”
So, how’s that going?
This publication has contacted GOP House members, none of whom could point to any these proffered bi-partisan activities. Perhaps the media will ask for a list of these events.
More importantly, the new House DFL unveiled with much fanfare a Subcommittee on Legislative Process Reform.
The purpose of this committee is to review and implement reforms to eliminate the very problems Hortman and her team ran on in 2018.
The subcommittee has not met once.
Again: THE SUBCOMMITTEE HAS NOT MET ONCE.
No meetings. No documents. No hearings. No bills. No reform.
How about that promise to pass “a bunch of little bills” and establish that pattern of working together?
So far, Governor Walz has signed a grand total of six bills into law.
Six bills. Out of over 5,000 introduced.
While this publication doesn’t see legislative action as an unqualified public good, the promise to get a bunch little bills done is malarkey.
And what of the complaint about massive, omnibus bills?
In 2018, Hortman criticized a 990-page bill that contained all GOP spending bills.
For comparison, here is the page total for each House DFL spending bill unveiled so far.
Health and Human Services: 998 pages
Transportation: 113 pages
Jobs: 237 pages
Agriculture: 50 pages
Education: 243 pages
Judiciary: 63 pages
Environment: 87 pages
All of this does not include other omnibus bills forthcoming like taxes and public safety, which will no doubt entail many hundreds of additional pages.
In any case, these are bills that total well over the 990 pages the DFL complained about in 2018.
The HHS omnibus bill alone beats that number.
The only metric left to fail is to have negotiations go behind closed doors in late May, where the governor and the two caucus leaders decide the budget, far from the transparency of the committee process and public input.
Said Hortman earlier this year, "It gets difficult when you have four guys solving issues in a backroom. I think Minnesota will be far better off having all 201 legislators engaged in the lawmaking process."
We will see.
Thus far, the House DFL has utterly failed to deliver on their promises.
The House GOP must do more to hold them accountable for these failures.
Moreover, the DFL’s outrageous budget proposals are setting up the legislature for gridlock, budget failure, and a special session which could lead to a partial government shut down.
In short, the DFL proposes to spend the surplus (over-taxation amount) and raise taxes on top of it, all in a state that is the most taxpayer-unfriendly in the nation.
The Senate GOP must hold the line on these tax and fee increases.
The Senate GOP has done well in this regard, other than the $20 million tax on FDA approved opioid pain medication, a remarkably cruel and regressive tax disguised as a “fee.”
The road to GOP success in 2020 will start with arresting flagrant DFL overreach in 2019.
DFL process and policy is out of step with the majority of Minnesota and is reflective of the outrageous Democrat overreach at the national level.
Voters are poised to check this overreach. The GOP must reassure voters that they are with the majority of Americans who favor center-right governance.
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!)