The Coalition of Minnesota Businesses has been placing web ads thanking legislators for their work during past two sessions at the Minnesota State Capitol – click here to view their latest report of contributions and expenditures. I live in Eagan, so I have been seeing web ads thanking State Senator Ted Daley (R-Eagan) for “growing jobs, not government.” The Coalition’s website has a listing of numerous ads featuring legislative incumbents – 14 in total. Please note: these ads are not expenditures that have been coordinated with any of the incumbents featured in the ads. Therefore, the legislators mentioned are not responsible for the content. So, while it’s true Minnesota has grown jobs in the last two years, it is false to claim the size of state government hasn’t grown.
According to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), Minnesota’s unemployment rate was 7.6 percent in January 2011 and currently it is 5.6 percent. Minnesota has added an estimated 51,133 jobs to the workforce during the same time-period.
But it is incorrect to thank Sen. Ted Daley, or any of the other 14 legislators highlighted in this these ad for “not growing” government as Republicans passed the largest General Fund budget in the history of Minnesota – which was later vetoed by Governor Mark Dayton. The final budget agreement which passed the Minnesota Legislature and signed by Governor Mark Dayton and ended the state government shutdown of 2011 was the also the largest General Fund budget in the history of Minnesota. By every available indicator, the size of state government has grown over the last two years. Click here for a spreadsheet detailing the growth in state spending since 1960.
In fact, even conservative members of the Minnesota Senate like Senator Dave Thompson (R-Lakeville) complained when DEED mischaracterized the specifics of the budget passed by the Minnesota Legislature:
“DEED’s lie is shameful. The Minnesota State Legislature adjourned on May 23, 2011, having passed the largest general fund budget in state history, which appropriated money to fund the operations of state government for the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2011.” Source: Senator Dave Thompson Press Release, June 14, 2011
Hennepin County Commissioner and Republican National Committeeman Jeff Johnson wrote just this week that the size of state government spending grew by over 7.2 percent between the last two bienniums:
“But wait, just this last year the governor supposedly gave in to the Republican ‘all cuts’ budget after the government shutdown, right? That ‘all cuts budget will actually result in a spending increase of 7.2 percent from the 2010-11 biennium to the 2012-13 biennium.” Source: Jeff Johnson op-ed, Star Tribune, September 17, 2012.
Senator Ted Daley’s website doesn’t even make the claim that he reduced the size of state government:
“Using budgeting discipline, cutting fat and fraud and making tough choices, Senator Ted Daley and fellow conservatives reduced state spending increases and balanced the budget and to the point in May 2012 we have a surplus of over$1.3 billion.” Source Daley for Senate website
Reducing state spending increases does not mean you reduced the size of state government, rather that you reduced the rate state spending increased. State spending increased, but at a slower rate. Republicans and Democrats can boast about numerous reforms and cost-saving measures enacted over the last two years – but the size of state government has grown.
The web ads from the Coalition of Minnesota Businesses which includes a statement thanking legislators for growing jobs is accurate, but the statement which thanks these same legislators for not growing the size of state government is false. Because of the false statement about the size of state government, I give the ads a score of Two Bobbers.
The highest score a fact-check statement can receive on politics.mn is Four Bobbers. If you’d like a political advertisement or statement fact-checked, please send me an e-mail via the contact page on politics.mn. Is my review fair? Leave a comment.
This post was written by Michael Brodkorb and originally published on politics.mn – an inside view of Minnesota politics. Follow politics.mn on Twitter: @politicsdotmn.
If you blog and would like your work considered for Minnesota Blog Cabin, please submit our registration form.