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Legislature passes budget bills after dramatic special session

Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk
Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk during Friday's special session.


It looked like the setting for a mock legislative session: Instead of desks and nameplates on the floor of the Minnesota House, there were theater-style seats assigned by slips of sticky paper, while a small lectern stood in for the Speaker of the House's usual podium. There was a gallery for the public to watch, though it only had 20 seats. And there was a version of the Abe Lincoln portrait that usually hangs at the center of the chamber and watches over proceedings, though it was a miniature one.

However it seemed, though, it was all very real: the setting for a historic, one-day 2015 special legislative session.

The usual Capitol chambers were closed down in the midst of a messy restoration project, so legislative staffers retrofitted a ground-floor hearing room in the State Office Building to look like a miniature version of the Minnesota House. Down the hall, a similar room had been set up for the Senate, where they imposed the same strict dress code and rules of decorum that senators are required to follow in the Capitol chamber. 

"Members, we are making a bit of history today,” House Speaker Kurt Daudt said at the start of session, noting that this is the first time in 110 years a special legislative session has been held outside the halls of the state Capitol.

In the end, though, the odd setting of the proceedings was almost more notable than the final outcome — despite the hours of drama involved in getting to a resolution.  After weeks of negotiations, lawmakers sealed the deal early Saturday by approving three budget bills.

While there was uncertainty throughout the day about passage of an agriculture and environment budget, lawmakers ultimately passed a bill that honored their leaders’ original agreement on a 38-29 vote, after ping-ponging the bill between the House and Senate chambers throughout the day.

Legislators also passed a $17 billion education budget that spends $525 million more on schools over the next two years, as wells as a jobs and energy bill. All together, the three budget bills account for roughly half of the state’s $42 billion two-year budget. A bonus: Legislators rounded up enough votes to pass a Legacy amendment funding bill and a $373 million total package of construction projects, two non-essential budget measures that ran out of time on the final night of the regular session.

The whole affair stretched from Friday morning into early Saturday morning and averts a partial government shutdown. Nearly 10,000 state government workers had already received layoff notices in the mail in case legislators didn’t reach a deal by June 30, the last day of the fiscal year. Saturday morning, Gov. Mark Dayton said he will sign the final bills.

Rifts in the DFL

But the back-and-forth drama of the session exposed serious rifts between some Democrats — and left much business unfinished.

Tensions were particularly high in the Senate, where a majority of DFL members opposed the final agriculture and environment bill that was negotiated by their leader, Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk. Those senators were upset with provisions in the bill that rolled back long-time environmental protections and eliminated the nearly 50-year-old citizens’ board of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

The first attempt to pass the bill, on Friday afternoon, failed in the Senate by a single vote, with very few DFL votes and fewer Republicans votes than had originally supported the bill. Bakk went back to the drawing board — and to his caucus — and emerged with a new plan: offering amendments to the bill that could win DFL support. 

Sen. John Marty, DFL-Roseville, the lead opponent of the agriculture and environmental budget, amended the bill to restore the MPCA’s citizens’ board and eliminate a provision that would exempt mining sulfide waste from solid-waste rules. The bill passed, garnering many of the Senate DFL votes the previous version didn’t. 

But Republicans complained that Democrats were backing away from a deal they had made with Dayton and other caucus leaders: to not support any amendments to the budget bills. 

In the House, Republicans quickly took up the new bill — and amended it back to the way it was under the original deal, before sending it back over to the Senate for a final vote. “We are honoring the commitment we made to Minnesotans with the four legislative leaders and the governor,” Daudt said. “Now the Senate has the opportunity to do the right thing and send this bill to the governor.”

The final vote in the Senate ultimately passed, but not without Bakk having to make a deal with Senate Republicans behind closed doors to give them “significant, specific tax reductions” in a 2016 tax bill, Senate Minority Leader David Hann said. 

“The new agreement calls for substantial Republican tax cuts to be added to already-planned reductions in the existing bill,” he said.  “We’re very satisfied with the concessions made by Democrats to deliver significant tax cuts in the next legislative session.” 

Much to do

The conclusion of the legislature this year leaves much up in the air for next session. Legislators left nearly $1 billion of a $1.8 billion budget surplus on the bottom line to deal with those tax cuts, as well as a long-term transportation funding plan sought by Democrats. Those topics failed to gain traction in divided government this year.

Dayton also didn’t get his number one priority, universal preschool education, and plans to continue his push next year. 

A lawsuit could be looming as well over a change that would allow county governments to go around the state auditor’s office and seek private companies to do annual reviews. The provision was one of the final sticking points in special session negotiations between Dayton and House Republicans.

“Our office is currently pursuing all avenues,” said auditor spokesman Jim Levi.

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The Twitter feed from yesterday at #mnleg

The Twitter feed at #mnleg provides another view of the descriptions and pictures from elected officials, reporters, advocates and some citizens throughout the day.

For me, Twitter provides an opportunity to not only follow, but to still be somewhat involved in the process. It's still worthwhile to later parse some of statements and claims, linking them to previous policy positions, and outside evidence of likely impact; basically answering the question why changes in law should be made, or not. Bringing transparency to the legislative system won't be everyone's cup of tea, but might hopefully avoid some of the worst that can happen.

Steven Clift started a #mnleg Facebook group last night to invite a wider audience than #mnleg Twitter followers. This should add more depth than 140 characters allows to focus on the policy and process of the legislature. I'm afraid many folks may still think politics and partisanship is the most important because it's what gets a lot attention and discussion, rather than just being one part of the story. That can be a problem when citizens decide 1) whether or not to participate in democracy, and 2) decide who to vote for based on 3) what reasons.

I also appreciate the effort by people to capture the moments that put the legislative process into the state's historical context and focus on the contributions of behind the scenes individuals who make the process happen. People can provide more context and sources of information about topics that I haven't followed before, or known about. Some of the incidents, comments and pictures that may not make it into individual reporters stories are also amusing, beautiful, or weird.

It is past time

It is past time when the governor and members of the Legislature should learn how to run a constitutional government, but who can blame them? I don't think many of them have seen this sort of government.

They will get the state sued and may have to do their jobs the right way, eventually.

With any justice, Bakk will not be there to honor his agreement with Republicans about tax reductions, significant or not; in fact, I hope that many problematic legislators on both sides will be gone after the 2016 general election.

Reply --- It is past time

DFL leadership has been abysmal. We have a DFL Governor, a Senate majority, and a large surplus and this is the best we can do?

Everyone knows Dayton and Bakk don't get along. But they should be able to rise above that to get things done. And it looks like Bakk made concessions in the dead of night behind closed doors on the copper nickel thing.

Daudt ran rings around the DFL. DFL leadership was inept.

I too hope that Bakk is not there to honor his tax cut agreement, and that there is a DFL Senate insurrection. (And believe that will happen.)

Copper nickel thing

Copper nickel thing was not a concession for Bakk.

So Our "Tax Cut" Norquist Accolytes

will now force the spending of millions of taxpayer dollars (I believe we'll pay for BOTH sides),...

as the State Auditor sues to, and ultimately succeeds in restoring the constitutional mandate and responsibilities for her office,...

which the legislature sought to usurp, despite the fact that they should definitely have known better,...

and their own legal counselors were, no doubt, telling them they couldn't get away with doing.

Meanwhile, if you ever hoped to enjoy the natural beauty of Northeast Minnesota, "the range" and points north,...

you'd better do it soon, because Senator Bakk and our "whatever business wants must be OK because they can make money doing it" Republican friends,...

(and they'll reward us with campaign dollars),...

just voted to legalize the complete environmental deregulation and ultimate environmental destruction of that entire region.

Deal Made Behind Closed Doors

I think that pretty much speaks for itself. It may be a face-saving deal that neither side expects to be honored, or it's a dereliction of Senator Bakk's duties as the leader of the DFL caucus. He needs to step down as majority leader.

Wait - I'm not understanding something here.

I understand that the final ag/environ bill eliminates the PCA board and exempts copper nickel mining from environmental requirements. (Right?)

The Republicans got what they wanted.

So why did a tax cut next session need to be negotiated?

The Republicans got what they wanted; what did Bakk get in exchange for the tax cut agreement?

There's something I'm not understanding. Can anyone explain?
.

Bakk got

cuts in environmental protection that are popular in his home in Da Range.
May not be popular in most of the state (although the Ag lobby will support it), but it will play well in his next election campaign.

IMO

He wanted to gut the PCA board and copper nickle environmental requirements as bad as the GOPers did. That's what he got. It's just not what the majority of DFL legislators wanted. But for some reason he's got the power to ignore them and pass bills with mostly GOPers and a minority of DFLers.

Nobody Completely Happy

Looking at this summary the DFL got a lot out the special session. ($125 M To School Personnel, Big Bonding Bill in Off year, Buffer Strips, etc, etc) And Briana is the only one mentioning this promise.

http://www.sctimes.com/story/news/local/2015/06/12/session-mixed-outcome...

And of course people like me want tax dollars back. The idea that government should spend more just because the DFL raised taxes too much and times are good makes no sense. That is unless you are okay with slashing government spending when times are tough?

Or if you're okay with

bridges falling down in major metropolitan areas. You "its my money" folks always seem to forget that others paid for the things you use and that you can't even be bothered to maintain them. Your kids won't be happy with what you're leaving them but what the hell, you got yours right?

Sad

Just when you think it couldn't get worse you wake up and read this article after having seen it happen the night before.

Senate votes "No" on House File 846.

Senate votes "Yes" on a version with the two amendments (that were simple and easy and what a majority of Minnesotans paying attention wanted).

House doesn't like, takes them out and sends it back (to make sure legislators "honored the commitments" Kurt Daubt and Tom Bakk made on behalf of all legislators and those they represent).

Senate votes "Yes" on original version.

"The final vote passed, but not without Bakk having to make a deal."

“We’re very satisfied with the concessions made by Democrats to deliver significant tax cuts in the next legislative session.”

I was already "disgusted" by the last 30-day's rotten "process" in which a dozen or so legislative Big Boys disregarded the will of a Whole Lot of Minnesotans and their representatives, and spent a month doing pretty much whatever THEY wanted to do, late at night, "behind closed doors," etc..

To paraphrase Eric Black's headline of a few weeks ago, "Who do these clowns think they are!?"

But like I say, that was how I felt about it before I woke up and read this article.

"...concessions made by Democrats to deliver significant tax cuts in the next legislative session.”

"What!?"

T. Bakk gets together with someone somewhere (but, as usual, no one seems to know where or when or what was actually said) and agrees to "significant tax cuts" NEXT session in exchange for Republican votes on a bill the MAJORITY of Democratic Senators (and their constituents) did not want or vote for?

If that's true (David Hann may be "confused"), NO Democrat in the Senate should pay any attention to, or "honor," Tom Bakk's commitment. That's not the way representational democracy works, and no one has the right or authority to make "commitments" on behalf of those being represented (you and me) nine months in advance of the subject of any commitment going through the committee process, etc..

And why did he feel a pressing need to buy Republican votes with a "promise" like that? Among other destructive things in HF 846, it seems clear Majority Leader Bakk found it imperative to:

A) Make sure as he could that future copper-nickel mine owners and operators would be permitted to manage whatever toxic rock piles, dust and sludge they generate ("solid waste") however they see fit; and

B) Make sure the MPCA Citizen's Advisory Board went away (because they probably wouldn't have let them get away with that, and were beyond the reach and control of the legislators and industry).

And THAT is the real definition of cynical.

What a sad turn of events for Tom Bakk, someone who's done a lot of good work on behalf of all Minnesotan's over the years. He may have just been tired, but Tom Olmscheid's photo seems to say a lot.

But no legislator, DFL of GOP, who voted for those two things should be proud, or thinking they've done the right or shrewd or smart thing for themselves, "their party," their constituents, or the rest of the people of Minnesota. No matter how it's explained, justified or rationalized, it was none of those things.

Polymet has to pass current

Polymet has to pass current regulations to get permitting to mine copper. They haven't lowered the regulations they have just tried to stop moving the goal post with a new study being hatched up by every environmental group from here to California. There are regulations to get permits and if Polymet passes them, they deserve the permits. You may not like mining but that has nothing to do with the law and regulations in place for copper mining.

Who do you think

wrote those regulations?
Mining companies spend a lot more on lobbying and campaign contributions than do environmental groups.
And the 'goal posts' should move as the science moves. We know a lot more about health and environmental impacts than we did 50 years ago.
I know that mining is necessary, but it is possible for it to be done responsibly.

EPA, DNR, MPCA make most of

EPA, DNR, MPCA make most of the regulation standards which Polymet will meet. I live 40 minutes away from proposed site and am comfortable that the mining will be done safely.

Solid waste exemption

If exempting sulfide mining from from solid waste regulation is not a lowering of standards, then what is? It seems rather ironic that Range legislators and PolyMet execs would tout their "foolproof" technology and then need deregulate, doesn't it? They claimed they could easily exceed existing regulations. Or is it that the history of sulfide mining is about to repeat itself in Minnesota?

Respect

I think you should show more respect for the people who will near the proposed mine. Do you really believe they are going to allow anyone to destroy their homes and lakes? They have more riding on this than we do.

Yes

People believe things when they are consistent with their other beliefs and circumstances.
When their jobs depend on a proposed mine, they are more likely to believe people who tell them that the environmental impact will be minimal, delayed and won't have a major effect on -them-.
Cognitive dissonance theory (and it's newer spinoffs) have been around for a while and are well substantiated. See the recent findings in behavioral economics; people are not rational actors.

I Agree Whole Heartedly

"People believe things when they are consistent with their other beliefs and circumstances."

The anti-mine folk will never be convinced that a mine could be operated in a safe and environmentally friendly way. I know little about it, however I have more faith in the locals to figure it out than I do in the people that want no mining no matter what. (ie talk about biased...)

Communities dependent on mining

These folks should be treated as addicts. They are desperate for a fix, and don't care about the consequences of getting one. They are the last opinion we should listen to in regard to the mining proposal. Lets get hypothetical, say these kinds (there are dozens planned you know) will pay out in 20-25 years. Lets also say the average miner can make 80 a year. Would you say yes if the mines were 100% guaranteed to contaminate the water shed, and ruin NE MN for 5 generations or more? How about 85%... 65%... 45%? There WILL be contamination of some kind. The mining company will not care or clean it up, this is just fact of how mining works, look at history if you must. The only question now is whether the consequences of feeding this particular addiction are tolerable for the non addicted.

Too Close to Decision

So people that are close to the issue should not be free to make important decisions?
Would that apply to Mothers choosing abortion?
People fighting to save some forest, animal, etc?

The reality is that not everyone up there is a miner, and most have children and grand children. And most love their lakes more than we do. I trust them to protect their homes. Besides there is still the EPA, DNR, etc, etc, etc.

I have no problem with approving the mining ...

... if there is a financing structure in place to collect the revenue required during the life of the mine to cover the costs of environmental remediation (millions of dollars per year for up to 300 years).

300 years

What type of "financial structure" might that be and how reliable or enforceable would it be in the year 2250 or 2304 unless it was a stupendous amount of cash up-front and in the bank before anything happened?

What would the value of one of today's dollars be 300 years from now, and would that inflation be part of the calculation of the amount required?

Would it include amounts necessary for "remediation" or "cleanup" of any aquifers, wetlands, streams, rivers, lakes that would be polluted by any "mishaps," and is that even possible, given the substances involved and the "technologies available" for removing those things from, say, the Kawishiwi River (which flows out of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and then back in after running near one of the proposed mining sites southeast of Ely)?

http://www.hookandbullet.com/googlemap.aspx?lat=47.8479614257813&lon=-91...

(zoom out a little for a look at the general topography of the area)

How many companies, corporations, etc., or reliable "financial structures," are you aware of that have been in existence for 300 years?

How would the costs related to the amount to be "held" in whatever "financial structure" you envision be calculated ("solid waste management" costs and whatever "remediation funds" would need to be set aside) and who would do those calculations?

Obviously, it would involve

Obviously, it would involve an upfront payment and a tax on what the mine produces as it is produced because we can expect Polymet to vanish after the mine is closed. The state would have to calculate the costs that would be required and would administer the funds. I suspect such a calculation would destroy the mine's economic feasibility, because you'd be looking at a multi-billion cash stream that would be required to provide the sort of financial security required for the state.

10% of World's Fresh Water For Sale: $720 Million

"Call now!"

Following up on Matt's comment, if you do the quick arithmetic on $80,000 per job, per year, for 300 people for 30 years, it comes to $720 million in paychecks.

But if, for some reason, the mining company in question decided to back out of their promise to cover the ongoing cost of (supposedly) capturing, maintaining and treating the rain and melting snow runoff from the massive tailings piles, and storing the toxic sludge "reverse-osmosis" would generate (the "solid waste management" that amendment was about), the cost to taxpayers of assuming those responsibilities would need to be figured in.

As I recall, that cost was estimated as being somewhere between $3 million and $6 million per year for at least 500 years. At, say, $4 million per year, that would add up to $2 billion (not adjusted for 500 years of inflation).

So that gives us $720 million in payroll revenue over 30 years with a combined possible taxpayer liability of a minimum of $2 billion in "solid waste management costs."

How much would you say the Boundary Waters, the Superior National Forest, Lake Superior (10% of the world's fresh water), and the rest of the vast, irreplaceable and interrelated water/ecosystem most of Northeast Minnesota consists of is worth?

Potential loss of the value of all that in exchange for $720 million worth of paychecks over 30 years? That's less than one's years worth of road construction and repair. And that somehow strikes you and others as a sound fiscal proposition?

And regarding this:

"The anti-mine folk will never be convinced that a mine could be operated in a safe and environmentally friendly way."

Besides it seeming a little rude to label people with genuine concern as "anti-mine folk," it would be helpful if you (or anyone) could provide an example or two of how that's been done at other copper-nickel mining facilities. The people you call "anti-mine folk" haven't been convinced because, they say, no copper-nickel mining operation on the planet seems to have been able to operate "in a safe and environmentally friendly way" to this point.

No.

People who live there don't want their land or lakes polluted. But, once the serpent is in the garden they won't be able to get it out and sulfide mining has its well-documented history. PolyMet has yet to provide any hard evidence that their "foolproof" technology will succeed for perpetuity. Indeed, "we" should show more respect for locals. Yet, even Rangers like Sen. Tomasonni have a history of local interference. He was the one, after all, who prevented locals in SE MN from trying to put reasonable regulations on silica sand mining a few years ago.

Bakk gets jobs for the Range

Bakk gets jobs for the Range and Polymet still has to pass all current requirements for permitting. The rub in the permitting for copper mining was the ever changing regulations and law suits demanding more studies being used to stop it.

Disappointment

There's much to be disappointed by, and little to be enthused about, as a result of this special session. Republicans have once again proved themselves to be intractable, the DFL leadership caved, as others have pointed out, and it seems likely that, to preserve fewer jobs than Target eliminated in recent weeks, much of the Arrowhead region will become an environmental wasteland. The promises of mining companies are as reliable as those of a drug addict. Minnesota citizens and taxpayers will be paying for the destruction wrought by sulfide mining for generations after the mines shut down and the miners themselves have died.

I'm not personally especially enthused about adding new programs, though I might be persuaded by universal pre-K, but I'm even less enthused about the broken-record foolishness of the Republican mantra to cut taxes. Unlike Mr. Apelen, I don't believe giving me back $35 from the surplus is going to significantly enhance my quality of life. Since we have far more infrastructure maintenance expenses than we can pay for already, I'd rather see the money going to fix roads and bridges, or be used toward expanding mass transit beyond inefficient buses in a perversely inept Twin Cities bus system.

Investments Good Spending Bad

If the politicians would actually spend the money on infrastructure I would be fine with that. Unfortunately the DFL folk just want to create more expensive programs that commit us to additional long term costs. While begging to raise taxes even further. When is enough enough?

By my simple math:
$1,000,000,000 / 3,000,000 tax payers = $333 seems more than $35

Simple math

That's the problem. The math is simple, but it doesn't add up in the end. I can almost promise you that you won't get a $333 check. The surplus is a theoretical surplus and you'll pay for it on the backside (and then some) anyway. What the MN GOP is promising is like that check that everyone gets from Reader's Digest Sweepstakes with a letter informing them that they may have just won a million dollars. Oh, and by the way, don't tell your neighbors (because then you'd find out they got one too and it's a crock to get you to buy Reader's Digest and all the random junk they market with those lick'em stickers and scratch off circles that tell you what you'll get free with your purchase).

Possibility with GOP

At least there is a possibility of getting something with the GOP. With the DFL, they truly believe that we should increase the size of government "because we have extra revenue"... How many times have you heard them say, "We should spend more since there is a $2 Billion surplus."
or "Why is the GOP being so stingy, we have a $2 Billion surplus?"

It is like an hourly worker buying a higher cost home because they have earned some overtime pay... And we know how that ends, the worker goes back to forty hour weeks and struggles to pay their larger house payments.

I keep asking, but get no answers. So if the DFL folk believe in increasing government spending in good times, will they be just as passionate about cutting programs and spending in down times? Or this just an escalator that keeps going up?

Well, not exactly

"It is like an hourly worker buying a higher cost home because they have earned some overtime pay... And we know how that ends, the worker goes back to forty hour weeks and struggles to pay their larger house payments."

It is more like that hourly worker sits down to figure out what to do with that overtime pay, because the roof leaks, the deck has a few rotten boards, and that siding, well, it seriously could use replacing.

And that "possibility of getting something from the GOP"? I guess that is what keeps some folks looking for the R when they go into vote, but when you look closely, those benefits go only to the few, and they usually buy them.

Straight Face

Can you really write that with a straight face?

The DFL are the ones trying to hand out free child care for 4 yr olds, free health insurance, higher minimum wages, more welfare, etc, etc, etc in order to secure more votes. Please remember that everyone benefits from lower taxes, only government employees and those in the programs benefit from higher taxes.

And before I get the replies. We all benefit from general services and infrastructure spending. However that is not what we ussually argue over.

By the way, where are these leaky roofs, rotten boards, etc? My rough math is that our generous politicians between last year and this year agreed to borrow and/or spend $1,500,000,000+ to fix things in the state. Most of which was in bonds that we will be paying off for decades. That is a lot of rotten boards.

I'll answer you

John, I don't know what DFLer's will do in down times, but I DO know what you GOPer's will do under those circumstances. It was called the T-Paw Years and it was a miserable failure. So, whatever the DFL chooses to do, it can't be any worse.

Please Explain

Take a look at the table entitled "Historical General Fund Spending". Please note the much higher than inflation typical increases. Inflation is running ~5% for 2 years, and government is growing at about twice that rate... This can not end well. (the 2010-11 anomoly had to do with temporary Fed stimulus money in earlier years.)

http://mn.gov/mmb/budget/state-budget-overview/threeminutes/

Now instead of raising taxes Pawlenty and crew used the schools to borrow during the recession with the plan that the debts would be paid in full after the recession. (as they were) Use rainy day and debt tools to stabilize government funding during economic swings.

So what was terrible about what they did?

History re-write

"Pawlenty and crew used the schools to borrow during the recession with the plan that the debts would be paid in full after the recession."

Was that the 12-year recession that started in 2002 and lasted until 2014?

Or was that the self-imposed recession that was brought on by the huge tax cuts put in place just before Pawlenty and crew began their absolute refusal to raise taxes "a penny" to adjust for the over-tax cutting UNsurplus and get the books back in balance?

And speaking of those late-90s, early-2000s hefty (and permanent) tax cuts that "allowed businesses and individuals to keep more of their own money," how come the economy didn't take off and generate all that "growth" income and wipe out the deficits that were piling up like conservatives are always saying they will?

I mean, if that actually works, how come we had 12 solid years of deficits that maxed-out at $6+ billion and didn't go away until after Democrats raised taxes?

And if it's imperative to cut taxes when there's a surplus, why is it imperative to not raise them when there's a deficit? I've never understood that one. Especially seeing as how that "lower taxes leads to growth, more employment, more tax revenue" theory you seem to believe in so strongly and promote so enthusiastically hasn't worked and seems to have had the opposite effect every time it's tried. A person would think big tax cuts followed by 10 or 12 years of no tax increases would have been plenty of time for that plan to work, wouldn't you say?

Shift History

From what I see the shifts did not start until the great recession was under way.
http://archive.leg.state.mn.us/docs/2013/other/130489.pdf

And please remember that the GOP raised state spending faster than inflation on average. See earlier link.

Now please make up your mind. Is this state doing great or not? If it is, it is not because of the 2 years that the DFL had absolute control. It is mostly because of the dozen or so years that the GOP has been constraining government spending and fighting tax increases.

The question is how do we get more out of government while only giving them inflationary raises? Not this 2 or 3 times inflation thing that the DFL supports.

Typical Republican logic...

The state is doing great because of what the Republicans did prior to 2010. The national economy was in the tank, not because of George Bush's polices for 8 years, but because Obama was inaugurated in 2009.

National Economy

In my opinion the national economy blew up as part of a typical business cycle. (every ~8 years)

http://media.officeinsight.com/images/full/2011/2011.0228.Gensler.Recess...

Bush and Obama may have had some impact, but I think it was nominal.

Bad news... ~2016 will be 8 years.

Your opinion

doesn't equal fact. And the economy is doing quite well, thank you.

Changes Fast

I remember the economy flaming hot in the Spring of 2008 as we struggled to build enough equipment to fill the orders... And then by late 2008 we were laying off people.

Not saying it is going to happen, but history and that chart show that it will. Here is another good graphic.
https://traderscrucibledotcom1.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/unrate_max_63...

It is amazing

How short the memories are for republicans

Picture of Tom Baak

"Hey there, Lonely Boy" popped into my head :-)

Bakk - a fresh breath of sanity

Although I disagree with Mr. Bakk on many issues, I am sure the GOP enjoyed negotiating with him rather than the increasingly erratic Dayton.