Highlights of End of Session Budget Agreements

Gaselka_on_Budget_Deal.jpgSunday evening, Gov. Walz and the leaders of the MN House and Senate outlined the results of their closed-door negotiations on the 2020-2021 budget. If the details of the deal are passed by the legislature and ultimately signed by the governor, the $48.4 billion deal will represent a 6.4% increase over the 2018-2019 $45.5 billion budget.


• Budget grows about $1 billion over the projected base budget of $47.4 billion. It could have grown by nearly $2 billion if inflation, increased population, and new and expanded state programs had taken full effect.

• No increase in the gas or auto sales taxes

• Health care provider tax continues, but falls from 2% to 1.8%

• Health care reinsurance program extended for two years, to keep health care premiums affordable

• The second tier of the state’s income tax will be cut from 7.05% to 6.8% by 2022.

• Public schools will get an additional $540 million, about 2% more each year on the per-pupil funding formula that covers day-to-day expenses like teachers’ salaries.

• Higher education will get $150 million more

• A blue ribbon committee will be created to find $100 million in savings by 2023 in the state’s health and human services budget

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Bloomington Young Adults (ages 16-23) Needed - City Commissions

Boards__Commissions-Generic.jpgThe City of Bloomington has openings for youth commissioners. Term lengths are one year from September 1 through August 31 with meetings held once a month. Applicants must be ages 16 - 23 to apply. Applications are due by June 30.

Youth Commissioners may serve on the following commissions:

  • SUSTAINABILITY COMMISSION - Advises the City Council, City staff, and the community on policies, practices, procedures and proposals that relate to the sustainable use and management of environmental resources that include air, water, energy, land and ecological resources, and waste.
  • HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION - Learn about human rights issues such as race, diversity, equity, inclusion and more and how they affect the community. Be part of creating educational opportunities and awareness of these issues in Bloomington.
  • PARK, ARTS AND RECREATION COMMISSION - Advises the City Council on matters related to the capital development, improvement and maintenance of City parks as well as recreation and cultural arts programs

To apply online, CLICK HERE 

Edina Seeks Volunteers for Housing Strategy Task Force

VolunteerEdina.jpgThe City of Edina seeks volunteers by May 28 for its newly-forming Housing Task Force. The Task Force will assist in the development of a comprehensive housing strategy for the community.

Affordable Housing Development Manager Stephanie Hawkinson reported that “the Task Force will be created to look at the current housing stock and determine where there are gaps in the housing that is needed both in regard to cost as well as the type”.

Individuals interested in applying can go to the city website’s “Volunteer-Edina” page, CLICK HERE 

The application will close May 28, 2019. Council will make selections by June 3, and formal appointments will be made at the June 4 City Council meeting.

Questions on the Task Force can be forwarded to Stephanie Hawkinson at shawkinson@edinamn.gov

Lower Xcel Electric Bill? Credit GOP Federal Tax Change

Budget_Calculator_Pen.jpgRemember that electricity-bill refund we told you to expect last October, due to the lower Federal tax rates

The anticipated “by year end 2018” one-time payout timing was missed by 5 months, however the refund (finally) showed up in our Xcel electricity invoices this month. Tell your neighbors to check the details on their May bill. The average customer saw about $45 refunded.

Because the tax cuts reduced the corporate tax income tax rate Xcel Energy had tax savings in 2018 (last year) that are being passed on directly to its customers. The Star Tribune reported that the 2019 (current year) reduction will be reflected March thru December. And ongoing, the portion of the energy-charges that is due to Federal Taxes is lower, leaving just a bit more in our pockets.

As Isaac Orr at Center of the American Experiment wrote: “So the next time you hear someone say they didn’t personally benefit from the tax cuts bill, you can point to at least one concrete example of how they saved about 4.4 percent on their electric bills directly because of the tax cuts.”

Deadline to File for Local City Council Races Near

Red_Vote_Box_graphic.jpgBloomington and Minnetonka will be holding city council and/or mayor elections this fall. To run in one of these races, the time to file as a candidate is rapidly approaching. In both cities, the candidate filing period is May 21 – June 4.

Bloomington City Council and Mayor
The Mayor position (incumbent: Gene Winstead) and three (3) of seven (7) City Council positions will be up for election. The incumbent Councilmembers are Tim Busse (At-Large), Dwayne Lowman (District I), and Shawn Nelson (District II).

Minnetonka City Council
There are five Minnetonka City Council seats up for election in 2019 – all four ward seats, and a special election for at-large seat B. The incumbents are Bob Ellingson (Ward 1), Rebecca Schack (Ward 2), Mike Happe, (Ward 3), and Tim Bergstedt (Ward 4), and Susan Carter (At Large, Seat B)
These races are generally nonpartisan, but we may be able to help you get started. Contact us at ideas@sd49gop.com, and we’ll talk.

Links to the City of Bloomington website City Council & Election Information:
For the most recent status on Bloomington’s City Council Elections, contact: Deb Smith at 952-563-8780 or dsmith@BloomingtonMN.gov.

Links to Current Info on Minnetonka City Council & Election Information:
For the most recent status on Minnetonka’s City Council Elections, please contact: City Clerk David Maeda at 952-939-8218, or elections@eminnetonka.com.

The Election Date for 2019 General Elections is Tuesday November 5, 2019.

This Week in the Legislature: DFL Budget Increases Taxes by $12B

Tax_increases_cartoon1.jpgDemocrats in the Minnesota House have brought their tax bill to the floor. Across the entirety of their budget bills, Democrats are raising taxes by more than $12 billion over the next four years.

$12 billion in additional taxes over the next four years? On top of a $1 billion surplus (projected revenue over previously approved expenditures)?

The DFL legislators in the House are asking us to believe that the state government needs to take in 14% more than it required to operate over the last four years.

Even Governor Walz's own administration confirmed that low and middle-income Minnesotans will be hit hardest by Democrats' massive tax increases.

Starting this week, the ten major spending bills and policy plans will be taken up by conference committees that are tasked with resolving differences between the House and the Senate. (We've highlighted in a separate article an especially controversial policy that's included in the Omnibus Education Bill.) As Minnesota taxpayers, you should contact your representatives to make clear that you do not support these excessive tax increases. To see the names and addresses for SD49’s MN legislators, CLICK HERE


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Edina Students Sought for City Boards and Commissions

Edina_School_For_Student_City_Board_openings.jpgEdina’s Boards and Commissions ae seeking a diversity of perspective. Applications are due May 22. If you are a young conservative student, we feel you would bring a point of view that is particularly needed.

“It’s important to have student commissioners on our commissions,” said Community Engagement Coordinator MJ Lamon. “This opportunity is available to rising sophomores, juniors and seniors. You don’t need to be a topic expert for the commission of interest; it’s an opportunity to learn about government and how it operates.”

You also do not need to be a green activist or a member of the Edina High School Environmental Club. Applicants do need to be entering Grades 10-12 for the 2019-2020 school year and be enrolled in Edina High School or live in Edina to participate. Appointments are yearlong and begin Sept. 1. 

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Five Years On - Personal Care Assistants’ Forced Unionization

We have been following for some time the efforts of the Minnesota Personal Care Assistants (MNPCA) to overturn their unionization “by fiat” five years ago during the Dayton administration.

The MNPCA submitted a petition in 2017 to decertify the original union “election” conducted by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). The Minnesota Bureau of Mediation Services dismissed it even though the petition had more signatures than there were votes to unionize in the first place. The MNPCA took their case to the Minnesota Court of Appeals in 2018.

With the financial support of the Americans for Lawful Unionism (ALU), the MNPCA has circulated two more petitions, both asking that the original union election be decertified and a new vote be conducted. Despite compiling signed cards from over 13,000 PCAs, the Minnesota Bureau of Mediation Services has dismissed these petitions and refused to take any action.

In a supporting action, the MNPCA requested the official listing of PCAs in Minnesota. The Dayton administration refused to release it. The MNPCA sued and secured a ruling from Ramsey County District Court Judge Awsumb directing the state to comply with the request. The state has appealed.

Doug_Seaton___.jpgWe are proud to recognize Doug Seaton (at right) as one of the principals on the legal team from the law firm of Seaton, Peters & Revnew that has worked hard on the petition filings and the court cases and appeals.

The law firm has also challenged the SEIU practice of skimming its dues from state payments to Personal Care Assistants. The firm’s work has played a key role in securing the Federal Rule banning the dues skimming from PCA and child care Medicaid payments, likely to be issued soon as a final rule.

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SD49 Business Owner on Pres. Trump’s Roundtable

Bonvino___Cooney2.jpgPresident Trump came to Burnsville on April 15 to hear how the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, passed and signed in December 2017, has impacted business. A featured speaker at that roundtable was Edina business owner Chris Bonvino, pictured here with Ross Cooney, one of his staff members. You can hear his remarks by CLICKING HERE, starting at the -1:39 mark.

The roundtable was attended by over 300 legislators, Republican state party officials, supporters, and members of the media. Hosted by the Nuss Truck & Equipment Co. in their Burnsville facility, the number of attendees was limited.

Barbara Sutter, MN GOP Secretary, was struck by the personal care President Trump took to listen to each speaker and to look into the audience to gauge individual responses. “He rarely glanced at his script. He was genuine in his comments.”

Bonvino___Cooney_w_Trump_(2).jpgNoah Harber was able to secure a ticket due to the work that he did as a volunteer for the Republican National Committee and Senate District 49 during the 2018 campaign. “It was surreal to see [President] Trump practically in my backyard just minutes from where I live and work. The Trump team must think Minnesota is in play in 2020, which is exciting to think about how that could affect our local elections.”

A large number of supporters lined a street nearby to greet the president’s motorcade as it arrived and departed.


Primaries and Caucuses -- Lessons from North Carolina

Voting_Day.jpgMinnesota is moving its presidential primary up to occur early in March of presidential election years.  Party caucuses will occur only about a week ahead of the primary, rather than several months.  No longer will caucuses be able to attract casual Republicans with the opportunity to vote on a weeknight evening in non-binding straw polls, since the primary vote that counts will take place in day-long polling on the presidential primary day.

What impact might that have on attracting new members to become engaged with Minnesota Republican Party operations?  We reached out to Greg and Lisa Beam, who were active members of the SD49 Republican community before moving to North Carolina.  North Carolina also conducts its presidential primary in March.  We asked Greg to describe how the North Carolina Republican party conducts its primary and elects its convention delegates.

North Carolina’s experience with the impact of presidential primaries on party meetings appears to have adjusted expectations for turnout at meetings like caucuses and conventions.  In turn, North Carolina’s party meetings and conventions are more informal and require less upfront preparation, although each county is unique in terms of participation or enthusiasm.   At the same time, grassroots engagement and participation are particular challenges.

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