Walz Budget Raises Taxes, Barely Cuts Spending

Edited_Tax_increases_cartoon.jpgMinnesota has been under Gov. Walz’ emergency order for almost a year now. The impact of the economic clampdown has been staggering. The state has gone from a budget surplus in the last biennium to a significant budget shortfall.

It is against this backdrop that the DFL governor introduced on January 23 his budget for the 2022-2023 biennium. In it, he proposes a new fifth income tax rate of 10.85 % and a hike in the corporate income tax rate to 11.25 %. Minnesota has the fifth highest top rate of state personal income tax in the United States - 9.85 % on income over $164,400 a year. Only Oregon, New Jersey, Hawaii, and California have higher top rates.

As MN Rep Erik Mortensen (R, Shakopee) wrote recently, “Minnesota doesn’t just tax “the rich” heavily. Our state’s lowest personal income tax rate - 5.35 % on the first dollar of taxable income - is higher than the highest rate in 25 states. At 9.80 % on the first dollar of taxable revenue, our state has the fourth highest state corporate income tax rate in the United States. Only Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Iowa have higher rates.” Mortensen further noted that the proposed state budget is 50% higher than it was just 10 years ago.

The Walz budget cuts only $150 million, or about 0.3%, of spending over the next two years. Instead, among other spending increases is a call for $150 million in bonds to build back businesses destroyed by rioters in May.

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Star Tribune: Kersten Opinion Piece Most-Read Online in 2020

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At the end of last year, the Star Tribune ranked the articles that appeared in 2020 in its Opinion section , based on input from its online readership. The piece that ranked the highest was “Racial justice: The new religion?” by Katherine Kersten.

The article on “social justice” as the new religion garnered extensive national attention—it was featured on Tucker Carlson’s show and Fox and Friends, highlighted on Real Clear Politics, and discussed on numerous national radio talk shows.

Kersten is a writer, attorney, and Senior Policy Fellow at Center of the American Experiment. The Star Tribune ranked at #4 a counterpoint article, “I am a racist. So is Katherine Kersten. She can’t admit it,” by Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer. A weak counterpoint to Kersten’s article, it confirmed, likely unintentionally, her thesis. Another of Katherine’s opinion pieces, “Minneapolis must recover from its pandemic of fear,” came in at sixth most-read.

In her top-ranking article, Katherine Kersten observes that this past year, “a movement that condemns America as ‘systemically racist’ has convulsed our public consciousness.” Very quickly, education, business, media, nonprofit and entertainment institutions have fallen in line, “issuing statements declaring their virtue and right thinking.”

“This movement elevates passion over reason and dogma over data. It contemptuously rejects, and attempts to silence, calls for objective analysis as self-evidently racist.”

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An Important Message from the Chairwoman, Republican National Committee

RNC_Chairwoman_Ronna_McDaniel_edited.jpgWhat I’m about to tell you is of the utmost importance.
 
Violence has no place in our politics. Period. I wholly condemned [the] senseless acts of violence [in Washington DC on January 6], and I strongly reiterate the calls to remain peaceful in the weeks ahead. 
 
Those who partook in the assault on our nation’s Capitol and those who continue to threaten violence should be found, held accountable, and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Let me be clear: Anyone who has malicious intent is not welcome in Washington, D.C. or in any other State Capitol Building.
 
The peaceful transition of power is one of our nation’s founding principles and is necessary for our country to move forward. Now is the time to come together as one nation, united in the peaceful pursuit of our common democratic purpose.
 
Our Founding Fathers established a Nation of laws, not a Nation of anarchy. And, the Republican Party is the Party of individual freedom, liberty, entrepreneurship, innovation, and the American Dream, not the hateful violence we witnessed [Jan. 6].
 
God bless you and God bless the United States of America.
 

Thank you,
Ronna McDaniel
Chairwoman
Republican National Committee


Seeking Candidates for State Central Committee Delegates

State_Central_Convention_illustration.jpgRepublicans interested in influencing the future direction of the Minnesota Republican Party are invited to identify themselves as candidates for State Central Committee delegates and alternates.  The SD49 Officer Nominating Committee is ready to interview volunteer leaders who wish to run for election to these positions at the upcoming SD49 GOP convention.  Interested volunteers must identify their interest by Feb 6th to allow the Committee time to complete the interview process prior to the February 20 convention.   

State Central Delegate candidates should plan on providing a short write-up of what they have done that they feel qualifies them to be elected.  The write-up will be available to the convention delegates ahead of the SD49 convention.  Candidates will also be able to make a short statement during the convention.  Based on the number of votes received, State Central Delegates and Alternates will be identified in descending order of votes received. 

The Republican Party in Senate District 49 is known as an active and impactful organization, primarily due to its volunteer leaders and involved members.  If you have a desire to be more involved – this is your chance to volunteer!  Please indicate your desire to be a State Central Committee delegate to Jim Bowen [email protected] (360-927-8301) or to SD49 Co-Chairs Joel Quinnell ([email protected]) or Russ Burnison ([email protected]).  If you wish more information on these positions, contact them with any questions on the duties, commitments, or election processes.

 

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Johns Hopkins University Academic Finds COVID Hasn’t Increased US Death Rate

covid_19_box.jpgWith all of the news about the number of deaths attributed to COVID-19, have you ever wondered about how the overall death rate in 2020 compares with that of prior years?

LifeSiteNews.com writer Michael Haynes wrote on November 27 that Dr. Genevieve Brand, the Assistant Director for MS in Applied Economics at Johns Hopkins University gave a video lecture in which she examined the deaths due to COVID-19 and deaths overall in the US through September. Her analysis found that COVID-19 has resulted in no excess deaths.

Briand’s lecture, using data drawn from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website found:
• The deaths of older people stayed about the same before and after COVID-19
• The percentages of deaths among all age groups remain relatively the same
• COVID-19-related deaths have exceeded deaths from heart diseases – unusual since heart disease has always prevailed as the leading cause of deaths
• When compared with 2018, 2020 has not had the expected drastic increase across all causes of death – in fact, there was a significant decrease in heart disease and other causes of death
• The total decrease in deaths by other causes almost exactly equals the increase in deaths by COVID-19 – perhaps due to the recategorization of the cause of deaths
• By the CDC’s own account, in this pandemic, deaths of children have been less than in each of the last five flu seasons

The university removed an article written about her findings published in the online version of the Johns Hopkins University newsletter. Their reason? “It was being used to support false and dangerous inaccuracies about the impact of the pandemic.”  You can read their full reasons on their siite.

Writing for the American Institute for Economic Research, Ethan Yang notes that Briand’s study is still being vetted but feels that Briand’s argument should be examined and discussed.

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Minneapolis Residents Suing Over Police Funding Cuts

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Hennepin County District Court Judge Jamie Anderson issued an order on November 20 ruling that Minneapolis’ citizens have standing to sue the City over the decimation of its police force by the City Council and Mayor.

The Court found that the City Council and Mayor “have no authority to divert funds from the Minneapolis Police Department if they have not met their public duty to fund a police force of at least 0.0017 employees per resident.” The Court added that “misallocation of money that properly should fund a police force is an unlawful disbursement of funds.” The Court’s order allows the petitioners, eight residents of Minneapolis’ embattled North Side communities, to discover the police-force and budget numbers that that City has failed thus far to fully report.

The Court’s order rejected the City of Minneapolis’ attempt to have the residents’ lawsuit thrown out on standing grounds. The parties will now submit a discovery plan to the Court, and the Court will set an evidentiary hearing to take place in early 2021, where the parties will offer testimony and other evidence.

Cathy Spann, one of the petitioners who initiated this legal action, said: “The Court rightly rejected the City’s attempt to have our lawsuit dismissed because we haven’t taken bullets ourselves, as we have watched our neighborhoods become full of violence and stray bullets. We look forward to testifying in Court about the City’s failure to protect us, and we will get to the bottom of the actual numbers of police officers protecting the North Side and the City.”

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December State Central Meeting Will Elect MN GOP Secretary

Tanya_Simons_David_Pasco_MN_GOP_Secretary_candidates.jpgThe Minnesota Republican Party holds State Central Committee meetings twice a year, in late fall and late spring. On Saturday, December 5, State Central Committee delegates and alternates will convene by Zoom teleconference for their last meeting of 2020.

The Committee Meeting will elect the State Party Secretary, consider proposed changes to the Party bylaws, and transact other business as required. The MN GOP Chair, Jennifer Carnahan, and legislative representatives will provide updates and wrap-up the recent election. The other executive officers will also provide party status reports.

The election of the State Party Secretary became necessary when the previous secretary, Barbara Sutter, resigned in August to become the Republican National Committeewoman from Minnesota. Tanya Simons was appointed the acting secretary in August and is running to complete the term, which ends in April, 2021. David Pascoe is also running for secretary.

Tanya Simons is a mother of two, a twenty-year business professional at a Fortune 500 Minnesota company, a local school board member, and a Deputy Chair of Senate District 36 (Brooklyn Park, Champlin, and Coon Rapids).

David Pasco is a dad of one, a licensed attorney and certified financial planner, a Naval Reserve officer, a party leader at various levels including Senate District 60 (portions of north and east Minneapolis) and Congressional District 5. He served one term as MN GOP Deputy Chair, following which he had a one-year military deployment.

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Walz Emergency Order Blocks Holiday Party, Group Events

Restaurant_Interior_Holiday_Party_2020.jpgGovernor Walz announced new pandemic restrictions on November 18. The restriction went into effect from midnight Friday, November 21, to midnight Friday, December 18. The latest order essentially closed restaurants, bars, and movie theaters to on-premises enjoyment by members of the public.

Consequently, our traditional holiday party in early December is no longer possible. We’d begun planning a special holiday gathering at the Nonna Rosa Ristorante Italiano in Robbinsdale. Recently acquired by former MN GOP Deputy Chair Jesse Pfliger and his business partner Tony Lazzaro, they had offered to open the restaurant just to our group one evening. Although we will be unable to enjoy Nonna Rosa’s hospitality for our holiday party, seriously consider trying their take-out while we wait for the ban on table service to be lifted..

Mann_Hopkins_Theater.jpgSadly, the Mann Cinema 6 Theaters in Hopkins has become a permanent casualty of the emergency order. As reported by AlphaNews the Hopkins movie theater announced in a Facebook posting that it will be permanently closing its doors. “While Hopkins Cinema 6 did all it could to adjust, it is not enough to stay afloat, and we sadly join a growing number of small businesses and movie theaters closing permanently.”
It was a venue that could hold over 100 people in compliance with earlier physical distancing criteria, and we made good use of it for private movie events and presentations.

While nowhere close to the same experience, Zoom conferences may be the only option for SD49 Republican gatherings until the pandemic restriction are lifted.


State-funded Recount of Bloomington’s Ranked Choice Voting Ballots Denied

Small_Cropped_image_only_Logo_No_Ranked_Choice_Voting.jpgEfforts to secure a recount of the votes cast for Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) in Bloomington ran into several obstacles last week that appear insurmountable. 

As we mentioned in our last newsletter, the RCV question on the Bloomington ballot only passed by 0.19% over the 51% threshold required to change the Bloomington city charter.  By state statute, a voter may request a recount at state expense if the difference between the “Yes” votes and the “No” votes is less than 0.5%.  However, the Recount Statute was written with candidate elections and ballot questions in mind that require a simple majority to win (50% +1 vote).  It does not consider questions that require 51% to win.

The City of Bloomington required the requesters to file a bond or cash of over $12,000 within less than four days if they wanted to proceed with the recount.  Many people were willing to donate to the effort, but ultimately it was not possible to raise enough in the short time available.

As an alternative to cash, several Bloomington residents who had been trained as Election Judges volunteered their time and expertise to perform the recount.  This offer was made to the city as a way to reduce the cost.  On Friday evening, November 20, Bloomington’s Assistant City Manager responded,

     “The City of Bloomington conducts all election-related activities in strict conformance with state law.  All election related tasks are performed by paid City employees under the direction of the recount official, the City Clerk.  We are not willing to deviate from that standard and use volunteers.”

The Bloomington voters who sought the recount are specifically concerned with the count of the absentee ballots.  Votes against RCV on Election Day exceeded votes for RCV by 58% to 42%.   However, virtually two-thirds of the total ballots were cast absentee, before Election Day, and they went for RCV 57% to 43%

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Ranked Choice Voting Petition for Recount Submitted

Small_Cropped_image_only_Logo_No_Ranked_Choice_Voting.jpgAfter the final absentee ballot was tallied, Bloomington announced that the ballot initiative to implement Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) for municipal elections had passed, but by a slim margin.

Going forward with Ranked Choice Voting requires a change to the Bloomington City Charter. Any Charter change must pass by 51%. Of the 49,489 votes cast on the question, 25,239 were needed to reach the 51% threshold. “Yes” votes count was 25,332. This represents a margin of 93 votes, or 0.19%.

By law, if the margin of victory is less than 0.5% of the total number of votes cast when the total number of votes cast is less than 50,000, a voter may request a recount at state expense. Such a request needs to be accompanied by a petition signed by at least 25 eligible Bloomington voters and submitted within seven (7) days following the meeting of the Hennepin County Canvassing Board.

On Monday, November 16, Randy Sutter, as the voter of record, formally requested a recount of the votes registered for Bloomington Ballot Question 3 on Ranked Choice Voting. The request was supported by a petition signed by 94 Bloomington voters, collected over five days following Election Day.



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