Written by John Phelan on May 23, 2018
Courtesy of the Center of the American Experiment
The federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), passed in December, was the largest reform of the federal tax code since 1986. In what has become known as ‘tax conformity’, Minnesota’s legislators worked this session to pass a bill which would bring the state tax code into line with the new federal one.
And today Governor Mark Dayton vetoed it.
How will ordinary Minnesotan’s be impacted by Gov. Dayton’s veto?
Next year, Minnesota’s taxpayers will have to fill out a 2018 federal income tax form, a Minnesota-only tax form based on the old federal tax code, and a Minnesota tax form. Economist John Spry explains that the situation would become so complex that “the Minnesota Department of Revenue has not yet counted how many lines would be added to our tax forms.” An estimated 800,000 Minnesotans would end up paying $850 million dollars in extra taxes.
Why did Gov. Dayton veto the tax bill?
Gov. Dayton’s office explained that the bill “put powerful special interests, multinational corporations, and the rich ahead of Minnesota school kids and families.” But a look at the tax bill doesn’t support this at all.Read more
Lonny Leitner spoke to a large contingent of local Republicans as the featured speaker at the SD49 program on May 22. He pointed out that Republicans too frequently think that our positions are intuitively obvious. Unfortunately, our intellectual analysis fails to work against the arguments of the Left. We need to start defending our positions from a moral and emotion-filled standpoint.
When it comes to mobilizing emotions, Democrats beat Republicans hands down. Year after year, Democrats accuse Republicans of
• Waging a war on women
• Not caring about minorities
• Inflicting pain on working Americans to benefit the wealthy
We know this is not true, yet we have not been effective in countering these attacks. We know that women today are more empowered, that the minority unemployment rate is the lowest it has been in years, and that working Americans are more optimistic about their futures. Yet these are impersonal and unpersuasive abstractions. We need to put a “human face” on our arguments.
As David Horowitz said, “[We] need to stop talking like accountants and administrators and start speaking to the voters’ hearts.”
In our April 23 post, we reported that at the five Congressional District conventions held in April, Jeff Johnson commanded between one-third to half of the votes in straw polls for the MN Governor candidates. Mary Giuliani Stephens secured between 13% and 23%.
Candidate Stephens led the polling at the Congressional District 7 convention held this past weekend in Ottertail, MN. During the convention, 247 Republicans participated in a straw poll. The vote results were
Mary Giuliani Stephens 37%
Jeff Johnson 32%
Philip Parrish 22%
Tim Pawlenty 6%
Stephens’ running mate, MN Rep. Jeff Backer, is from Browns Valley on Minnesota’s western border.
Phillip Parrish bested his previous high of 17% in the Congressional District 1 convention.
A movement by some Bloomington residents to seek a ballot referendum on the city council’s action to “organize” city trash collection has come a long way. The citizens’ movement, sometimes referred to as “Hands Off my Cans”, and the City of Bloomington presented their oral arguments to the Minnesota Supreme Court on May 2.
Through a series of petitions, court hearings and appeals that started in 2016, the question now has become whether or not the citizens of Bloomington, a charter city, can petition their government to amend that charter to address an initiative that was the subject of a state law.
A Minnesota Appeals Court earlier found that the proposed charter amendment was preempted by the state law. The state law did not mandate the “organizing” of trash collection, but it put in place language that would facilitate such a move if a city wished to constrain competitive trash collection, taking upon itself the role of contracting for residential collection rather than leave it to individual residents to select their own collectors.
During oral arguments to the Minnesota Supreme Court, the lawyer for the citizens group argued that the legislation did not preempt the rights of the citizens of a home rule charter city to seek a charter amendment.
Most of the questions posed by the justices did not touch on preemption. If one can judge by the nature of the questioning, the case put forth by the citizens appeared to go well.
Andy Cilek, Executive Director of the Minnesota Voters Alliance (MVA), has provided some interesting findings in a recent report by the Office of the Legislative Auditor (OLA). Cilek spoke at our April 24 program to update us on MVA’s suit challenging a Minnesota law restricting the wearing of clothes containing political messages to polling places. MVA has also been in the courts to compel our MN Secretary of State to provide public information on Minnesota voters.
Independently, the Legislative Auditor has reviewed a subset of that data. The Auditor’s report confirmed that “ineligible persons are being allowed to vote” and that more than “26,000 persons who were marked ‘challenged,’ actually voted in the 2016 election.”
(The “challenge” designation indicates that the person failed one or more of the eligibility tests prior to election day. These individuals are given ballots if they simply ‘swear’ they are eligible.)
The Auditor then examined a small sub-set of those 26,000, namely, 612 who were challenged due to a felony conviction, concluding that he was only able to determine that 19 of those 612 were in fact actually eligible to vote.
The findings of the Legislative Auditor underline the importance of MVA’s legal challenge against Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon to release “public voter data”.
A court hearing on that challenge, recently set for May 25, has been rescheduled for 1:30 p.m., Friday, June 22, 2018. The hearing will take place in Ramsey County District Court, Courtroom 1570, 15 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55102. The hearing will be open to the public.
MVA’s goal in this litigation is to get access to the data needed to understand:
• How more than 26,000 persons marked challenged on the polling rosters, were permitted to vote in 2016, according to the recent report by the Office of the Legislative Auditor (OLA). The OLA examined only a small sub-set of those 26,000, namely 612, and determined only 3% of them to be eligible.
• Why there were over 16,000 new registrants in 2016 who identified themselves using the last four digits of a Social Security Number but could not be found in the Social Security Administration database. You can look up the statistics yourself at their site CLICK HERE
• How more than 7,000 registrants in Ramsey County alone failed the “address check” following the 2016 election.
• And, how more than 2,800 individuals are recorded as having voted twice in the same election according to the limited data available from the Secretary’s office.Read more
Since April 14, five Congressional District conventions and the Young Republican convention have been held to endorse candidates for US Congress and listen to candidates for state-wide office.
Several of them also conducted straw polls of the Governor candidates. These are polls that are taken of the delegates at these conventions and may not represent the preferences of Republican voters in their districts. However, they show how the activists in these districts are leaning. Here are the results of four of these straw polls:
|CD 3||CD 1||CD 2||CD 4||CD 5|
|April 14 2018||April 21 2018||April 21 2018||April 21 2018||April 21 2018|
|Mary Giuliani Stephens||13%||22%||13%||21%||23%|
A straw poll was not conducted at the Young Republican convention.
Keith Downey announced his withdrawal from consideration for the Republican endorsement on April 18.
US Congressman Erik Paulsen was endorsed to represent Minnesota’s Third Congressional District on April 14. The five-term Republican is a member of the Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over health care, economic and trade policy and is the chief tax writing committee in the House of Representatives. He is also on the Joint Economic Committee and is co-chair of the House Medical Technology Caucus.
The CD 5 Republican Convention endorsed Jennifer Zielinski on April 21 to challenge Keith Ellison for Congress. Jennifer has been active in the Republican Party since 2010. She has held positions as precinct chair, BPOU deputy chair, Secretary for the Minneapolis City Committee and ran for the Minneapolis Park Board. She has worked on the last two congressional campaigns of David Daggett and Frank Drake.
Jennifer has lived in the Twin Cities her whole life. She attended the University of Minnesota. She now works in a clinical role at a hospital.
She will challenge Ellison on strong Republican principles like showing up to vote and representing the people of the 5th Congressional district. Contact her at email@example.com.
Paulsen and Zielinski will need the support of everyone in their congressional districts to be successful. We need to work hard this year to get out the vote and turn Minnesota Red.
The Pitchers & Politics gathering on Thursday evening, April 19, was a great opportunity to meet with some strong candidates and some outgoing Republicans.
Doug Wardlow, running for MN Attorney General, again reminded us of the importance of an attorney general who will work for the people of Minnesota.
Ellen Cousins, candidate for the Minnesota House (and most recently chair of Senate District 48) talked about her efforts to prepare for the upcoming campaign. Eden Prairie’s next mayor, Brad Aho, also stopped by to talk with his supporters.
Pitchers & Politics is a monthly happy hour get-together sponsored by Republicans in Senate Districts 44, 48, and 49. We meet on the third Thursday evening of every month at the Gold Nugget, 1441 Excelsior Blvd in Minnetonka, from 4:30 pm to 7:00 pm. Watch this space for the announcement of the next one.
More than a two dozen Republicans from SD49 were among the crowd of almost 900 people for the April 13 Lincoln Reagan dinner / fundraiser for the MN Republican Party.
This lively gathering of people from all over the state was an opportunity to see and hear from current state & national office incumbents and also informally exchange views and news with fellow Republicans. Great music was provided by MN pianist Lori Line during dinner and by an Atlanta-based singer in the foyer before & after. Our CD3 US Representative, Erik Paulsen, spoke briefly about current topics in Congress as well as the challenges of this year’s elections in MN. CD2’s US Representative Jason Lewis served as the Master of Ceremonies for the evening.
Lincoln Reagan dinner keynote speaker, Iowa’s US Senator Joni Ernst, spoke of her path to political office. Before her sophomore year of college, she gained a strong appreciation of the USA after participating in an agricultural-exchange trip to Ukraine (then part of the the Soviet Union). She decided to serve our country in the military, beginning with college ROTC. She rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel in the Iowa Army National Guard. She spent 12 months in Kuwait as the company commander of the 1168th Transportation Company during the Iraq War.
Over a ten year period, Ernst went from Auditor of Montgomery County, Iowa, to the Iowa State Senate to the US Senate. She is the first woman to represent Iowa in the US Congress and the first female combat veteran elected to the US Senate from any state.Read more
The Minnesota House Republicans provided this legislative report, as of early April 2018:
On March 29, house Republicans unveiled a legislative package aimed at putting student safety first. Using a multifaceted approach, it includes more resources to meet the needs of students and schools statewide. This allows for hiring more school resource officers, student counselors and mental health professionals in addition to making critical building security upgrades.
As reported by Brian Bakst of Minnesota Public Radio, “consensus is forming around a sizable boost in funding that Minnesota schools could use to shore up security, with House Republicans announcing Thursday they hope to devote $50 million to that effort."
Rep. Dario Anselmo, R-Edina, pictured above right, is the author of one bill in this package. Anselmo’s bill would provide suicide prevention training for teachers to help educators learn how to engage and assist students experiencing mental distress.
A companion bill, submitted by Rep. Jenifer Loon, R- Eden Prairie, funds school building security upgrades. It allows expanded use of Long-Term Facility Maintenance revenue for security projects, including emergency communications systemsRead more