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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Actions in the MN House: CCAP Fraud, Cuts to Nursing Homes, Paid Family Leave

One_Minnesota.jpg• At the end of March, House Republicans unveiled a comprehensive bill to combat fraud in Minnesota's childcare assistance program. The Star Tribune hailed the bill as "a sweeping crackdown on illegal overbilling … House Republicans [have] proposed nearly 50 changes in state law intended to combat fraud in the Child Care Assistance Program following revelations that the program lacks adequate controls to prevent fraudulent providers from overbilling for millions of dollars."

o The Republican bill increases consequences for committing fraud, enhances provider controls to improve program integrity, gives investigators and prosecutors additional tools to find and prosecute fraud, makes reforms to eligibility across CCAP and other public programs, and improves oversight by making the Office of Inspector General an independent entity—a recommendation from the Legislative Auditor.

DFL Health & Human Services bill aims to raise health care costs, cut nursing homes

o The bill includes an extension of the provider tax that will increase the cost of health care by $1 billion over the next two years, and includes changes to nursing home reimbursement rates that result in cuts to about half of Minnesota's nursing facilities.
o The bill also fails to extend Minnesota's reinsurance program, which could cause premium rates to skyrocket next year.

Paid Family Leave (HF5) will require nearly 400 new government employees, and more than $1.5 billion in tax increases on every employee and employer in the state.

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Right Tech Gearing Up to Create Digital Campaign Tools

Lisa_Scneegans.jpgAs the 2018 political campaigns progressed, Lisa and Klaus Schneegans became increasingly aware of the technological advantage DFL candidates had. From raising funds to finding volunteers and reaching potential voters, good Republican candidates were not utilizing the array of digital campaign tools that the Democrats had in their arsenal.

After the 2018 election in MN, their analysis found that voting by the 18-29 age group had increased by more than 20% (from 23% turnout in 2014 to almost 44% in 2018). And polls showed 62% of voters in that age group favor Democrats. Clearly MN voters under 30 heard effective messages. But how?

WIRED magazine wrote about this development immediately prior to last November's election.  "A startup called Tuesday Company is working on 70 races in collaboration with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Its app, Team, lets volunteers see which of their friends a campaign wants to reach. Users upload their contact lists, and campaigns compare those lists to their own voter files. Then, users can send personalized text messages to the people selected by the campaign."

The Schneegans soon determined that those tools were simply not available to Republicans. Since 2016, Democratic donors and Silicon Valley supports were spending millions of dollars to develop digital applications specifically for left-leaning candidates from presidential contenders down to local office seekers. Early in 2019, Lisa and Klaus Schneegans founded Right Tech here in Minnesota to address this imbalance.

As part of Senate District 49’s monthly program series, Lisa Schneegans examined why so many compelling Republican candidates were defeated by very similar margins across the Twin Cities metropolitan area. While they were significantly outspent, more importantly, they were likely working at a technological disadvantage. With the assistance of her husband, Klaus, Lisa made clear that the on-line tools and digital techniques employed in DFL political campaigns are rapidly growing, and Republicans are not keeping up.

Minnesota Republicans were not alone. Nationwide, Republicans lost 300 state house seats in 2018. Lisa provided graphical evidence that application of the array of tools by the Democrats correlated closely with strong turnout by their supporters in campaign rallies and by their voters in the election. The tools are clearly working!

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