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The Priority Of Business Over People For The MN House GOP

Category: Economy
Posted: 03/07/16 07:08

by Dave Mindeman

The unemployment benefit situation in northern Minnesota reached critical mass some time ago. Gov. Dayton recognized that and wanted to call a special session to address it. But House Republicans blocked the initiative saying that it could wait until the upcoming regular session. No urgency in their mind. They would address it immediately once the session starts.

Alright, the session begins and already the House GOP is playing games with the issue. Now they want to add a tax cut....

The House Job Growth & Energy Affordability Committee passed a bill extending unemployment benefits for Iron Range workers for 26 weeks but included language that would cut taxes for the employers who furnish the state's unemployment trust fund that carries a $1.6 billion surplus.

Is that really necessary? Apparently the House GOP doesn't think this tax cut proposal can stand on its own merits. They have decided that they need to link it to something that Democrats are anxious to support.

This bill is kind of a microcosm of how the two legislative parties think.

First, the Republicans think that the lives of Iron Rangers are a negotiating tool. Northern Minnesota is hurting, but apparently not hurting enough to avoid the partisan games that they love to play.

Democrats believe this is, plain and simple, an urgent matter that is the right thing to do. They have justified reluctance to take money out of the unemployment fund, particularly when the budget surplus has been reduced because of a slow down in economic activity. If another recession were to hit us in the near future, the extra money in the unemployment trust fund would be a valuable resource to keep our budgets strong.

Again, it is about fiscal responsibility. The legislature needs to address the specific needs of its citizens, but it must also look to the future and make sound budget decisions that account for future problems.

In this one bill, you see that the GOP fails the above test on just about every level.

It has become an ongoing manta....the House Republicans have boasted about helping Greater Minnesota. They are the champions for those outside the Metro.

But they have failed to live up to that promise time and again. And with this bill, we have one more example to add.
comments (3) permalink
03/07/16 18:36
Federal democratic fiscal policy destroys the iron range and rather than fix the problem, the MN DFL caucus wants to tweak unemployment benefit rules.

I have no problem with welfare for workers in failed business. I have a problem with failed MN policy that attempts to rearrange unemployment benefits for a select industry of prime constituents and ignore the rest of the state's workers facing the same plight.

My read on all this is that even the DFL caucus on the iron range understands how ridiculous this appears to be. And Mark Dayton saw this as a way to get the GOP to take the blame for it.

If there is a GOP fix, it would be to loosen welfare rules to allow some aid for a real fix. The iron monger business on the iron range is likely not going to return any time soon. We can thank NAFTA and the Federal Reserve Bank monetary policy for that. The true fix is not a tiny weekly stipend of Unemployment Benefits for another few weeks. The real fix is to show some leadership and call this what it is--a failed business model in need of mitigating attention. The MN GOP bears NO responsibility in the problem. The rules have been clear for decades. The people of MN can look to Democratic leadership as the true failure of vision to see what devastation federal fiscal policy is causing workers in America at all levels. Iron extraction is just the first of a very long food chain in a death spiral. Add retirees, all COLA dependent jobs, anybody who needs to claim health care benefits, students, small business, to that growing list caught in the cross-hairs of failed federal policy.

03/07/16 17:36
Just pass a clean unemployment bill and get the Rangers some help. Argue about tax cuts later. It's pretty simple.
03/07/16 12:44
Offensive polarity does not advance our needs.

I find that Dave is misrepresenting reality. Tim Pugmire stated in his MPR editorial today that both sides were largely settled on the iron range worker situation.


To quote Dave:

"Again, it is about fiscal responsibility. The legislature needs to address the specific needs of its citizens, but it must also look to the future and make sound budget decisions that account for future problems.

In this one bill, you see that the GOP fails the above test on just about every level."

Speaking out of boths sides of the mouth is a talent reserved for true politicians. Citizens need to deal with reality. "Fiscal Responsibility" and demanding lavish spending are difficult to reconcile in as little as two sentences. So which is it Dave? Bless your favorite sons with lavish unemployment benefits or be fiscally responsible and recognize that unemployment benefits have rules and regulations that provide only limited benefits to displaced workers?

Unemployment benefits are not welfare. Benefits are paid based on the previous 26 weeks of employment. Every single dime, plus 25%, of amounts paid out by the fund are collected from the employer that gets hung with the responsibility of the displacement. To call it insurance is a lie. The only time it becomes insurance is when the employer fails to survive the downturn.

So there are many sides to this debate. and simply calling it a DFL vs GOP issue is ignoring the facts before the people of MN.



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