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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

The Hazards of a Fiscal Responsibility State Senator

Category: GOP Politics
Posted: 01/14/15 14:45

by Dave Mindeman

It is going to be difficult not to laugh when Senator Sean Nienow goes into one of his fiscal responsibility diatribes. Especially when he just discharged over $800,000 in debts via bankruptcy.

The Senator took out a small business loan of $613,000 from the Small Business Adminstration - with little collateral other than his "word". And it is just gone.

Sen. Nienow offered this....

"Businesses succeed and don't succeed all the time. If people don't take risks with businesses we don't have an economy," he said. "On paper, everything worked. Everything looked responsible. If it didn't, the bank wouldn't have approved the loan."

Hmmm....taking a a risk with SBA money and then just not repaying?

The federal government sued last year, and a $748,000 judgment was entered against the Nienows. None of the debt was paid.

Republicans in the Minnesota legislature talk endlessly about how we need to operate state budgets the way Minnesota families operate their own. I assume that doesn't mean to emulate the Nienows.

Just one more tidbit of irony....

The Nienows were ordered to take a course on financial management, which court documents show they completed before the case closed.

I wonder if there was a final exam?
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House GOP Rural Emphasis Still A Mystery

Category: GOP Politics
Posted: 12/10/14 10:25

by Dave Mindeman

The "new" House GOP majority seems to be comfortable with divisive politics. In fact, they seek it out and exploit it at every opportunity.

This new metro vs rural meme is going to be the new normal at the state capitol, but as yet, it is hard to understand what it means.

Rural issues lean heavily on transportation funding, but Republicans have never been serious champions of meeting that need. The only way that the House GOP can meet the present reality is to extract it from suburban support of light rail and BRT. Which will further divide the legislature and probably solidify the new DFL suburban beach heads.

Here's another monkey wrench in this new found GOP rural attention.....

The latest numbers from the nonpartisan Minnesota House Research Department show the seven-county metro area pays 64 percent of the state's taxes and gets back 53 percent of the major tax aids, credits and refunds. By comparison, the 80 non-metro counties pay 36 percent and get back 47 percent.

A lot of the LGA money that Republicans complained about in the recent past have a very heavy rural flavor to it. Small communities would get a disproportionate share of local government aid....and the GOP would cry foul at every opportunity. Does the new "rural reality" mean that outstate LGA money will get a different look?

Talk of PolyMet's mining operation is getting lip service as well. Is the GOP majority going to circumvent environmental processes to speed this along and establish a precedent that could have future ramifications? Are they willing to risk future environmental costs that will most likely end up in the general fund?

And what does the re-establishment of an Agricultural Committee in the House really mean outside of "symbolism"? Are there high profile items in the Ag community that are not getting done? or not addressed? There has never been a lot of detail in that regard....probably because no one knows yet.

The reality of the matter still has the fact that over 60% of Minnesota's population is metro. If you prioritize the budget to funnel more funding into the outstate 40%, you are naturally going to cause inefficient use of funds.

The legislature would use the bonding bill to try to balance the needs of outstate Minnesota - especially when DFL majorities were present. But it has always been the GOP that blocks the smaller outstate projects and uses them in their election year campaign ads as "pork barrel spending".

Where is that "renewed rural focus" going to land?

I expect the GOP rhetoric to take a big reversal in tone this session.

We shall see.
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On Stanley Hubbard and #Pointergate

Category: GOP Politics
Posted: 11/15/14 01:20

by Dave Mindeman

MPR had an interview with Stanley Hubbard of Channel 5 about #Pointergate. In their news post they listed highlights of the interview....allow me to translate:

Hubbard on whether KSTP should apologize:
This isn't something we did. You can blame the police and you can yell at them. Don't blame us. We're only reporting the news, and we will continue to report the news. We're very sorry if somebody was offended. The facts are the facts. We only report the facts, and the facts are that multiple police agencies said this was a bad thing.

Translation: The "Facts" were nobody else would report it....so we had to.

On feedback KSTP has received on its reporting:
A lot of positive -- boy, the day of we had positive phone calls and emails, yes ... by the general public.

Translation: My GOP donor buddies thought it was great.

On whether or not KSTP has reached out to Mayor Hodges:
We tried to but she wouldn't talk to us. And if she'd talk to us in the first place, this story might not have ever come about.

Translation: If we insisted on talking to her, she might have given us a logical explanation....and that would ruin the story.

On future coverage on the topic by KSTP:
I think we're doing a story next week, because every time we check the facts we find out more.

Translation: When we dig ourselves a hole, dammit, we keep digging.
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