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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Daudt's Nursing Home Spin For Greater MN Falls Flat

Category: 2016
Posted: 05/22/15 10:50

by Dave Mindeman

Kurt Daudt is continuing to try and spin this legislative session as a "fulfilled" promise to Greater Minnesota. Unfortunately, most Greater Minnesota advocates don't see it that way.

Here's an overview from a Minnpost article:

Roads and bridges: While a broader transportation funding package didn't pass, there was $12 million in one-time money included in a "lights on" transportation bill that will help cities with populations of less than 5,000 people fix their roads and bridges. Groups initially wanted $28 million in ongoing funding for that program.

Broadband: Greater Minnesota groups were pushing all session for better access to high-speed Internet for businesses outside the metro. While as much as $100 million was considered at one point for broadband access, in the end just $12 million was passed.

Crossings: Funding for railroad safety provisions fell apart along with a transportation plan. Only $5 million was included in a bill to create rail emergency response teams and upgrade several rail crossings.

Local Government Aid: The Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities was requesting $23 million increase in LGA over the next two years. Democrats in the Senate proposed increasing LGA payments by $89 million over the next two years, while Republicans proposed reducing payments made to just Minneapolis, St. Paul and Duluth. In the end, no changes were made to the program after tax negotiations broke down.

Workforce training: Workforce training grants were included in the final jobs package to the tune of $2 million over the next four years, but the language in the bill didn't specifically direct those grants to Greater Minnesota.


But, but, but wait. Daudt goes into his low key somber voice and tells us, looke what we did for nursing homes?

"This is something that will make an unbelievable difference for our long-term care facilities, particularly in Greater Minnesota," Daudt said. "In many of those smaller towns, many of these long-term facilities are the largest employer. They are now going to be able to pay their employees a competitive wage."

Well, Greater Minnesota advocates say, yeah, that's good but really...

(Dan) Dorman, (current executive director of the Greater Minnesota Partnership), says the nursing home funding is a good thing, but it's not specifically targeted toward Greater Minnesota. Nursing homes across the state will benefit. "Saying long-term care for Greater Minnesota, that's like people saying education is a metro issue," Dorman said.

Daudt emphasizes the nursing home funding because that's all he's got - and to make it sound like Democrats were fighting him on this is also ridiculous.

The special session could change some of that, but the House will have to deal with a Governor with a pretty clear agenda.

Greater Minnesota lost out in this session - no matter how Daudt and the House Republicans try to spin it.
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Otto Suspects Political Motives - Some Of Us No Longer "Suspect"

Category: 2016
Posted: 05/21/15 17:54

by Dave Mindeman

State Auditor Rebecca Otto got blindsided in her reelection bid last year when Matt Entenza decided to challenge her in the primary. He blindsided DFLers as a whole with that one and Otto won that primary going away with 80% of the vote. She went on to handily defeat her GOP opponent 55-38%.

But being blindsided is becoming an ongoing thing for Rebecca Otto's political career because the Senate agreed to a House proposal to privatize much of what the State Auditor does - which means Rebecca Otto, again, gets hit from the blind side from her supposed Democratic allies.

I think we can remove the "suspect" from the Senate actions. This was a Bakk deal, pure and simple. Otto needed to be put in her place after that vote she made against mining interests. Never mind that her vote was the only one in the negative and the policy continued unabated, but she was on the "list" and needed to be given some consequences.

That continues to be the Senate that Tom Bakk runs....and which puts a lot of Democratic policy in jeopardy and soon will put many Democratic legislators in jeopardy as well.

The sulfide mining amendment which exempts sulfide waste from toxic waste regulation and the elimination of the citizens board at MPCA - those are mining interest initiatives....and Bakk is the guy signing off on those last minute insertions. He is responsible.

Democrats are supposed to be looking out for the environment. They are supposed to be looking out for Democratic policies. And they are supposed to be supporting elected Democrats in general.

When the House lost the majority in the last election, I shuddered at the thought that Bakk would now be the Democratic voice in the legislature. I had hoped that Governor Dayton would be able to reign Bakk in and keep him on the policy path that got started with the previous legislature.

But Bakk made it clear that even Dayton was not above political retribution when it came to the Bakk agenda. Bakk proved that with his "backstabbing" move on Commissioner salaries.

Many of the Minnesota Senators are caught being "responsible" for these last minute blindsiding policy changes. Many of these Senators voted for these things without realizing they were there. And now, they are going to be held responsible for any backlash that comes.

I realize the Iron Range needs to have a strong voice in the legislature. They have interests that need to be addressed and the rest of us need to find ways to get compromise solutions that help them. But when a regional representative decides to steamroll his own agenda against the best interests of the body as a whole - well then you have a very different story.

And Bakk seems intent on doing exactly that.
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Bakk's Personal Architectural Project

Category: 2016
Posted: 05/21/15 14:44, Edited: 05/21/15 14:45

by Dave Mindeman

The ongoing revelations of what is coming out of these budget bills and the other bills that came up short of passage is getting ridiculous.

This one is over the top...

"In the final minutes of the legislative session Monday, the Senate feverishly passed a bonding bill that included a priority of Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook: $7.2 million for an underground parking garage at the State Capitol that would provide a grand total of 30 vehicle spaces."

C'mon Bakk. What the hell is going on? 30 spaces for.....hmmm leaderhip personnel maybe? Perks of the office?

Bakk has almost singlehandedly wrecked the future of DFL legislators. He might not have been the largest reason that the House DFL lost its majority, but he certainly contributed. And now he starts putting a burden on his own Senators.

Bakk, as usual, is in damage control. He released a statement:

"The provision in the bonding bill that passed the Senate with a wide bipartisan vote--but did not become law--would not have mandated the construction of a new parking structure. This provision would have made funding available for that purpose only if the Department of Administration deemed the elimination of the Lot N surface lot necessary.

Lot N is a parking lot directly adjacent to the Capitol building, allowing vehicles to park in a lot with minimal security features at such close proximity to the Capitol it could pose a real security threat. If the Department of Administration determines within four years that this concern needs to be addressed, these bonds would have been available for that purpose."


That bill did pass (House did not have time to take it up) with a wide bipartisan vote because the Senators were voting on a last minute bonding bill without a real chance to examine it. And no Senator I know of no one who knew that this "parking" provision was in there. In fact, a few have already expressed being upset that it was.

And his current statement says "security concerns". Yet, before...

Bakk previously told the Star Tribune he wanted the surface lot replaced with an underground garage so the current surface lot could be landscaped for better views, in addition to security concerns.

Bakk is treating this Capitol rennovation and Senate office building as if they are his own personal lawn project. And everybody else gets the bill and the consequences.

Who elected this guy?
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