Monthly Archive for May, 2013

8 Myths from the 2013 Legislative Session

mngop From the Republican Party of Minnesota:

Democrat budget spin can’t hide the truth

Myth 1 : The Democrats are the party of the little guy and the middle class
The results of the Democrat-controlled 2013 session should dispel this myth once and for all. All Minnesotans will pay more for everyday things in their family budgets such as childcare, healthcare, cable television and electricity. It’s even worse for the middle class when you look at what Democrats tried to pass this session: increases in the cost of gasoline, clothing, insurance, snack foods and many more middle class expenses. Even Governor Dayton couldn’t deny it.

Myth 2: Your property taxes will go down
The Democrats claim they are providing property tax relief for homeowners, but there is no reduction in the statewide property tax – they simply pay more aid to local governments (LGA). Ironically, they have to raise other taxes to pay for the LGA increase! And in order for your property taxes to go down due to LGA increases, you first have to live in one of the cities that actually receive local government aid (half the people in the state don’t). Second, you have to hope your mayor and city council don’t spend all the money instead of lowering your property taxes. If history is a guide, get ready to pay more in property taxes. Homeowners have historically paid more taxes in years with LGA increases.

Myth 3: The Democrats promise to pay back the K-12 school shift
Paying back the K-12 school shift was a rallying call for Democrats in the 2012 election. They called it a budget gimmick. They accused Republicans of stealing from school kids to protect the rich from a tax increase. Suddenly when they were in control, the shift was no longer a priority. Failing to pay it back is the biggest broken promise in recent political history.

Myth 4: The Democrats are making up for 10 years of budget cuts
This one is a whopper. Fact: State spending in 2002-03 was $27 billion. Our current 2012-13 state budget is $35 billion, a ten year increase of $8 billion or 30%! And the Democrats just passed a $38 billion budget for 2014-15, an additional two year increase of $3 billion or 9%. How could anyone argue there has been ten years of state budget cuts?

Myth 5: Governor Dayton and the Democrats wouldn’t use gimmicks to balance the budget
Three gimmicks later, Minnesotans are right to ask why this promise was so blatantly broken. The biggest gimmick in state government is the K-12 funding shift (see myth #3). But the Democrats did not stop there. They snuck in a second gimmick to shift $400 million from the Health Care Access fund to meet their spending target for human services, and in order to do so had to reinstate the 2% provider tax that Republicans had set to expire by 2019! And gimmick might not be a strong enough word for Gov. Dayton’s plan to erase the previous Vikings stadium funding gimmick with an entirely new gimmick, taking $24 million out of the pockets of cigarette wholesalers and retailers to bail out the Vikings stadium. Even though the money is taken directly from the general fund, he continues to claim the stadium is not funded with general fund money.

Myth 6: Democrats claim education spending will build a stronger workforce
Democrats relied on the same strategy they use for everything – more money – rather than address the tough issues in our education system to fix the achievement gaps that plague Minnesota. Democrats ignored the fact that early education gains are wiped out by third grade unless significant reforms occur in the K-12 system. And in fact, they went backward on important K-12 accountability measures! They weakened the value of a Minnesota high school diploma by eliminating testing and weakened the quality of instruction by no longer using student achievement to evaluate teachers. They traded – guess what – more money, for a tuition freeze at the University, but did nothing to hold the system accountable to reduce their costs, redundant programs and administrative overhead. The under-served kids in our system need real fixes, not more money poured into the same old approach.

Myth 7: The Democrat-Farmer-Labor Party looked after farmers and rural Minnesota this session
Democrats started the session by putting Minneapolis liberals in charge of the agriculture budget so it’s no surprise they ended it with a business to business tax on agriculture inputs, including fertilizer storage and farm equipment repairs. Throughout the session, rural Minnesota took a back seat to Minneapolis and St. Paul when it came to policy decisions.

Myth 8: The Democrats would never pay back the unions for funding their election
Unions spent over $11 million during the 2012 election to help Democrats take control, and in response to a question as to whether the forced unionization of child care was “the Governor saying thank you to labor which helped him get elected,” the chief sponsor of the bill in the House admitted “you thank the people…you try to work with the issues of the people that support you.”

You can help bust these myths by donating today to elect a new legislature and to replace Mark Dayton and Al Franken in 2014! We need your help now to spread the word about the damage done to the Minnesota economy during the 2013 session.

Rep Denny McNamara’s Capitol Update: We are nearing the end of the 2013 legislative session

Representative Denny McNamara

Representative Denny McNamara

By Rep. Denny McNamara, 5/17/2013

Hello from the State Capitol,

As many of you are aware, some significant work is going to be taking place on the Hastings bridge project in the coming days. The Minnesota Department of Transportation gave me an update today, so I thought I would share it with you.

Beginning May 20, Highway 61 will be reduced to a single lane in each direction through the intersection of Hwy 10/Point Douglas Drive and Hwy 61. These lane restrictions will be in effect for about two weeks (May 20-31). The Highway 61/Highway 10 intersection will remain open and accessible.

MnDOT anticipates significant delays if you are traveling southbound on Highway 61, and potentially as far back as Highway 95. An alternative route that you may consider is Hwy 55.

The City of Hastings remains open during construction – all downtown businesses and other local destinations are accessible via the current Hastings Bridge. There will be no flagging operations on the Hastings Bridge and no lane closures on the current bridge during May.

Two lanes of traffic – one in each direction – will be rerouted to the new bridge in early June. The demolition process for removing the current bridge will begin immediately after the traffic change onto the new bridge. Stay tuned for more details on this part of the project.

In other State Capitol news, we are nearing the end of the 2013 legislative session. As I write this, only two finalized budget bills have passed off the House floor. With session scheduled to end on Monday, we have a lot of work to do.

Unfortunately, we are going to be distracted from our budget work on Saturday, as House Democrats bring forward a plan that will attempt to unionize our child care facilities. The Minnesota Senate approved this bill recently after a lengthy floor session, and the House floor will be the final stop before it reaches Governor Dayton’s desk.

I have heard from many of you about concerns over the unionizations of our in-home daycare providers. Recently the two largest newspapers in this state wrote op-eds on this issue. To see what the Minneapolis StarTribune had to say click here, and to see what the St. Paul Pioneer Press wrote, click here.

Keep in touch,
Denny

Representative Denny McNamara
359 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55155
651-296-3135
rep.denny.mcnamara@house.mn

Rep Denny McNamara’s Capitol Update: These bills just give our residents more incentive to shop in Wisconsin.

Representative Denny McNamara

Representative Denny McNamara

By Rep. Denny McNamara, 5/10/2013

Hello from the State Capitol,

As the 2013 session nears completion, I am becoming more and more disappointed with the number of taxes and fees legislative Democrats are choosing to raise on all hardworking taxpayers.

They told us they were going to “tax the rich,” so none of us were all that surprised when they targeted income tax rates on the top one or two percent of wage earners in this state. But then we discovered that people in every tax bracket – including the poor – are subject to income tax hikes. Check out these figures from our non-partisan House research staff: One percent of taxpayers in the 5.35% bracket (those earning $0 – $21,650/year), 61 percent of taxpayers in the 7.05% bracket (those earning $21,650 – $73,500/year), and 82 percent of taxpayers in the 7.85% bracket (those earning $73,500 – $226,000/year) would receive an income tax increase under the House Democrat tax proposal.

The House plan also raises taxes on internet purchases, sports memorabilia, cigarettes and alcohol.

Worst of all, there is no reason to raise taxes on all Minnesotans. The House majority wants $3 billion in permanent increases in order to eliminate a one-time $600 million deficit. I could support some tweaks to eliminate our budget shortfall, but this is going too far. We are a border community. Why would we want to give neighboring restaurants, liquor stores, and convenience stores an advantage over local businesses? These bills just give our residents more incentive to shop in Wisconsin.

Fee increases are also flying under the radar. Plans have already been passed that would ultimately raise the costs of many items – including city water, batteries, paint, and carpet. Our research team has said that fee increases alone will bring in hundreds of millions more to the state. All of them will be paid for by all Minnesotans, not just the rich.

Many of these proposals are currently being debated in House/Senate conference committees, where a small group of representatives and senators will craft a compromise bill that can be passed in both bodies. But based on what I’ve seen, this Democratic-led legislature will not end session by taxing only the rich. They will permanently raise taxes and fees on every Minnesotan; but for now their task is to agree on how much more they want you to pay.

Keep in touch,
Denny

Representative Denny McNamara
359 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55155
651-296-3135
rep.denny.mcnamara@house.mn

The Minnesota Legislature has lost its focus!

mngop From the Republican Party of Minnesota:

With less than two weeks remaining in this year’s legislative session, everyday Minnesotans are right to scratch their heads. None of the major budget bills have passed the DFL-controlled Legislature.

Instead of working to solve the budget and reform state government like they promised, the DFL is catering to special interest groups on non-budgetary, and very divisive, issues.

  • Forcing childcare workers into a union will not solve the budget deficit.
  • Dictating to local schools and teachers by imposing a one-size-fits-all policing regime in the name of anti-bullying will not fix state government.
  • Adopting Obamacare early, before it’s even ready, is not creating a long term sustainable budget.
  • Advancing gay marriage without hearing the bill in many of the committees of jurisdiction and without even considering the alternative solutions put forward by Republicans is not making government more efficient and productive.
  • Passing pay raises for themselves is not going to fix health care costs.
  • Raising the minimum wage well beyond the federal level will not create jobs in Minnesota.

The DFL has lost its focus on the basics of funding our priorities. They have lost their focus on the average person in Minnesota, and are more concerned with heeding the well-funded and highly effective lobbying interests that seem to run St. Paul and Washington and that ran their campaigns.

No place is more telling than the union-led push into child care. These small businesses are finely tuned to the needs of the parents and children they serve. Increasing child care costs and taking away their flexibility will be a blow to the thousands of providers and hard-working families across the state.

Today the DFL-controlled Senate Finance Committee will vote AGAIN on the forced unionization of child care bill.

This bill died on a tie vote on Monday in the Senate Finance Committee, but in a repeat of the Senate Tax Bill last week, the DFL leadership is bringing it back for another vote today.

Whose vote will the DFL leadership force to switch this time?

It will be hard for them to withstand the pressure. This is the top legislative priority for the state’s largest unions, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). In the 2012 election, AFSCME gave over $1.6 million to Democrat candidates and causes and SEIU gave over $1.1 million. They want this bill forced through the legislature to grow their membership and power, even though nobody in the industry wants it.

Please contact your legislators and tell them your views on this issue!

Rep Denny McNamara’s Capitol Update: There is nothing balanced about raising taxes by $2.6 billion on hardworking Minnesota taxpayers

Representative Denny McNamara

Representative Denny McNamara

By Rep. Denny McNamara, 4/30/2013

Hello from the State Capitol,

With less than three weeks left in session, the Minnesota House is in the process of approving a number of finance proposals that will fund state government programs over the next two years.

I’m pleased to report there have been some good bills approved recently. Specifically, our higher education proposal will hold the University of Minnesota accountable and force it to rein in its administrative costs. I also voted in favor of our transportation funding proposal, as it will help to repair many roads and bridges in our state.

As for our health and human services funding bill, I was disappointed it cut funding for nursing homes and may do the same to hospitals – including the Regina Medical Center in Hastings. The legislation includes a provision about how money is distributed to hospitals, and when asked repeatedly how it might affect facilities around our state, the sponsor literally said he did not know. For this and many other reasons, I voted no on this bill.

I also voted no on the House omnibus taxes plan, which raises taxes by more than $2.6 billion on every hardworking taxpayer in this state. This plan would make Minnesota the second most taxed state in the nation and it is the largest tax increase, even after inflation, in the last three decades.

Under the House Democrat tax plan, Minnesotans will see higher taxes on their income, internet purchases, sports memorabilia, cigarettes and alcohol, to name a few. I’ve heard from a number of constituents in Hastings and Cottage Grove that are extremely troubled by the cigarette and alcohol tax increases.

Think about it. We live in border communities. If Minnesota is going to raise its cigarette tax by 113 percent and the alcohol tax by 203 percent, what’s going to stop our residents from making the short drive down Highway 10 to Prescott and stocking up?

There is nothing balanced about raising taxes by $2.6 billion on hardworking Minnesota taxpayers. We should be going line-by-line to eliminate waste before we consider raising taxes on anyone or any product. The state already collects enough revenue already and if we spend what we do have more efficiently, there is enough money to fund the needed programs in state government.

As always, you can contact me at any time if you have questions or comments.

Keep in touch,
Denny

Representative Denny McNamara
359 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55155
651-296-3135
rep.denny.mcnamara@house.mn