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TAG | Kurt Daudt
In the span of two days, the Republican majority in the Minnesota House of Representatives proposed to erase two years of progress for working families secured by Gov. Mark Dayton and DFL legislators.
“In a 48-hour time period, House Republicans put Minnesotans on notice that they are recycling their failed policies of the past,” said DFL Chairman Ken Martin. “This is a far cry from Gov. Mark Dayton and DFL legislators plans to invest in children, students and families for long-term success.”
House Republicans finally acknowledge that Gov. Dayton is correct and that Minnesota is facing a multi-billion dollar, multi-year fix for our deteriorating roads and bridges, yet they still haven’t figured out how to honestly pay to get the job done.
“Reminiscent of years past, Republicans want to shift money around to meet financial obligations,” Martin said. “They want to take money from the general fund to pay for roads and bridges, all so they can maintain a rigid ideological approach to governing.
Wheel. . .of. . .Daudt!
The House GOP will release its budget targets next week. While Gov. Dayton has been clear about his plan to invest the state’s budget surplus in children, students and families, Speaker Daudt has taken about every position there is on what to do with the surplus. Where will he land?
“Just 10 days ago the Speaker of the Minnesota House, Kurt Daudt, the highest ranking Republican elected official in the State of Minnesota, laid out hundreds of millions of dollars in new spending for things like tax cuts, transportation infrastructure, nursing home funding, and K-12 higher education spending. And while his math didn’t quite add up, the fact of the matter is that there hasn’t been a single bill introduced by Republican House members to cut spending this year. Clearly, Speaker Daudt and House Republicans agree with DFLers that we should use this surplus to invest in the critical unmet needs facing Minnesotans throughout the state.
“Now today the Chairman of the Republican Party of Minnesota is calling on the legislature to send every surplus dollar back to Minnesota residents in the form of a $350 per person check. Not only is this shortsighted, it ignores recent history that proves that the Ventura rebates helped create the financial difficulties we faced during the early 2000s. If we do as Chairman Downey is suggesting and return every dollar of the surplus to Minnesotans we will not be able to make the investments in Minnesota that even Speaker Daudt and House Republicans agree need to be met – like repairing our roads and bridges and investing in our education system throughout the state.
“The fact is that Chairman Downey should do his job of building the party to win elections and focus less on taking positions such as this which are squarely at odds with the highest ranking elected Republican in the State of Minnesota. His insistence on ideological purity pits him against fair-minded Republicans who are trying to do the job they were sent to do in St. Paul. Who’s in charge here the Speaker of the House or the Chairman of the Republican Party? What kind of dynamic does this create when elected Republicans of the Minnesota House have to choose between the Republican State Party Chair or governing in the best interests of the constituents who elected them. Are Republicans in the Minnesota House going to put their oath to Minnesotans ahead of their oath to the Republican Party?
“It is unbelievable that a party that still owes $1.5 million dollars in debt, including some $300,000 to vendors who worked in the 2014 election, would spend six figures on advertising to persuade legislators – presumably from their own party – to return the surplus and put us back on a path to financial instability. It is the height of hypocrisy that the party of ‘fiscal responsibility’ would go further into debt to beat members of their own party into ideological submission.”
As you may remember, U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell was criticized for similar claims that were debunked.
The House DFL released a video highlighting Speaker Daudt’s claims about Minnesota’s growing economy – it can be viewed here.
This is not the only claim that Speaker Daudt has asserted about Minnesota’s economy that does not hold up to the facts.
Speaker Daudt has said over the past year that Minnesota’s economy has “flat-lined” due to the policies put in place by Democrats.
Last Friday Speaker Daudt doubled-down, saying “I think the November forecast represented very clearly that the policies they put in place didn’t help Minnesota families and they didn’t help Minnesota’s economy.”
Speaker Daudt’s economic claims do not hold up to the facts. The budget passed by 2013-14 state legislature went into effect in July 2013. Since then, Minnesota’s economy has steadily improved on several key metrics.
- Minnesota has added 74,500 jobs since the DFL budget was put in place. Far from a flat line, jobs have been added and our unemployment rate has dropped at a steady pace. (Source: MMB, slide 6).
- Minnesota’s unemployment rate is 3.6%, the 5th lowest in the country and lowest in Minnesota in 14 years. (Source: DEED)
- Wages have grown for Minnesotans and stronger wage growth is expected in the future. (Source: MMB Slide 7).
Speaker Daudt’s other claim, “that part of this economic confidence has to do with the fact that balance has been restored in state government” has even less factual basis.
Minnesotans are more optimistic about our economy. In fact, Minnesota has the highest confidence of any state in the nation. This is based on a study by Gallup from January to December of 2014, while Democrats were in control of all branches of state government. (Source: http://www.gallup.com/poll/181514/economic-confidence-index-highest-minn-lowest.aspx).
Minnesota’s economy has been making steady improvements in various economic metrics while the Democrats were in control of state government (unemployment rate, job creation, state revenues, and consumer confidence).
Daudt’s claims that Minnesota’s economy flat-lined while Democrats were in control of state government are false. His claims that Minnesota’s economic confidence is in part due to Republican control of the Minnesota House are even less credible.
Speaker Paul Thissen issued a press release recently on recent action by Speaker-Designate Daudt:
“I am deeply disappointed that Speaker-Designate Daudt has taken the unprecedented step of refusing to accept the individual the minority caucus has designated as its lead on a Minnesota House Committee. So much for the ‘balanced approach’ the Republicans touted repeatedly during the campaign. Again, the Republicans campaign rhetoric does not match its actions…Just because House Republicans don’t take climate change or protecting Minnesota’s water and air seriously doesn’t mean that the majority of Minnesotans agree with them. Rep. Jean Wagenius is a woman of great integrity who would bring much needed experience to the important work of the environment committee.”