Our Representative in Congress hasn’t held a public town hall since August 3, 2010. There’ve been last minute meetings announced on social media shortly before they happen, tele- town halls where questions can be vetted before being forwarded, appearances at local businesses and school — but no traditional town hall.
The following article by Lynn Parramore was posted on the Alternet website April 22, 2017:
This post originally appeared on the blog of the Institute for New Economic Thinking.
You’ve probably heard the news that the celebrated post-WW II beating heart of America known as the middle class has gone from “burdened,” to “squeezed” to “dying.” But you might have heard less about what exactly is emerging in its place.
In a new book, The Vanishing Middle Class: Prejudice and Power in a Dual Economy, Peter Temin, professor emeritus of economics at MIT, draws a portrait of the new reality in a way that is frighteningly, indelibly clear: America is not one country anymore. It is becoming two, each with vastly different resources, expectations and fates. (more…)
The following article by Calvin Woodward and Jim Drinkard of the Associated Press was posted on the Boston Globe website April 22, 2017:
WASHINGTON — One of the most consistent features of President Trump’s public statements is his tendency to take credit and assign blame. It has consistently puts him at odds with historical facts, and has been on display as he approaches his 100th day in office on April 29.
Over the past week, the president claimed unprecedented achievement as he tried to shape perceptions of his 100-day legacy. He then played down that benchmark as time ran short for him to get big things done. (more…)
The following article by Janet Moore was posted on the Star Tribune website April 22, 2017:
In office just three months, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao has already received an earful from Minnesota officials about the controversial $1.9 billion light-rail line.
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao has been in office just under three months, and she’s already received an earful from Minnesota legislators about the controversial $1.9 billion Southwest light-rail line. A new salvo in the transit saga was released this week.
On March 17, 84 Minnesota GOP legislators wrote Chao urging her to block $928 million in federal funding for the Southwest LRT project, which would connect downtown Minneapolis to Eden Prairie. They argued that the line “would recklessly consume scarce transit resources.” (more…)
The following article by James Hohmann with Breanne Deppish was posted on the Washington Post website April 24, 2017:
THE BIG IDEA: In any normal administration, the failure of Andy Puzder to become secretary of labor would be a major data point in accounts of the president’s first 100 days.
It would be difficult, for example, to tell the story of Barack Obama’s first 100 days without mentioning Tom Daschle. Or Bill Clinton’s without mentioning Zoe Baird. Or George H.W. Bush’s without mentioning John Tower.
But nothing about Donald Trump is normal, and the fast food CEO is already a forgotten footnote in the frenzied opening chapter of his administration.
— The first three tumultuous months of Trump’s term have seen a perhaps unprecedented number of personnel casualties. A big part of the problem is that his transition team did a lousy job of vetting. Red flags that might have been discovered by a simple Google search didn’t emerge in some cases until after nominees were named publicly. The president also gravitated toward billionaires as he stocked the government, and the richer someone is the more conflicts they are likely to have. Complying with the requirements of the Office of Government Ethics proved too onerous for some. The premium that this president places on loyalty over experience and qualifications cost others their postings. Backstabbing and palace intrigue – which created a brutal, joyless work environment in the West Wing – drove others away after only weeks in their dream jobs. (more…)
2017 Election Cycle
Cano accused of ‘Jim Crow tactics’ after challenging Minneapolis caucus results, Star Tribune
Carter pulls ahead on first day of St. Paul DFL caucuses for mayor, Star Tribune
St. Paul mayoral candidate Melvin Carter takes early lead in contest for DFL endorsement, Pioneer Press
Minneapolis City Council incumbents face challenges, defeat at DFL ward conventions, Star Tribune
2017 Legislative Session
GOP optimistic about transportation deal after Dayton backs off on gas tax, St. Peter Herald
At Minnesota Capitol, the focus is on deadlines and a timely finish, Star Tribune
Lawmakers enter last month of 2017 session, KARE 11
GOP takes lead in perception battle on budget, Mankato Free Press
With budget in focus, a look at Minnesota’s leaders, Sacramento Bee
State leaders push for more aid to help cities and counties, Le Sueur News Herald
Hwy 14 funding still in the mix in transportation negotiations, Mankato Free Press
Students protest possible transit cuts, The Mac Weekly
Kids lose most from school cuts, Budgeteer News
Tax fairness leads to stronger opportunity, Budgeteer News (more…)
Call your Legislators: Tell them to Avoid Another Republican Shutdown
The last time Republicans had control of both chambers of the Minnesota Legislature in 2011, their refusal to compromise on the state budget with Governor Mark Dayton and DFL leaders caused a government shutdown.
Over the next four weeks, lawmakers must come together to approve a two-year state budget. Republicans once again have control of both the Minnesota House and Senate and are continuing to dig their heels in while refusing to invest in our youngest learners or Minnesotans living with disabilities.
Thanks to Governor Dayton and DFL leadership, our state is in a better financial position than it was 6 years ago. It’s crucial that we use the $1.5 billion budget surplus to move Minnesota forward and work for long-term solutions that will benefit everyone in the state.
What can you do?
Call your Legislators and tell them that a repeat of 2011 is unacceptable. Remind them that Minnesotans deserve better than shutdown politics.
Your local municipality’s City Clerk is probably looking for people to serve as election judges during the upcoming elections (many cities and school districts have off-year elections coming up this year). We know that ultra-conservative groups are soliciting their supporters to become election judges because they’re certain there is massive voter fraud here in Minnesota (hint: there isn’t).
Here’s information from the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website:
Election judges (poll workers) are paid officials who staff local polling places, carry out election procedures, and make sure that the rights of voters are protected. During a general election, there are more than 30,000 election judges who staff more than 4,100 precincts. Serving as an election judge is a chance to learn about elections, and is a great service to the community — apply to be an election judge. (more…)
Some of us remember the Reagan years and trickle down economics, which just doesn’t work. Steve Mnuchin has a perfectly Reaganesque quote in this article. We’ve highlighted it for you. And, here’s a link to an article discussing Reagan economics.
The following article by Damian Paletta was posted on the Washington Post website April 21,2017:
The White House will release on Wednesday the “broad principles and priorities” of their plans to overhaul federal taxes, a White House official said Friday night, downplaying expectations that the Trump administration would reveal key details underpinning the plan.
President Trump said earlier Friday that he would release new information about his plan to overhaul the tax code on Wednesday, a sign that he is trying to accelerate one of his most ambitious campaign promises even though key specifics remain undetermined. (more…)
Rep. Melissa Hortman (36B) – Legislative Update
The House and Senate have passed all the major budget bills, and now the House and Senate will work on budget compromise bills to send to Governor Dayton for final consideration. In order to finish session on time, the legislature must adjourn by May 22nd.
Minnesota has a $1.6 billion budget surplus and a stable economy. Unfortunately, so far the Republican majority is choosing to prioritize tax cuts for corporations and the rich instead of investing in the areas that have made Minnesota’s economy strong, like education. I am hopeful for a bipartisan compromise that will make investments in Minnesotans and budget responsibly for the future. (more…)
Welcome to week 15. I hope you had a good Passover/Easter week. There have been many conference committees meeting this week as there are major differences between the Senate, House, and Governor’s budget proposals that affect the next two years. Conference committees will need plenty of time with their budget targets to come to agreements. From there they still need to be voted on in each legislative body and then sent to Governor Mark Dayton. Governor Dayton has sent letters highlighting priorities and if these bills don’t match them. I would expect him to veto. (more…)