After the two most productive years at the State Capitol in a generation, GOP leaders hit the road to tell Minnesotans the sky is falling.
It’s important for voters to take a look at the comments made by House Minority Leader Rep. Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) and Senate Minority Leader David Hann (R-Eden Prairie) and separate rhetoric from reality.
Rep. Daudt’s rhetoric: “I think we’re starting to see that the policies that Democrats have put in place have not really served Minnesota’s economy well and hasn’t served Minnesota families very well.”
- There are more people working Minnesota then at any other time in history.
- 33,000 jobs will be created under the $1 billion investment in roads, college classrooms, water systems, and other community assets.
- For the first time in a decade, Minnesota’s minimum wage will increase. An estimated 325,000 hard-workings Minnesotans will see their pay increase to $9.50 an hour by 2016. The minimum wage will be indexed to inflation starting in 2018 to keep up with the cost of living.
- Raising the minimum wage to $9.50 would help working people support their families and local businesses by boosting our economy by $472 million in increased consumer spending.
- Raising the minimum wage to $9.50 would mean more economic security for 137,000 children whose parents are low-wage earners. An additional $1,000 of average annual family income throughout early childhood can result in higher reading and math scores for children in low-income families.
- The Women’s Economic Security Act enacts new protections for pregnant women in the workplace; expands family and sick leave for working families; and expands economic opportunity for women in high-wage, high-demand jobs.
- When women are successful, families are successful.
- Minnesota companies announced plans in the first quarter of 2014 for 31 expansion projects that will create nearly 1,800 jobs in Minnesota.
- In 2013, a study by the U.S Bureau of Economic Analysis found Minnesota was 5th in growth of gross domestic product.
- In 2013, Forbes Magazine’s list of “best states for business” ranked Minnesota number eight. Minnesota jumped 12 spots in just one year.
Taxing, spending and priorities
Sen. Hann rhetoric: “We just ended two years now of complete DFL control of Minnesota government. We saw a lot of taxing and a lot of spending but we’re really concerned about the priorities they’ve set.”
Reality on taxing:
- The budget deficit left by Republicans was closed by increasing income taxes on the top 2 percent of Minnesotans, increasing taxes on cigarettes and three business-to-business taxes.
- 98 percent of Minnesotans are not paying more in income taxes. This impacts people with an average salary of $617,000 a year. And it’s a tax fairness issue: Prior to this change, The wealthiest 2 percent of Minnesotans paid 20 percent less in taxes as a share of their income than the other 98 percent of Minnesotans.
- A goal of increasing the cigarette tax is to deter young people from smoking and encourage long-time smokers to quit. The health care costs in Minnesota directly caused by smoking are $2.51 billion a year.
- Thanks to the budget surplus, the three business-to-business taxes imposed in 2013 to help close the budget deficit were repealed in 2014.
- Thanks to budget surplus, Gov. Dayton and legislators were able to provide tax cuts for more than 2 million Minnesotans. This includes: new tax credits and deductions for college students; the elimination of the marriage penalty; tax cuts for working families; and property tax relief for homeowners, renters and farmers.
Reality on spending:
- The DFL made a major investment in early childhood education.
- All children will have access to free all-day, every day kindergarten, which helps students get a good start their education and saves parents money.
- A two-year tuition freeze at the University of Minnesota and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU), a savings to low- and middle-income students and their families.
- Minnesota schools will receive an additional $23 million in state funding, or another $25 for every student in the state.
- Thanks to the Safe and Supportive Schools Act, schools will have new tools to help prevent bullying and respect among students.
- New investments in nutrition mean that no student will ever be denied a healthy lunch at school.
- For the first time since 2001, more funding was put into the state’s budget reserve. By putting more $150 million in the reserve, Minnesota is better insulated from any potential future economic downturns.
For the first time in years, the state had a true budget surplus. With this $1.2 billion, Gov. Dayton and DFL legislators were able to make critical investments in heating assistance for low-income families during the brutal winter, provide additional school funding and pay cash for projects that will help grow communities’ economies and put Minnesotans to work.
With Republicans criticizing middle-class tax cuts, the historic investment in education and creating jobs, DFLers are left to wonder what the Republicans’ priorities are. Gov. Dayton and DFL legislators have worked hard to build a Better Minnesota. We can thank DFLers for their work to improve the lives of all Minnesotans, and show the Republicans that this is the Minnesota we value, by turning out the vote by absentee ballot starting Sept. 19 or going to the polls Nov. 4.
On Tuesday, May, 20, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Oregon and Pennsylvania held their primaries ahead of the November general election. The elections showed that, even the candidates purportedly backed by the GOP establishment have been pulled so far to the right that it is a distinction without a difference. These extreme and out of touch Republican candidates will now face off against Democrats who are focused on commonsense solutions to grow the economy, create jobs, and expand opportunity for all.
The GOP’s coverage from the morning after Election Day included:
Daily Beast: Tea Party loses key Battles, but is winning the war: “Last night represented a big win for the Tea Party’s ultra-conservative ethos, and the extent to which Tea Party philosophy is now cemented into the GOP is now plain to see. … The election results showed the ultimate success of the Tea Party’s effort to change the very DNA of the GOP”
MSNBC: As dust settles, there’s ‘not that big a difference’ between GOP factions: Tea Partiers can take solace in knowing they’ve already moved the GOP so far to the right that the larger conservative mission has already succeeded.…The already conservative Republican Party has moved even further to the right, with the establishment candidates lining up quite nicely on the ideological scale with the more radical candidates of the very recent past.”
Salon: GOP establishment is officially dead: The real lesson of Tuesday night’s primaries: “No, the Republican establishment didn’t “win big” last night. The new reality is it doesn’t even exist anymore…All of the candidates have been on the far right, espousing essentially the same far-right views, while trying to best each other by pandering to cultural signals or attacking each other’s past indiscretions, real or imagined.”
TPM: Georgia isn’t out of the teapot just yet: “One of the two “Establishment” candidates, Jack Kingston, ran a savagely ideological campaign that was on nearly every issue indistinguishable from a Tea Party crusade.