Skip to main content

Unidentified ‘woman’ in selfie with senators is, well, our senator

Inauguration Day photo failed to identify Minnesota’s Amy Klobuchar.

The following article by Erin Adler was posted on the StarTribune website January 23, 2017:

A photo of a beaming, bespectacled woman in a yellow coat attending President Donald Trump’s inauguration Friday made the rounds on social media this weekend, inspiring jeers, laughs and cries of sexism.

The woman in question poses for a selfie with U.S. Sens. Bernie Sanders and John McCain, and the photo’s caption identifies her simply as “a woman.” Read More

StarTribune Endorses Jerry Newton for the SD37 Seat

On October 31, 2016, the StarTribune issued the following endorsement of Rep. Newton for the SD37 seat:

SD37 Jerry NewtonJerry Newton is a vigorous 79-year-old and a moderate-minded DFLer who has spent much of his life in public service — from 23 years in the U.S. Army beginning in 1955 until, most recently, three terms in the Minnesota House. Along the way, he served well on the Coon Rapids City Council and Anoka Hennepin School Board while owning and managing a small retail business in Blaine. It’s easy to commend his state Senate candidacy to the residents of Blaine and parts of Coon Rapids and Spring Lake Park. Read More

StarTribune Endorses Sen. John Hoffman for the SD36 Seat

The StarTribune’s Editorial Board endorsed Sen. Hoffman, writing the following that appeared in the October 31, 2016, issue of the paper:

Hoffman-VeteransIncumbency is an asset in the Minnesota Senate. That’s especially true when the incumbent is DFL Sen. John Hoffman, who was chief sponsor or cosponsor of more bills than any other senator in 2015-16. That level of lawmaking activity is a tribute not only to Hoffman’s vigor, but also to his desirability in the eyes of colleagues in both parties as an asset in steering their bills into law.

That record in only his first term wins Hoffman our nod over an appealing Republican opponent, Brooklyn Park Mayor Jeff Lunde, in a district that includes Champlin and parts of Brooklyn Park and Coon Rapids. Lunde, 49, is a Hennepin Technical College faculty member and an independent-minded local official who we hope continues in public service. We were particularly impressed with his support for the Bottineau light-rail transit line, a rarity among Republicans. But Lunde does not make a strong case for ousting Hoffman, who seems likely to be a major player at the Capitol in a second term. Read More

There’s no evidence that ultrarich are fleeing Minnesota

The following article by Adam Belz and J. Patrick Coolican appeared in the May 7, 2016, StarTribune:

rent-clipart-canstock1231530The ranks of the very rich are growing in Minnesota, despite a controversial tax increase that singles out the biggest earners to pay more.

Critics predicted that the ultra-affluent would flee after Gov. Mark Dayton secured 2013 passage of a new income tax tier of 9.85 percent on individuals who make more than $156,000 a year. But the latest data show that the number of people who filed tax returns with over $1 million in income grew by 15.3 percent in the year after the tax passed, while the new top tier of taxpayers grew by 6 percent.

No doubt wealthy Minnesotans have changed their residency since 2012, but either more have moved in or more who were already here gained enough income to reach the top bracket.

Dayton argues taxes are not the driving force behind migration into or out of Minnesota. A change in residency is a decision involving weather, jobs and family, he said. Even if taxes figure in, they were already high in Minnesota before 2013, when the rate on top incomes was 7.85 percent. Read More

Put the brakes on travel perks

The following article appeared in the April 4, 2016, issue of the StarTribune:

When outside groups pay, trips should be for work — not family vacations.

U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen, who represents Minnesota's Third Congressional District, spoke with voters in 2015. Paulsen and his family members have taken more than $75,000 in free, mostly international travel since 2013, all paid for by outside groups, the Star Tribune reported on Monday. Such travel is legal and allowed by federal ethics rules, but it has drawn criticism from government watchdog groups.
U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen, who represents Minnesota’s Third Congressional District, spoke with voters in 2015. Paulsen and his family members have taken more than $75,000 in free, mostly international travel since 2013, all paid for by outside groups, the Star Tribune reported on Monday. Such travel is legal and allowed by federal ethics rules, but it has drawn criticism from government watchdog groups.

Rep. Erik Paulsen is coming under scrutiny for travel paid for by outside groups that has included members of his family — a practice that is legal, but questionable and due for review.

The issue here is not Paulsen’s travels. Trips that broaden a congressional member’s knowledge are necessary and to be valued. Unless taxpayers want to finance all such travel, some of it will come courtesy of private groups with an interest in funding the trips.

But when elected officials take family members along, concerns rightfully arise about whether the journey is work or pleasure. The fact that privately financed trips do not cost the taxpayers money does not mean there is no cost. The opportunity to bestow an all-expenses-paid trip to an exotic location upon a spouse or children is bound to make any elected official more kindly disposed to the group that foots the bill. The influence gained by repeatedly flying a congressional member to destinations around the globe should not be taken lightly. Read More

Minnesota’s uninsured rate plunges as Affordable Care Act kicks in

Form and Nurse PenGlenn Howatt with the StarTribune has an article appearing online September 16, 2016 with the above title.

In this article, he reports on how Minnesota now has the fifth lowest rate of uninsured residents in the country. He states, “Just 5.9 percent of the state’s population was uninsured in 2014”. That’s down from a rate of over 8 percent in 2013.  This decline can be traced to consumers using state and federal online insurance exchanges.

Mr. Howatt also states that “more than 325,000 Minnesotans have signed up for health insurance using the State’s MNsure exchange.

You can read the full article here.

Top 10 Missed Opportunities of the 2015 Legislature

The following commentary by House Minority Leader Paul Thissen appeared in the May 23, 2015 StarTribune:

From oil trains to kids, it’s no laughing matter.

With a healthy budget surplus thanks to a growing economy, the 2015 legislative session began with great opportunity to keep Minnesota moving forward. Unfortunately, the session ended in chaotic fashion this past Monday and with few accomplishments.

With David Letterman having read his final top 10 list this week, I thought I would share the (not-so-funny) top 10 failures of the 2015 legislative session:

10. Failed to finish the work on time

Given a $2 billion budget surplus, most believed that the Legislature would be able to work with Gov. Mark Dayton and finish on time. Unfortunately, the Republican majority chose to send us into a special session over their unwillingness to compromise with the governor on his top priority: investments in our youngest learners.

9. Failed to adequately invest in long-term care workers

GOP: Education veto overshadows successes of 2015 Legislature
The Legislature did increase funding for nursing homes this session. However, the insistence by House Republicans on cutting health and human Read More