Archive for the ‘Business and Jobs’ Category

Are Democrats Opposed to Private Sector Jobs?

Sunday, February 14th, 2010

It is typical when a chief executive gives an address to the Legislative branch that the response by the live audience is very partisan. For example, when a President gives the state of the union address, members of his party will applaud at all the appropriate places in the speech, and if the point is particularly poignant, they will stand and cheer. Conversely, members of the opposing party, while usually polite, will remain silent when most of the applause lines are delivered, unless it’s a point that nearly everyone can agree with.

So when Governor Tim Pawlenty delivered his state of the state address, I was not surprised when Democrats refused to applaud in response to the Governor’s calls to reduce spending, and to get Minnesota out of the top ten in the nation for tax burden.

However, one obvious applause line that everyone should have agreed with, was when the Governor talked about the need to create private sector jobs. But when he delivered this line, and the right side of the House Floor where Republicans were seated applauded, the left side where Democrats were seated was nearly silent.

Nothing much surprises the Truth Detector anymore, but on this one the Truth Detector says, “Are you kidding me?” Are Democrats really opposed to private sector job creation? Are Legislative Democrats  that beholden to public employee unions that they don’t dare publicly approve of private sector jobs? Where do they think the money to pay public employees comes from?

The Truth Detector says Minnesota’s financial mess will not get straightened out with the current Legislative leadership  in charge of things.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am an employee of the Minnesota House of Representatives with the Republican Caucus. This website is not paid for nor operated by any legislator, legislative caucus, candidate or political party. Opinions expressed herein are strictly those of the website administrator, and not necessarily those of any legislator, legislative caucus, candidate or political party.

Real Experts Invited, or Just Another Dog & Pony Show?

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

In an effort to get Democrats back in the headlines, and give the impression that they are doing something about the economy, Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher recently announced a “leadership summit” and a “jobs task force.” Mary Lahammer wrote about the leadership summit. The stated intention is to hear from experts in economic development and state fiscal health. The list of people who have been invited include former Governors and Minnesota House Speakers. If there were any private sector leaders who have experience in job creation invited their names weren’t mentioned. It leads me to believe that the emphasis is on bringing policy wonks together to talk about how there isn’t enough (tax) revenue for state and local governments to operate. Especially given the fact that most former Governors and Speakers from both parties have drunk the kool-aid of tax increases to balance the budget.

Lahammer quoted House GOP PR guy kwatt as saying, “”I find it ironic that the same people who dropped the ball last session are now calling for a ‘leadership summit’.” Great point. In a personal conversation with kwatt, he suggested to me that they invite Governor Pawlenty to speak and turn the leadership summit into leadership training.

Speaker Kelliher also announced in this press release the formation of a jobs task force. She mentiones in the press release how “capital inventment” (read: building government projects on the state’s credit card) creates jobs, and how the people need to know that state government is working for them. Again, no mention of any involvement by successful private sector employers.

Nothing will likely come out of either of these dog & pony shows, but with Governor Pawlenty grabbing the positive attention in Minnesota and national Democrats losing favor with the public, Kelliher got the press she is desperately looking for.

Rep. Tim Faust (DFL – No Man’s Land) – What’s He Done for Jobs?

Sunday, May 3rd, 2009


 Rep. Tim Faust (DFL - No Man's Land)

Rep. Tim Faust (DFL - No Man's Land)

In his quest to get elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives, Tim Faust the candidate leveled many criticisms at his predecessor and opponent, Judy Soderstrom. One of the things he said publicly and repeatedly is that Rep. Soderstrom had not done enough to bring jobs to the area. He stated many times that it should be a state representative’s job to recruit businesses and bring jobs to the area.

Now that Rep. Faust has been in office nearly 2 1/2 years, I think it’s fair to ask what his track record on local jobs is. Can he point to one single new job that he has personally been responsible for? What businesses has he recruited to locate in our area? Although I haven’t looked at any specific stats, I think it’s also fair to point out that the job situation in House District 8B is much more dire than when Rep. Faust took office.

After watching a tape of the April 3, 2009 House Tax Committee hearing, it appears that Rep. Faust is doing the opposite of his stated intent as a candidate. In presenting a bill to the committee, he must have thought it was a good idea to run down his district in order to improve the chances of his bill getting included in the omnibus tax bill.

His bill would allow the economic development region in East Central Minnesota to grant tax increment financing (TIF) to tourism facilities.

In presenting the merits of his bill, Rep Faust talked about how his district is among the worst in the state for unemployment. He then explained that his bill is needed because his district is not really metro, and not benefiting from economic development going on in the suburbs. “We’re kind of in no man’s land,” he stated.

Just as an aside, Pine City city administrator Don Howard was on hand to testify in favor of Faust’s bill. In stark contrast to Faust’s depiction of the district, Howard talked about the natural resources and the fact that people flock to the region in the summer time.

Since this is the East Central Truth Detector, I will say here that Faust’s bill, if it becomes law, will be a good tool for cities in our area to use to attract businesses. Rep. Faust’s bill was included in the House Omnibus Tax Bill. Unfortunately, the Omnibus Tax Bill has $1.9 billion worth of tax increases, and includes elimination of the JOBZ tax incentives.  The Tax conference committee is meeting to negotiate the differences with the Senate’s $2.2 billion worth of tax increases. The final product is certain to meet its end with Governor Pawlenty’s veto pen.

My point here is that a state representative shouldn’t, and doesn’t need to, run down the area he represents in an effort to get a bill passed. Especially when, as a candidate, he promised to promote the area and recruit employers.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am an employee of the Minnesota House of Representatives in the Republican Caucus. This website is not paid for or sponsored in any way by any legislative caucus, political party, candidate or candidate’s committee. Opinions expressed herein are those of the administrator of this website and not necessarily that of any legislative caucus, political party, candidate or candidate’s committee.


The Closing of Reddog Billy’s and Why it Matters Politically

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

A few weeks ago, a sizable family-owned restaurant in Pine City closed its doors. This article in the Pine City Pioneer tells the story, but in short, Reddog Billy’s owner Jeff Flaherty said the economy did him in. According to the Pioneer story, Flaherty cited four specific reasons that contributed to the closing of his restaurant:

  • the lower .08 percent blood alcohol content threshold for DUI offenses
  • the higher minimum wage
  • higher food and liquor taxes in Minnesota compared to Wisconsin
  • the implementation of Minnesota’s indoor smoking ban.

Now, I’ve only met Mr. Flaherty a couple times, and I can’t say that I know him personally, so I don’t know whether he has strong political leanings. I do know, however, that he is an experienced business person. He did not go into the restaurant business in Pine City green. He knows how to run a business, and as I read the article, it appears that he is speaking from the standpoint of his own experience and his own business expertise.

Mr. Flaherty did not appear to have a personal axe to grind or to play the victim as portrayed in the Pioneer article. He even went so far as to say that the opening of the new sports bar in town, Chubby’s, did not negatively impact his own business. He stated that the more choices a town has, more people will come to town.

While the lower blood alcohol content was not necessarily a partisan issue when it passed the Minnesota Legislature, it’s safe to say that Democrats in the legislature are mostly responsible for the other policies that forced the closing of Reddog Billy’s. These policies that liberal Democrats push with their heads in the sand, not thinking, or not caring, about the consequences are in fact forcing employers to close their doors and/or move to other states.

Reddog Billy’s at its peak employed 43 people. That is 43 people who are now either in the unemployment lines, driving farther to go to work, or having to work for less money.

To make matters worse, some local House members voted Monday to deny bar owners the option of having a “smoking room” where patrons could go to have a smoke. This amendment would have allowed employees the option of not entering the “smoking room”. Democrats voting to deny business owners this option were Rep. Tim Faust (Hinckley), Rep. Bill Hilty (Finlayson) and Rep. Gail Kulik-Jackson (Milaca). You would think Rep. Faust would especially know better, since the closing of Reddog’s should be fresh in his mind. Additionally, the temporary closing of the Sportsman’s Cafe in Mora was also blamed on the smoking ban by its manager.

Do you think Rep. Faust’s vote was influenced by the fact that one of his key campaign donors is a medical doctor and one of the most vociferous advocates of the smoking ban in the area? Just food for thought.

When liberals told us that businesses can absorb a higher minimum wage, that people will flock to restaurants when the smoking ban is implemented, and that employers don’t actually leave the state when we raise their taxes, real world experitnce tells us something different.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am an employee of the Minnesota House of Representatives in the Republican Caucus. This blog is not paid for or endorsed in any way by any legislative caucus, political party, candidate or candidate’s committee. Opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of any entity but the administrator of the East Central Truth Detector Blog.