Archive for the ‘Gubernatorial Race 2010’ Category

Dayton Proposes to Raise Taxes; No Spending Cuts

Sunday, February 14th, 2010

Former U. S. Senator Mark Dayton

When former U. S. Senator Mark Dayton announced his intention to run for Governor of Minnesota last month, he proposed to raise taxes on the top 10 percent of income earners, which he claims will bring in an additional $3.8 billion in a two-year biennium. At the same time, he claims, according to this Minneapolis Star Tribune article, that he “whatever I can, whenever I can, wherever I can to bring new jobs to our state.” Maybe someone should tell him that taxing job proviers more is not the way to attract them to our state.

The Truth Detector gives Dayton some credit for his honesty in his complete love of government bureaucracy, as he gives no indication that he would cut or streamline government at all. He only wants to raise taxes and spend more.

Dayton, like many other tax-and-spend advocates, cite the Tax Incidence Study to claim that wealthy Minnesotans pay a smaller percentage of their disposable income in taxes than middle income or lower income folks. This is where the Truth Detector has to give Dayton a “half-truth”, because every time Dayton and his taax-and-spend allies bring this up, they fail to tell the whole story.

Yes it’s true that high income earners pay a smaller percentage of their income in taxes, according to the Tax Incidence Study. This is because the study takes into account regressive taxes (those that fall most heavily on the poor and middle class), such as gas taxes, property taxes, sales taxes and alcohol and tobacco taxes. The income tax (which is very progressive in Minnesota) hits high income earners very hard.

The part of the story that is not told is the part that makes the most sense, if one takes a few seconds to think about it. High income earners pay a smaller percentage on almost everything, when compared to folks who make a more modest income. Think about it! Utility bills, food, clothing, car payments, groceries. It may not seem fair to a lot of people, but high income earners have more money at thier disposal for life’s necessities than middle-or-low income earners. Of course, their tax burden will be a smaller percentage, when factoring in all taxes.

The other part of the story that the tax-and-spend crowd will refuse to tell is that liberals in the Legislature have been effective at raising regressive taxes in recent years, such as the gas tax, and the additional sales tax for the arts and outdoors. These are regressive taxes that are disproportionately paid by low and middle income folks. So they made that tax system in Minnsota more regressive, and now they cry about how unfair it is that the rich aren’t paying their fair share, so let’s sock it to them by raising the income tax!

And politicians like Dayton, who probably never had a private sector job, have virtually no capacity to make government smaller.  Heaven help us if he or one of his ilk become our governor for the next four years.

2010 Gov’s Race: One Interesting Non-Development

Thursday, June 4th, 2009

I find it interesting that former Congressman Jim Ramstad, who retired from the U. S. House of Representatives to pursue other interests, has not yet ruled out running for Governor. I know, I know, it’s only been two days since Gov. Pawlenty’s announcement. However, Rep. Dean Urdahl, and State Senator Dick Day have taken themselves out of the running. Who, you say? Never mind.

Back to Ramstad. His presence in the race would really scramble the GOP side. If Ramstad gets in, Republicans will have a seriously contested primary for the first time since 1994. After a decade of the party endorsement being iron-clad, we would go back to the days of the dual caucus/primary system.  His voting record and his moderate views give him zero chance of getting enough support to earn the party endorsement. And Ramstad is smart enough to know that. So he knows if he gets in he will likely skip the endorsing process and run in the primary election.

Of course I say these things presuming Ramstad would run as a Republican. Republican strength in the western suburbs, which Ramstad represented in Congress, is eroding, and he’s not as well known in Greater Minnesota as he is in the Twin Cities. Would Ramstad run as an independent, or even as a Democrat? He could actually make the case for fitting in either way.

I hate to give away secrets here, but if I were in the upper echelons of the Independence Party (wait, does the IP have echelons?) I would be working night and day to recruit the Rammer.

I know Democrats would fear the Rammer as a GOP or IP opponent. I fear him getting in the race, period.

Pawlenty Steps Aside – Let the Speculation Begin

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

(This post was updated 3/3/09, because I knew my original post left out some prominent names. Additionally, according to media reports and blogs today, Carol Molnau, Sue Jeffers and Michele Bachmann are not likely to run for Governor.)

Governor Tim Pawlenty announced at a 2 p.m. news conference today that he will not be seeking a third term as Governor of Minnesota. If speculation about his aspirations for national office hasn’t already begun it will now be in full swing. There will be p(aw)lenty of people joining the chorus of speculators on his chances of landing on a national ticket. Closer to home, however, I prefer to start the speculation and analyzing of potential candidates for Governor. Many are called, so I will try to keep my analysis brief . Few are chosen but we won’t know for sure who it will be until summer/fall 2010.

Let’s start with the Democrats. Those who have filed campaign committees up to this point include (in no particular order):

Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner: Experience as a county prosecutor worked for Amy Klobuchar, but she had her father’s name. My sources inside the DFL say Gaertner wearing out her welcome already.

Former U. S. Senator Mark Dayton: Money is no obstacle for Dayton, but his eccentric behavior while a Senator will no doubt come back to haunt him.

Former House Minority Leader Matt Entenza: Like Dayton, money is no object, but his history of opposition research on member of his own party could hurt.

State Represenattive Paul Thissen of Minneapolis: A congenial fellow, but outside of Minneapolis it’s Paul Who?

State Senator and 1994 DFL gubernatorial nominee John Marty. Republicans to Democrats: “If you can’t give us Ole Saviour this time, please give us our second choice, John Marty.”

State Senator Tom Bakk (DFL – Cook): Probably the most original of the DFL bunch, but that’s not saying much. His Iron Range sensibilities make him a little different, which could be a negative when it comes to getting his party’s endorsement.

Democrats who have not filed a campaign committee but being mentioned as potential candidates:

Finally, Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher is considered a potential candidate, although she has not filed a campaign committee yet. Speaker Kelliher had been considered a potential front runner up until the end of the 2009 Legislative session. Most observers and experts viewed the 2009 session as a loser, strategically and politically, for Democrat Legislative leaders, including Kelliher. She may have a tough uphill climb if she gets in the race.

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and Minneapolis Mayor R. T. Rybak have been mentioned as potential candidates, although they are both running for reelection to their current positions this year. Coleman, in particular has been traveling around the state, presumably to elevate his name recognition. Being known in the population center of the state is a plus for either of these potential candidates. However, once the frivilous spending  in their cities (that will cause people in Greater Minnesota scratch their heads)  is revealed, people will wonder why they whined about having to lay off firefighters and policemen when their Local Government Aid was cut.

Now, the Republicans, in no particular order. (Even if it appears that I have an early favorite, I am decidedly neutral at this point. These comments are simply my brief description and analysis.):

Sue Jeffers, 2006 GOP primary opponent to Gov. Pawlenty: Former owner of Stub & Herbs a downtown Minneapolis bar, Ms. Jeffers was an adamant opponent to the statewide smoking ban. Her libertarian views will appeal to some factions in the GOP, but it remains to be seen how much wider her appeal will be. Ms. Jeffers still has a campaign committee from her 2006 challenge to Gov. Pawlenty.

Brian Sullivan, Republican National Committee National Committeeman: You may remember that Sullivan was Pawlwnty’s main challenger for the GOP endorsement in 2002. The memorable state convention that year went until the wee hours in the morning as it took 13 ballots for Pawlenty to garner the 60 percent vote required for party endorsement. Sullivan was gracious in defeat, and many observers commented at the time that his demeanor will help him as a future candidate. Sullivan has been known as a staunch conservative, but more recently, some have tried to pigeonhole him as a party establishment insider. Sullivan, a successful businessman, could self-fund his campaign, but financial independence is a double-edged sword for GOP candidates.

House Minority Leader Marty Seifert, Marshall. Seifert is resigning his position as Minority Leader, and considering a run for Governor. Siefert has successfully held together the House Republicans in sustaining the Governor’s vetoes (well, except for that annoying little gas tax,  license tab fee and metro sales tax increase passed in 2008). Seifert is known for his quips and using illustrative word pictures to get his point across. May be the most fun candidate to watch and listen to.

Senate Minority Leader Dave Senjem, Rochester: One of a diminishing number of Republican legislators from the Rochester area. Senjem is an affable fellow, but isn’t known for his leadership skills.

State Representative Tom Emmer: The conservative lion of the Minnesota House. Emmer is known for fiery speeches on the House Floor. He has the type-A dominant personality to be the CEO of the state. His challenge will be to put together a coalition of supporters beyond the GOP base to get there.

State Representative and former Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer: Has statewide name recognition and experience running statewide campaigns. Does she want to return to statewide service, or has she found her niche as a legislator?

Former State Auditor Pat Anderson, like Kiffmeyer, has statewide name recognition and campaign experience. Anderson is a product of the “Eagan Mafia” that produced prominent GOP politicians like Pawlenty via the Eagan City Council.

State Labor Commissioner and Former Speaker of the House Steve Sviggum: Sviggum was a great promoter of fellow GOP House candidates when he was his caucus leader. However he has never junped into the arena of statewide campaigns himself. Will 2010 be different?

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann: Bachmann certainly fires up the conservative base. However, her propensity to spout controversial things at inopportune times has caused the GOP to divert precious campaign dollars from targeted races to bail her out in a district that should be safe for Republicans.

State Representative Laura Brod: The feisty representative from New Prague has established herself as an expert on far-ranging issues from taxes to Health and Human Services. She handles herself well in House Floor debates. Lack of statewide name recognition could be a problem. However, she is a fresh face and could have the best chance of anyone to earn the support of all factions of her party.

Let’s not forget U. S. Senator Norm Coleman: Yes, Norm’s main job right now is to keep Al Franken to from getting seated in the U. S. Senate. Coleman has always considered himself an executive more so than a legislator. While Minnesotans may have Norm fatigue at the moment, the number of candidates potentially getting into the race could cause campaign fatigue in the coming 12-15 months. As the plethora of candidates line up, and as people find flaws with each one of them, Coleman’s stature as a U. S .Senator may leave hin the last one standing. After all, isn’t that how Sen. McCain got to be his party’s nominee for POTUS in 2008? Norm’s revival coud be a mere 12-15 months away. You read it here first.

Another name mentioned in the media is former Congressman Jim Ramstad. Ramstad’s stature and broad appeal would make him a favorite to defeat any Democrat on the ballot. Given his moderate views and voting record, his challenge would be to find his way to the general election ballot via the GOP nomination.

Others have been mentioned such as State Senators David Hann and Geoff Michel,and even former State Senator and former chief of staff to Pawlenty David Gaither.

One State Senator that at least one fellow legislator is encouraging to run is Sen. Julie Rosen. A potentially attractive candidate, but like most GOP state senators it will be difficult to cite accomplishments and  demonstrable leadership skills as reasons to elect her Governor.

That’s it for now. I’m sure I forgot some names. Others will appear unexpectedly. Many are called. Few are chosen. The speculation and analysis will continue. Stay tuned.