The Party purporting to espouse the views of limited government and free markets is in the midst of a great deception. And the victims are the countless conservative activists and donors who are tricked by the carefully crafted talking points of the campaign consultancy class.
You may not be paying attention to the shenanigans at the Capitol involving the Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt and Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton. If you aren’t paying attention, it’s probably because you have a life! However, as we spend time with our families, businesses and fun-filled hours at the cabin in this beautiful state, a small group of social media users are getting their jollies from the back-and-forth drama between the two ruling parties in St Paul; neither of which is actually trying to reduce government.
On May 18th, the legislature adjourned at midnight after passing massive omnibus spending bills through the Republican controlled House that increased the size of state government by 6%. Education spending increased by over 8%, adding more money to pre-k scholarships (not a role of government). Even more disturbing, the Republicans passed a Health and Human Services bill that did nothing to MNsure (State ObamaCare exchange) and grew spending by 11%. To make matters worse, they used a budget gimmick to hide $455 Million in general funds spending to appear like they were making a cut to baseline spending. This move got a backdoor praise from Democrat Senator Bakk who called the shift a “budget gimmick meant to allow Republicans to claim lower spending in the coming year”. But Bakk said he ultimately agreed to the plan because it had the overall effect of increasing program spending, as reported by MPR.
These bills were the final work of a small group of legislators sitting on a conference committee, receiving guidance from the Speaker about what was agreed upon in negotiations with the governor. Bills accounting for hundreds of pages and billions of dollars in spending were rushed to the House and Senate floors in the final 48 hours, receiving overwhelming support from both parties. Most of these bills, as legislators have admitted, were not read before being voted on. Didn’t we accuse Nancy Pelosi of similar tactics?!
With spending increasing substantially and no major reforms to the state’s failing education and health care system, one would imagine the Democrats were celebrating behind closed doors for the gift the fraudulent Republican leaders just handed them. However, there is this baseless theory in politics that when a government shuts down, Republicans get the blame in the next election. So Governor Mark Dayton, at the request of his aides who are really running the show, vetoed three omnibus spending bills thus forcing the legislature to reconvene for a special session or face a partial government shutdown.
Now as you are living your busy life, you might catch part of the story on the front of the paper or on the 6 o’clock news. But let’s face it, the childish behavior of our governor and the complete and utter failure of Kurt Daudt’s negotiation skills is lost on the average Minnesotan voter. Which is great for both parties.
Had you been paying attention, you would understand that Republican Speaker Kurt Daudt has given the governor another $150 Million in education spending, dropped a good reform to teacher layoffs and increased subsidies to pre-k scholarships. On top of all of that, there is still a projected billion in surplus funds that the imposter Republicans failed to give back to the Minnesotan taxpayer. That’s a large chunk of change that entrepreneurs won’t be able to use to make better products and hire new people.
The parody gets better. The Party of “fiscal conservatism” has now negotiated a $373 Million bonding bill in a traditional non-bonding year. This bill full of pork projects throughout the state of Minnesota, will ensure that the legislature once again fails to balance a budget, even though they have a billion dollars of funds in reserves.
Let’s review the record so far: Republicans increased government by over 6%; voted on bills they didn’t read; made no major budgetary reforms; retained a billion dollar budget surplus in the government coffers; and plan to borrow money despite the retained revenues. How can things get worse? Well, let’s look at how the legislative process is working right now.
$42 Billion and 2 years of state government operations are being decided behind closed doors by a handful of people: Speaker Kurt Daudt, Governor Mark Dayton and their staff. The Republican Senate minority leader has no seat at the table. How is this effective and transparent government? There are no hearings, debates or anything that makes for a more effective legislative process. The media waits outside of the Governor’s mansion hoping to catch enough info to craft their next 140 character tweet. Meanwhile, Minnesotans sit in the dark while our elected leaders find ways to encroach on more of our lives and liberties.
The Grand Old Party is one big parody these days. All the things we accuse Democrats of are alive and well in the Republican ranks at the Capitol. There’s no fiscal discipline and no adherence to the tenets of limited government values. If the Republican Party would live by its principles there would be no need for rebels like us. However, now more than ever, the tea party is the last hope for all of us who desire a smaller government.
Blog written by Jake Duesenberg, Executive Director