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How the Latest DHS Scandal is Just the Tip of the Iceberg

This article appeared in the Fall 2019 issue of Thinking Minnesota. To receive a free issue send your name and address to info@americanexperiment.org. Minnesotans of a certain age will always recall the Land of 10,000 Lakes as that squeaky clean, good government state personified by the still-famous August 1973 Time magazine cover of plaid-shirted DFL Governor Wendy Anderson hoisting a trophy northern pike. As Time wrote back then, “Minnesota is a state whose politics is almost unnaturally clean— no patronage, virtually no corruption.” Perhaps Minnesotans can be forgiven for holding their state in such high esteem. After all, U.S. News & World...

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Walz Doubles Down on Taxpayer Subsidies for Failed Amtrak Train Lines

The Walz administration's attempt to get Minnesota taxpayers to subsidize a proposed $550 million passenger train to Grand Casino Hinckley and Duluth-Superior came up empty with the failure to pass a bonding bill at the legislature this year. But outdated, wasteful government projects rarely fade away, they just get bigger and bolder. MnDOT now plans to double down on its $15 million request from this year in the 2020 legislative session, according to the Star Tribune. The $30 million funding request from state coffers would move Northern Lights into its final design phase, with service beginning in 2023. Rail planners say local and...

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Fraud and Mismanagement Should Be Red Flag for City Funding of Credit Union

The Minneapolis Star Tribune editorial board had a great opinion piece last week investigating allegations of fraud and mismanagement for a new credit union designed to promote economic opportunities for African-Americans in North Minneapolis. According to the Strib: "In one of the worst scenarios that a financial institution can face, a startup north Minneapolis credit union is embroiled in allegations of fraud and mismanagement. Two top leaders of Village Financial Cooperative were terminated in August for alleged financial misconduct. Both deny the charges and have countered with allegations that they were fired because of racial discrimination. Village Financial is an African-American-led credit union sponsored...

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In The Tank (Ep210) – Government Spending Waste Report, Bernie’s Wealth Tax

Hello! This week on the In the Tank Podcast, Isaac Orr is joined by Heartland's Donald Kendal, Justin Haskins, and Jim Lakely for Episode 210 of the In The Tank Podcast. This weekly podcast features discussions that explore the work of think tanks across the country. We talk about how Bernie's wealth tax would be a disaster and would act as an "economic Berlin Wall," or Bernline Wall, for those feeling the Bern. The episode also features work from the Tax Foundation, the Cato Institute, and the American Action Forum. https://soundcloud.com/user-694711047/in-the-tank-ep210-government-spending-waste-report-bernies-wealth-tax?in=user-694711047/sets/in-the-tank-podcast...

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MN Amtrak Ridership Declines Again in 2018

Amtrak continues to lose passengers in Minnesota, even as DFL Governor Tim Walz, MnDOT and the national rail service continue to pursue a partnership to initiate two new Amtrak-operated but heavily state-subsidized routes from the Twin Cities to Duluth and Chicago. RELATED: Are Minnesotans Being Taken for a Ride by Amtrak? Ridership on the only Amtrak line in Minnesota, the Empire Builder from Chicago to Seattle, has waned nearly 30 percent in recent years. The latest numbers compiled by the Rail Passengers Association indicate the Empire Builder lost another 10,000 riders in 2018, dropping to a total of 126,700 compared to 177,600...

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2019 Legislative Recap

Center of the American Experiment pushed back against far-left policies like the 100% green energy mandate, 70% gas tax hike, and 9% increase in the state budget. Conservative legislators stopped the most radical ideas, but conceded a 6% budget increase. In a surprise victory, a middle-class income tax cut was also passed....

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Minneapolis cancels “sacred” race-segregated staff meetings; Pearlstein calls out Identity Politics

Why is Minneapolis, engaged in this conversation? How does this get any pot holes filled or make the city a safer, better place to live? Just as importantly, how does this advance the “equity” ball? Is this what “Equity Coordinators” do? If so, I have a suggestion for staff cuts that could result in immediate savings to the city’s bottom line....

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St. Cloud VA to Scrap Dysfunctional $2.5 Million Wind Turbine

Nothing stands for government waste and green energy excess like the frozen 250 foot high wind turbine at the St. Cloud Veterans Administration Hospital. But alas, not for much longer. In July the VA finally plans to tear down what's become a classic symbol of government ineptitude not only in Minnesota but nationwide. The agency's capitulation follows years of disparagement by the public and the media, including this post I filed in 2014. “The fact of the matter is this machine has not performed as hoped at all. It has a terrible record,” [VA spokesman Barry] Venable said. Unlike some wind farms in...

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No Funding for Proposed Duluth Train This Year

Minnesota taxpayers dodged another bullet with the collapse of a bonding bill at the state legislature this session.  Among the pet projects thankfully left in limbo? The so-called Northern Lights Express (NLX), a more than half a billion dollar boondoggle that was tracked by the Duluth News Tribune. Breakthrough funding for the proposed $550-million passenger rail line between the Twin Ports and Minneapolis will have to wait for at least another year after the Minnesota Legislature last week failed to address the project. Funding for the Northern Lights Express passenger rail line ultimately landed in a proposed off-year bonding bill. The bill...

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Are Minnesota Taxpayers Being Taken for a Ride by Amtrak?

Most Minnesotans have likely never heard of the proposed $550 million Northern Lights Express (NLX) passenger rail line from the Twin Cities to Duluth-Superior. Yet MnDOT has been quietly laying the groundwork for the line for years with a series of engineering and environmental studies. Meantime, Gov. Walz has prioritized the project, requesting $15 million from the legislature to keep NLX on track. If NLX becomes a reality, MnDOT has made it clear that Amtrak would operate the 152-mile line on behalf of the state. In recent weeks Amtrak officials have surfaced in meetings with elected officials in Duluth-Superior and the...

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