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Another Blank Check Won’t Fix MNLARS Meltdown

Should Minnesota taxpayers give Gov. Dayton what amounts to a blank check for tens of millions of dollars to fix the disastrous MNLARS vehicle registration computer system already botched by MN.IT? The stark reality facing legislators was outlined in the Pioneer Press. It will cost $43 million in additional funding to fix Minnesota’s flailing vehicle title computer system and make it work the way everyone wants. That price tag will fix all the glitches and tackle all the backlogs by July. And make needed enhancements by the fall of 2019. Oh, and a chunk of that money is needed by March 1. It’s unclear how much. That...

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MN Was State Least Affected by Government Shutdown

The latest federal government shutdown hardly registered a blip when it came to the effect on daily life for most folks. The inconsequential impact was partly due to the short--just three days--duration of the 19th government shutdown. But it's also because of where you live. Minnesota was dead last, number 51 among all the states and the District of Columbia, in a WalletHub analysis of the local effect of the brief interruption of federal government services across the country. To determine whose homes a government shutdown strikes closest to, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across six key...

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No End in Sight for Backlogged Vehicle Registration System

The upside for the Dayton Administration's hopelessly dysfunctional MNLARS vehicle registration system? It hasn't crashed since November 2. The downside? Some 269,000 registration and title transactions remain backlogged in the system as of last Friday. That's the update from Dana Bailey, the new Executive Director of Projects and Initiatives for MN.IT, the high tech state agency responsible for the disastrous computer system that was tens of millions of dollars over budget and years behind schedule--and still doesn't work. In spite of the disruption to hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans over the last six months, Bailey expressed her concern to the Pioneer Press...

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Will Klobuchar and Smith Vote for Shutdown Over Saving Children’s Health Program?

Minnesota has effectively run out of federal funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The program covers health care costs for 125,000 Minnesota children. But now there's a chance to salvage the program, if the U.S. Senate, including Minnesota Senators Klobuchar and Smith, vote to avoid a federal government shutdown. Democrats have railed over Congress' failure to re-up the program for months, joined by members of Minnesota's delegation. The Minnesota media added to the chorus. Minnesota will have to spend $178 million over the next 18 months if Congress fails to reauthorize a federal health insurance program that covers 125,000 children in...

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Rochester Spends $150,000 on “New Destination Brand”

If there's one city in Minnesota that ought to think twice before throwing away taxpayer dollars on creating a "brand" it's Rochester. The first thing that comes to mind at the mention of Rochester? Mayo Clinic. It may be the seat of Olmsted County, but Rochester has long enjoyed a reputation far beyond our borders as a medical center and research powerhouse. Hence Rochester's nickname Med City. But it's a "New Year, New Brand" as of January 1, 2018. The Rochester Convention and Visitors Bureau, just renamed Experience Rochester MN, even lists "the top ten facts you need to know about our new...

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Legislators Threaten to Eliminate State IT Agency Over DVS Mess

The geniuses that recently named Minnesota the best run state clearly never had a run-in with Driver and Vehicle Services. The public and political impatience with the beyond embarrassing breakdown of DVS' new and not-so-improved MNLARS vehicle registration system came through loud and clear in the Pioneer Press account of a legislative oversight hearing this week. When will the problems plaguing Minnesota’s vehicle registration system be fixed? No one would say Thursday, amid repeated questioning from frustrated state lawmakers, one of whom suggested that the state’s entire IT department be dismantled and those who worked on the system be purged from state...

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Minnetonka Residents Fight City Hall Over Bike Trail

Twin Cities drivers are finally waking up to the reality there's virtually no stopping urban planners intent on converting miles and miles of roadways to bike lanes, regardless of congestion and other consequences. But now some residents say Minnetonka city officials and biking special interest groups want to go off-road as well, converting a quiet neighborhood park into a magnet for mountain bikers in the suburb. On its website, city planners insist no decision will be made about the proposed mountain bike trail in Big Willow Park until after another public meeting on January 8. City staff has heard from many residents regarding...

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Mapping The Swamp of the Administrative State

It's impossible to get your arms around the reach and cost of the federal bureaucracy in our lives and pocketbooks. But a new analysis by a government oversight group provides confirmation it's even more massive than many of us think. The Daily Signal breaks down the distressing findings of the report, appropriately titled "Mapping The Swamp: A Study of the Administrative State." Looking at 78 large agencies, the nonprofit organization OpenTheBooks.com found that the average salary of a federal employee exceeds $100,000 and that roughly 1 in 5 of those on the government payroll has a six-figure salary. Almost 30,000 rank-and-file government...

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“Resist Trump” Racial Equity Program Pockets 275k From MN Taxpayers

Minnesota cities, counties and state agencies have spent more than $275,000 in taxpayer funds on a provocative racial equity program led by a national leftwing advocacy group that urges local governments to “resist Trump” and bases its training for public employees on the premise that government institutions and workers are inherently racist, whether they realize it or not. “The Alliance leads with race, with the recognition that the creation and perpetuation of racial inequities has been baked into government,” according to the Government Alliance on Race & Equity (GARE) website. “From the inception of our country, government at the local, regional,...

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