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Taxpayers to Get Squeezed After Minneapolis School District Mismanages Their Budget, Again…

The Minneapolis School District can't seem to get their act together. The district overspent by $21.6 million last year, now the school district is seeking to raise property taxes by $18 million in a referendum on the ballot this fall. If you live in Minneapolis, you can see what these additional levies will cost you by clicking here. The Minneapolis School District has been badly mismanaged. According to a Star Tribune article from last year, auditors highlighted seven areas of financial missteps, including problems in budgeting, payroll and approval of district purchasing cards. "Some employees remained on payroll after they left the district...

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Met Council has a new director of equal opportunity but not enough bus drivers. Some Routes Suspended.

One of the Met Council’s core functions is transit. I could not help wondering if the Council focused more on delivering good transit, rather than trying to re-arrange the metro area according to its own “progressive” political and social agenda maybe it would not find itself without enough drivers. ...

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Southwest LRT Summer Newsletter: spending, delays continue while total costs rise

For your summer reading: The Met Council's pet project SWLRT, now largely shifted onto the back of Hennepin County taxpayers, has been delayed again. And yet the Council is spending tax dollars anyway even though it has not received a federal grant. This is "good" news, as good as it gets short of a full denial by the FTA. My prediction is SWRLT will not be funded in 2018. ...

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Moody’s Warns Minnesota: 2018 Pension Bill Not Good Enough

Rating agencies like Moody’s have all threatened to ding the State of Minnesota for not properly funding pensions. This is what finally prompted the Governor and Legislature to act in 2018 (Dayton had 8 years to do it but waited until his second to last year to start to weigh in on a solution, and then his last year to sign a bill). Moody’s released yet another report critical of Minnesota policies, noting that the Omnibus bill was “far from a cure-all.”...

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Public Pools to Robotic Mowers: The Minnesota Bonding Bill

Minnesota's current bonding bill allocates $825 million, derived from the issuance of state bonds. Eventually, these bonds must be payed back with interest, making this funding scheme expensive for the taxpayer in the long run. However even knowing this, St. Paul approved some strange spending. ...

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Why are public schools feeding students, who are not in school, during the summer?

I am not at all unsympathetic to hungry kids if they have incompetent and/or neglectful parents. But this is not a proper expenditure or activity for any public school. Period. This gives a whole new meaning to in loco parentis. These schools have operational deficits and massive unfunded pension liabilities. Even if you could accept the argument that schools should feed kids year-round, and I do not, we do not have the money. The good news is local charities are involved; it should stop there. ...

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What is in the big $1.5 billion bonding and public works bill? A new pool for New Hope

Why are state taxpayers giving New Hope a $2 million “grant” for a pool? We recently helped Golden Valley put in a new clubhouse for its Brookview Golf Course. Huh. Cities are free to offer amenities, though honestly golf courses are a hole too far for me. But at least local voters can keep an eye on the city council and bounce officials if they are not being fiscally responsible. OK, it is a theory, I know. But why are state taxpayers asked to help with local projects? ...

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Minnesota’s Mr. Wrong: Gov. Dayton’s Math and Reasons for Vetoing Tax Bill Don’t Hold Water

Mark Haveman, our friend who runs the Minnesota Center for Fiscal Excellence, penned a brilliant op-ed in today’s Star Tribune that blows up Gov. Dayton’s stated main reason for vetoing the 2018 tax bill. Haveman devastated Dayton’s main criticism that “misguided priorities for corporations” emphasize “tax cuts for corporations over real people.” For starters, the claim of excessively favorable treatment of corporations doesn’t match the reported numbers. Conforming to the federal government’s broadening of the corporate tax base actually exposes more Minnesota corporate income to the state’s tax rates. According to nonpartisan legislative staff, the vetoed tax bill was projected to increase...

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