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President Trump Updates Executive Order on Refugees: Could Help MN Track Costs

The Center has been trying for several years to answer a simple question: how much does the refugee resettlement program costing taxpayers. Why? Minnesota is the number one destination for refugees in the United States on a per capita basis. We get a large number of refugees placed here by the federal government—and we get a big surge from what is called “secondary migration.” ...

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MN Lawmakers Flex Political Muscle and Reject Union Contracts

[caption id="attachment_8017" align="alignright" width="231"] Subcommittee on Employee Relations (LCC)[/caption] You heard it here first. State public employee unions and the Dayton Administration can no longer count on state legislators to be a rubber stamp for negotiated labor agreements, as American Experiment noted several weeks ago. At the time, DFL lawmakers were troubled when some colleagues raised uncomfortable questions about a SEIU Healthcare Minnesota contract stemming from a controversial 2014 union election for home care workers. Now the majority on the Legislative Coordinating Commission’s Subcommittee on Employee Relations has sent another blunt message to the state's two biggest public employee union collective bargaining units....

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Met Council Attempts to Explain Away OLA Audit Findings: Will the FTA Care?

For all I know, the FTA’s New Starts grant program tells applicants, “Lie to me, tell me what I want to hear so I can give you the billions in funds appropriated by Congress. Oh, and I am not going to require you to put away funds to replace the system when it wears out.” That would explain why the nation's transit system operates in the red, fails to relieve congestion and does not have the ridership it projected. How else did we get LRT in Minnesota?...

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OLA Jim Nobles Releases Critical Met Council Transit Audit: Legislative Leaders React

“Metropolitan Council staff told us they use one set of assumptions (based on historical state and local funding) when preparing their federal transportation financial plans, and different assumptions (based on current appropriations law) when preparing internal reports and information for the Minnesota Legislature.” OLA ...

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Meet the people who are running the teachers’ pension fund (into the ground)

If you are a young teacher or in the middle of your career, I hope you are putting money away in a 403(b). If you are retired, think about how you can help the Center get the truth to teachers. How do we talk to teachers about this vital issue so they will think critically about what TRA tells them about the health of the fund—and educate themselves on how pensions work—and do not work. ...

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Minnesota Revenues Falling Below Forecast

The State of Minnesota's revenue in July fell "well below government forecasts", continuing a trend that has gone on for several months. Governor Dayton naturally focused on the extremely modest tax cuts that the legislature has just enacted: Dayton said the new numbers — revenue was 6.4 percent lower than expected in July — concerned him because of the "excessive" tax cuts passed by the GOP-controlled Legislature that "left us without much of a margin for error." But the tax cuts amounted to only $650 million over the next two years, just 1.4% of a $45.5 billion budget. Republicans pointed out that...

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The DFL’s “Young Learners” Marching to Pre-School This Fall

Children of all ages need to play and get lots of rest. Nursery school-age children, even at-risk kids who may need our special care and support, do not belong institutional settings like schools, nor do they need to learn a whole more than the fact that learning is really fun. Make ideas, colors, numbers and shapes available at home, nursery programs or child care....

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Met Council Poker Game: buying train cars and condemning land for SWLRT

“In the Council’s mind, it’s like a high-stakes poker game. The Council is betting that by spending hundreds of millions of dollars, they can pressure Congress and the FTA into approving the projects. They talk as if it is a done deal, as if big talk and spending will make it so. But the federal grant program doesn't work that way.” Anoka County Commissioner Matt Look ...

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Met Council votes to increase transit fares by 25 cents. Why now?

So why did the Council step up and make a reasonable rate increase now? Answer: They are flying out to DC to lobby Congress and the FTA/DOT on a regular basis trying to secure full funding grants for LRT expansion: Southwest LRT and Bottineau. But the Met Council, and its friends on the Hennepin and Ramsey County boards (Peter McLaughlin, et. al.) have NOT secured federal funding. ...

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