By hook and crook
Minnesota’s legislature is pushing extreme policies for which it has no mandate.
Minnesota’s legislature convened in January 2023, with the slimmest possible margin of DFL control. Democrats held the House of Representatives by 70-64, and the Senate by only a single seat, 34-33, and that seat by a margin of only 321 votes. Voters hardly gave the DFL a mandate for radical change, and yet the first half of the 2023 session has seen a blitzkrieg of legislation that is often extreme, and often contrary to the wishes of most Minnesotans.
Start with the budget. Despite a projected $18 billion surplus, there has been little discussion of tax cuts, and no consideration at all of meaningful tax reductions. Rather, current proposals include a substantial increase in personal income taxes, notwithstanding the fact that the Thinking Minnesota Poll has twice found that by a margin of two to one, Minnesotans want lower personal income tax rates.
Adding insult to injury is a proposal to increase car license fees by the extraordinary expedient of taxing vehicles at 160 percent of their value. Not surprisingly, our polling shows that this measure is opposed by an overwhelming 81 percent of Minnesotans.
Already signed into law is the infamous Blackout Bill that purports to require all electricity in Minnesota to come from wind and solar facilities by 2040. American Experiment’s policy staff estimates the cost at $313 billion. Our analysis also shows that even with this improbable expenditure, Minnesota will experience blackouts. The bill’s proponents have attempted no feasibility study to show that their proposal can keep the lights on.
Gov. Walz absurdly claimed that the Blackout Bill will result in lower electricity costs for all Minnesotans. I responded by challenging Walz to put his money where his mouth is: I offered to wager $25,000 that in three years’ time, electric rates will be higher than they currently are, not lower. Needless to say, Walz did not accept that wager. Minnesotans will be paying the price for this foolish measure for years to come.
One might have thought that Minnesota’s abortion laws could hardly be made more permissive, and yet the legislature accomplished this feat by legalizing abortion, for any reason or no reason, up to and including the moment of birth. Still in the hopper is a bill that would legalize infanticide in some circumstances. Is this really what Minnesotans voted for last November?
At a time when Minnesotans want more law enforcement, not more privileges for convicted criminals, the legislature gave felons the right to vote before completing their sentences. Minnesotans oppose that measure by 60 percent to 36 percent.
This session’s overreach is not limited to legislation. By executive order, Walz has declared Minnesota a “refuge” where sex change operations can be performed on children, even where the child lives in a state where such surgery would not be legal. Walz signed this order with pride and fanfare, and it is popular with extreme partisans. Our polling, however, finds that only 22 percent of Minnesotans favor performing sex change operations on minors, while 67 percent are opposed.
At this writing, the legislative session is only half finished. No doubt additional extreme legislation is yet to come. Which raises the question, what will the consequences be? Will voters push back against the overreach we are witnessing? If so, we could see a seismic shift in the 2024 and 2026 election cycles. Or will voters remain complacent?
Minnesota’s future might hang on the answer to that question.