Radicals at the Capitol

Despite a razor-thin majority, the DFL pushed through a radical agenda.

Minnesota was the last state to have a split legislature, with each party controlling one chamber. That changed in November 2022, when the DFL retained a slim advantage in the House and eked out a one-vote majority in the Senate, 34-33, winning the decisive seat by only 321 votes. Conventional political wisdom would dictate that a party holding such a slight edge should seek compromise and consensus, but that is not what happened. Instead, the DFL seized the opportunity to enact the most radical legislative package in Minnesota’s history, with most of its key measures passing by a single vote.

Minnesota’s compliant press has used words like “historic” in describing this year’s session. But what do Minnesota voters actually think about it? Our polling, carried out by Meeting Street Insights of Charleston, S.C., indicates they don’t like what they saw.

As the 2023 session was ending, we asked Minnesota voters how they evaluate the legislature’s work: excellent, good, just fair, or poor? Pollsters often group “excellent” and “good” together as approval, and “just fair” and “poor” together as disapproval. In those terms, only 37 percent of respondents say they approve of the session as a whole, while 58 percent disapprove. And a plurality of 32 percent rated the legislature’s performance as “poor.”

When we turn to specific issues, most Minnesotans are deeply unhappy with what our legislature has done. This year’s tax increases are massively unpopular: 81 percent oppose the increases in car tab fees, 72 percent oppose
the tax on retail deliveries, 58 percent oppose the metro sales tax increase, and by 50 percent to 46 percent, Minnesotans oppose the new payroll tax to support paid family leave.

Fully 60 percent of respondents told our pollster that Minnesota’s income taxes are too high, while only three percent thought they were too low. And yet the legislature listened to the three percent fringe and increased Minnesotans’ tax burden.

On other issues, too, the legislature went out on a limb. It gave convicted felons the right to vote before their sentences are complete, which Minnesotans oppose 60 percent to 36 percent. It legalized abortion up to and including the moment of birth, a position that only 28 percent say they hold. With much fanfare, Gov. Tim Walz signed into law a measure to make Minnesota a “trans refuge” state where children from around the country can come for sex change operations, even when such a procedure would be illegal where the child lives. But this concept is deeply unpopular with Minnesotans. Only 22 percent say they approve of sex change operations on minors, while 67 percent disapprove.

Consistent with the view that Minnesota’s far-left policies have put our state on the wrong track, Minnesotans have become pessimistic about the state’s future. Asked whether they believe their children’s generation will be better off economically, worse off, or the same as their generation, a shockingly low 14 percent said they expect the next generation of Minnesotans to be better off. And most don’t see a future here for their children: 59 percent said it is likely that their children, or the next generation, will move to another state.

Such pessimism is easy to understand in the wake of a legislative session that was deeply misguided in the eyes of most Minnesotans. But the good news is that if you are appalled at what our legislature has done, you are not alone. On the contrary, you are part of Minnesota’s majority. It is time to make our voices, and our votes, count.