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“Resist Trump” Racial Equity Program Pockets More Than 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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Taxpayer and Ratepayer Subsidies Squandered as Suburb Dismantles Solar Project

There were no dignitaries on hand, ribbons to cut or speeches on sustainability to commemorate the latest chapter in solar power at the Maplewood Community Center (MCC). Five years after a massive $310,000 subsidy from taxpayers and Xcel Energy ratepayers, the St. Paul suburb now has nothing to show for the supposed model renewable energy project—except for 216 obsolete solar panels and 198 reflector panels headed for storage and, more than likely, oblivion. The Maplewood Community Center’s rooftop solar system was one of dozens of green projects in Minnesota rolled out with little scrutiny under the 2009 federal stimulus program (ARRA), meant...

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American Experiment Files Brief in Dayton Line Item Veto Case

Center of the American Experiment has filed a “friend of the court” or amicus brief with the Minnesota Supreme Court in the line-item veto case between the current Legislature and Governor Mark Dayton. Governor Dayton used his line-item veto power in an attempt to force the Legislature to agree to another special session and to concede major policy changes he had already agreed to in negotiations and signed into law. The Center argued to uphold the ruling from Ramsey County District Court that found Governor Dayton’s attempt to defund the Legislature violated the Minnesota Constitution. “This case should be decided with a straight-forward...

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Is the Minnesota Commerce Department Out of Control?

Most of what happens behind the scenes at state agencies stays behind the scenes. The gears of government grind on, leaving taxpayers little choice but to trust that officials act in their best interest. But three recent legal cases involving the Minnesota Department of Commerce have provided ammunition for critics of the entrenched administrative state and unelected regulators that run it. “Court opinions and other legal filings published in the past several months have afforded Minnesotans a stark look at the internal operations of the Minnesota Department of Commerce,” Rep. Tony Albright (R-Prior Lake) and Rep. Kelly Fenton (R-Woodbury) wrote in a...

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Lawmakers Aim to Make the Met Council Accountable

The Metropolitan Council still holds the title of the biggest, most powerful unelected regional government in the country bar none. But that would change under proposed legislation calling for local elected officials to replace political appointees of the governor as Met Council representatives. “This legislation brings more openness to the Metropolitan Council by aligning its membership with local elected officials, giving regular citizens more voice in the make-up of the council and the important policies it implements,” said Rep. Tony Albright (R-Prior Lake), author of HF 828. While the proposed legislative reforms were embraced by the agency’s critics as a step in...

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City Debates Turning Down Grant in Latest Met Council Flap

Shakopee could become the first city to reject a $32,000 Met Council planning grant this week in the latest sign of local governments’ mounting antagonism to the heavy hand of the nation’s biggest unelected regional bureaucracy over their affairs. “We are concerned about the direct connection of the Thrive 2040 Plan, Met Council’s housing policies and any housing goal plan, as it relates to the acceptance of this grant,” Mayor Bill Mars wrote in a recent email exchange with Met Council officials. Met Council staff have downplayed the rift. “I don’t think we have a ‘controversy,’ so much as a ‘clarification’ with the...

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Cigarette Smuggling Soars in Minnesota After Big Tax Hike

Cigarette smuggling has soared since Minnesota imposed a $1.60 per pack excise tax increase in 2013, propelling the state to fifth highest for the crime in a new Tax Foundation and Mackinac Center for Public Policy report. The study shows smuggled smokes accounted for more than a third of cigarettes--36 percent--consumed in Minnesota in 2014, leading to an estimated $313 million loss in revenue due to tax evasion and avoidance by so-called border shopping. “Minnesota’s big leap in the ranks of smuggling states is no surprise,” said Michael LaFaive, Mackinac Center Fiscal Policy Director and co-author of the report. “As tax differentials...

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VA Spends 300k to Study Defunct St. Cloud Wind Turbine

The Veterans Administration has been trying to get a wind energy project up and running at the St. Cloud VA Medical Center since 2007.  Almost a decade later, the 245 foot high wind turbine originally hyped as a national model by the White House is up but not running since 2012. The most notable results generated to date by the 93 ton renewable energy installation are a nearly $2 million loss for taxpayers and a black eye for the Obama Administration’s green energy agenda. Yet instead of mothballing the project and cutting taxpayers’ losses, the federal agency recently doubled down on the...

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MN Secretary of State Sued for Instructing Election Judges to Let Felons and Others Known to be Ineligible to Vote

Minnesota Secretary of State and county election managers are being sued by election judges who claim the 2016 Minnesota Election Judge Guide requires them to violate state election laws. The lawsuits were filed today in Hennepin, Ramsey and St. Louis Counties by three election judges who are requesting an injunction relieving them from having to provide ballots to people who are listed as felons, people under guardianship and noncitizens. “It is important for all election judges to honor their election judge oath to adhere to Minnesota election law and allow only eligible voters to cast a vote,” said Andy Cilek, Executive Director...

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