Walz rewards unions with state budget proposal

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The main cost of government is employees. For the most part, government doesn’t have capital equipment, production facilities, raw materials, or sales and marketing. Government is mostly salaries, benefits and pensions for the people it hires. So when the cost of government goes up, it’s usually because more people have been hired. And Minnesota state government, under the direction of Gov. Tim Walz, is about to add thousands of new employees.

Most of the new employees will become members of a public employee union such as the Minnesota Association of Professional Employees (MAPE), American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and Education Minnesota, the state teachers’ union. As members of a public employee union, these new government employees will use some of their taxpayer-funded wages to pay union dues — dues that will be used to fund politicians who serve the unions’ interest. Public employee unions happen to be the largest contributor to Democratic Party candidates for state and local office.

It’s a cycle that works pretty well for Democrats. Public employee unions spend dues money to get Democrats elected. Democrats use their power to grow government and hire more union employees. Unions enroll more members and collect more dues. Rinse and repeat.

2022 political donations from unions

Public employee unions were huge donors to the Democratic Party enterprise used to re-elect Tim Walz and give him Democratic majorities in the House and Senate. Public employee unions contributed $3.86 million to Democratic campaigns in the 2022 election cycle.

Those campaign donations will soon pay off as the legislature shifts its focus to the state budget. Gov. Walz has already proposed a huge increase in permanent state spending, including the addition of thousands of new employees. Walz adds employees in almost every state agency, in some cases to simply “maintain current levels of service delivery.”

For his own office, Walz proposes adding 10 full-time equivalent employees (known as FTEs), an 18% increase over last year. He summarized the need for more funding this way:

Each year, the cost of doing business rises — including growing costs for employer-paid health care contributions and other salary and compensation-related costs. Other operating costs, like rent and lease, fuel and utilities and IT services also grow.

Every business in the state could write the same narrative! The difference is many of these cost increases are directly caused by state government policies. To be more specific, Tim Walz’s state government policies.

Walz did propose to eliminate 2.6 FTEs from the Department of Health by ending the Positive Abortion Alternatives grant program. This is part of the war on crisis pregnancy centers we’re seeing here and nationally. This program cut fits the narrative of pay-to-play for Tim Walz since Planned Parenthood contributed $475,000 to his 2022 campaign and $2.3 million overall to Democrats. They don’t even try to hide it anymore.

Walz is also proposing three completely new bureaucracies in state government:

  • A new Cannabis Management Office with 104 new FTEs will “be responsible for the implementation of the regulatory framework for adult-use cannabis, along with the medical cannabis program, and a program to regulate hemp and hemp-derived products.”
  • A new Minnesota Family and Medical Leave Program administered by DEED will require 410 new FTEs. This massive new state bureaucracy will “provide wage replacement for family and medical leaves and provide job protections for recipients, so they are assured of continued employment with their employer upon their return.” A new tax on every employee and employer will provide ongoing funding.
  • A new Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) with 60 FTEs (30 new, 30 reassigned from other agencies) that “reimagines state government structures to elevate child, youth, and family priorities and funding needs by providing focused leadership in our executive branch and with the legislature.”

In addition to these new bureaucracies, Walz also proposed thousands of new state employees, with almost every state agency getting an increase. He proposed adding 2,349 FTEs in the major state agencies alone, listed below.

Diversity, equity and inclusion

There are countless examples of new programs that fuel the need for these new employees and many of them deal with equity, diversity and inclusion. For example, Walz wants 14 new FTEs for his Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Center at the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) “to ensure the conditions, strategies, resources, and training for equity, diversity, and inclusion thrive in our educational system across the state.” He also wants three new FTEs at the Department of Administration for an Office of Equity in Grants “to assist state agencies with effectively implementing state-funded grant programs through a diversity, equity, and inclusion policy framework.” Walz is building a massive diversity, equity and inclusion bureaucracy across state government and this legislature is unlikely to stop him.

Walz also proposed a 4% increase to the general education funding formula next year and a 2% increase the year after, which will cost an additional $717 million in 2024-2025 and $1.48 billion in 2026-2027. That increase is a transfer of state income tax revenue to local school districts so they can hire more union teachers.

Following California’s lead

Left unchecked, government growth eventually outpaces its ability to tax as more and more people and companies vote with their feet. Perhaps Walz will be visited in his sleep by a Dickens-like Ghost of Government Yet to Come, who will whisk him off to California or Illinois. In California Walz will see a self-inflicted housing shortage caused by unnecessary government regulations. In Illinois he’ll see a state economy unable to grow under the weight of huge pension liabilities to government (union) employees.

Returning to Dickens, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come makes it clear to Scrooge that his fate is not written in stone. He can repent and change his ways. The only hope for Minnesota is for citizens to rise up and push back against the massive growth in state government written into the Governor’s budget plan. That begins with the Freedom Rally on April 4th at the State Capitol.

Join us on Tuesday, April 4th at 11 AM in the Capitol Rotunda

Stop the Madness!

RSVP on the Facebook event page and share our graphic to let your friends know you’re going!

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