Monthly Archives: September 2013

Never Forget, Always Rememberin​g the Lives Lost on 9/11

Dear Friends,

Today marks the 12th anniversary of September 11, 2001 when America was attacked in New York City, Pennsylvania and at the Pentagon. It is also the one year anniversary of the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi.

As we take time today to reflect and remember the fallen, we also want to honor those who put their lives on the line defending us and their families who have sacrificed so much over the years.

Our thoughts and prayers are with all of those affected by the horrific events of September 11, 2001 and 2012, and everyone in between. Our thanks goes out to all those who continue to fight to keep our country safe.

We will never forget.

Sincerely,

Keith Downey
Chairman
Republican Party of Minnesota

Dayton shell game, Rybak scam

Truth matters, even in politics.

To much fanfare, Mayor R T Rybak made headlines recently for proposing a small decrease in property tax rates for Minneapolis homeowners.

Yet when he released his budget document Monday, we see he is actually proposing a City of Minneapolis spending increase of $24 million or 2.2%. Notably, salaries and wages go up 4.2% and fringe benefits go up 7.3%.

No surprise, when you look at the actual budget numbers (click here and see p. A6 of Rybak’s budget) spending is going up!

So how does City spending go up $24 million, but Mayor Rybak touts property tax relief?

The positive headlines betray a deeper story of political sleight of hand and bailouts that will cost every Minnesotan who doesn’t have a Minneapolis zip code.

Just two short years ago, Mayor Rybak was poised to drive the city of Minneapolis over its own fiscal cliff.

Several ticking time bombs were ready to go off in succession to cripple the city’s finances. Of course, the city wouldn’t reach that cliff until the year 2020, long after Rybak’s twelve year term as mayor ended. But his legacy and the financial health of the city were in jeopardy, not to mention a run for higher office.

The first fiscal cliff was a challenge faced by almost every major city run by Democrats – huge unfunded liabilities in their pension plans. This happens to cities when the mayor and city council buy votes and support from the public employee unions over the years by granting them overly generous pension benefits.

But Minneapolis also had two other problems threatening the city’s finances and forcing huge property tax increases on homeowners and businesses.

The first was the Minneapolis Convention Center which relies on a $12 million annual subsidy from the city. It was originally funded with a half-cent dedicated sales tax that was set to expire in 2020. In 2011, realizing that revenue from the sales tax was going down and costs were going up, the future was bleak for the Minneapolis Convention Center.

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Letter on Special Session from Torrey Westrom

Dear Friends,

Last week, Minnesota legislative leaders agreed to hold a Special Session on Monday, September 9 to address disaster relief in eighteen counties that were hit by a series of severe storms, high winds and flooding between June 20 and 26. Counties covered by the declaration, eight of which are in the district I represent, are Big Stone, Wilkin, Grant, Douglas, Pope, Stevens, Stearns, Traverse, Benton, Faribault, Fillmore, Freeborn, Hennepin, Houston, McLeod, Morrison, Sibley, and Swift.

We have a rich tradition of supporting Minnesota communities and nothing should stand in the way of Minnesotans receiving the support they need when extraordinary disasters hit. I have reached out to my counties for feedback and have learned that one county experienced $30,000 worth of damages, another over $75,000 of damage, and another over $125,000. Even though some requests are not huge dollar amounts, thankfully, the state is interested in stepping up to help our local units of government rebuild specific areas of damage for their community.

The total damage estimate for Minnesota from these storms is $17,880,840. President Barack Obama signed a federal disaster declaration that paves the way for federal aid for recovery and rebuilding efforts. However, it must be partly matched by a $4.5 million state contribution which requires legislative authorization. These funds will be available to local governments for their emergency work including repair or replacement of facilities damaged in the storms, debris removal, protective measures, and repair of roads, bridges and water control facilities. Funds will be limited to public and utility infrastructure and no individual assistance, which is usually covered by private insurance, has been requested or authorized.

During the course of discussions on what would also be included in the Special Session, Republican leaders suggested repealing three newly-created taxes; the equipment repair tax, telecommunications equipment tax and warehousing tax. During negotiations, Democrat leaders and the Governor would not agree to consider these three new widely unpopular taxes to be a part of the Special Session. They have refused to compromise and stood in the way of doing what is right for hardworking families and taxpayers. Republicans opposed the push for these new taxes by DFL legislators last May by telling them these taxes are unpopular, harmful to businesses and will negatively affect all Minnesotans who consume products. Unfortunately, we will all have to wait until the 2014 Legislative Session to have another Republican push to repeal these new DFL led taxes on farmers, small businesses and Minnesotans who consume food – which is all of us!

I encourage and appreciate citizen input. I can be reached by telephone at (651) 296-3826 or (855) 407-7386, by e-mail at sen.torrey.westrom@senate.mn, or via mail at 107 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155.

Warm regards,

Senator Torrey Westrom
District 12
107 State Office Building
St. Paul, MN 55155
(651) 296-3826
(855) 407-7386

Quick Links

Short article on the history of women in the GOP from the National Federation of Republican Women.

This Week in Pictures from the MNGOP.

Five things to Love about Minnesota.

Dayton’s Shell Game Sends Mixed Signals On Middle Class Taxes:

Governor Mark Dayton has been very clear on where he stands with raising taxes on businesses and “the rich” – yes you.

It’s much harder to figure out where Governor Dayton and the Democrats are coming from on the issue of taxes and the middle class.

They held a press conference this week touting new projections that property taxes would actually decrease in 2014. Keep your eye on those projections, by the way – they come from the same agency that predicted e-pull tabs would finance the new Vikings stadium.

So the Governor says low property taxes are a good thing for hard-working Minnesotans. We agree. But he had to raise over $2 billion in new taxes and fees, much of them on the middle class and even poor Minnesotans, to pay for lots of things including his supposed $121 million property tax reduction.

So which is it? Are higher taxes good or bad for the middle class?

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Remove the F from DFL: Democrats too often using farmers as political pawns:

Democrats in Washington are using Minnesota farmers as pawns for big government welfare programs. At first, Democrats supported a new farm bill, but when they didn’t get their welfare programs customized to their liking they voted against the farm bill. Why can’t they split the two issues into two separate bills?

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Gov. Dayton Finds Solutions To Problems He Created.