August 10, 2010 is Primary Day in Minnesota and, although it is a mid-term election year, it’s an extremely important year to vote. With two Democrats challenging the DFL-endorsed candidate for governor and the tea party doing its best to infiltrate the GOP, some voters are still looking for clarification.
Running for governor on the Democratic side are Speaker of the House Margaret Anderson-Kelliher (with John Gunyou), former Sen. Mark Dayton (with Duluth Sen. Yvonne Prettner Solon), and former Rep. Matt Entenza (with Robyne Robinson). The two Independence Party candidates are Tom Horner (with Jim Mulder) and Rob Hahn. Tea party favorite, Tom Emmer (with Annette Meeks), is running as a Republican. Following are brief notes about these candidates and their positions on Education, Jobs, and Minnesota’s Budget Deficit, along with links to their respective websites. To find a sample ballot for races in your voting district, see eVoter.
Anderson-Kelliher is the only Democrat carrying the official DFL endorsement. Additionally, she has earned a slew of other endorsements from organizations such as Minnesota Association of Professional Employees, Greater Minnesota Council, IBEW, Emily’s List, MN Nurses Association, UAW, Education Minnesota, Minnesota StarTribune and more. Elected to the MN House of Representatives in 1998, she transitioned to Speaker of the House in 2006.
Education: She favors reforming No Child Left Behind over opting completely out of it and is a champion of the New Minnesota Miracle. This plan increases funding for education in MN by $1.7 B, which can be phased in over a six-year period while reducing property taxes at the same time. It would fully fund voluntary all-day kindergarten and state special education costs (by removing caps), and provides flexibility for districts to fund early childhood education.
Jobs: Margaret has set forth a detailed plan to create jobs in the state with an emphasis on growing businesses, investing in Minnesotans, taking a new approach toward growth opportunities, and positioning Minnesota for the future. Under her leadership, the legislature passed a sweeping energy policy bill that focused on energy efficiency and conservation, climate mitigation and community-based energy development. Read more about where she stands at margaretforgovernor.
Budget Deficit: Margaret’s plan to solve the budget deficit includes increasing revenue (couples making over $250,000 would be taxed at a more fair rate, loopholes such as offshore havens would be closed) and decreasing expenditures (by reducing $1 B in tax expenditures and making priority-based cuts).
Dayton has worked in public service for some 34 years including terms as Commissioner of Minnesota Departments of Economic Development, and Energy and Economic Development; State Auditor; and U.S. Senator. A tough fighter, he was the only Minnesotan to end up on then-President Nixon’s “Enemies List” and was one of only 23 senators including Paul Wellstone to vote against the Iraq War Resolution in 2002. Dayton has received endorsements from the Mesabi Daily News, the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association, AFSCME, United Steel Workers and others.
Education: Having worked as a teacher at a New York City public school, Dayton recognizes the injustice of disparate educational opportunities within and across the state due to a lack of funding. Therefore, he favors increasing state funding for education on a yearly basis. He favors the reform of No Child Left Behind, full state funding of all-day kindergarten, increasing teachers’ salaries, and cutting back on tuition increases at state colleges and universities (read more here).
Jobs: As Commissioner, Dayton helped design and implement the MN Economic Development Authority, the Minnesota Fund, the legislature’s “Enterprise Zones,” and the Star City program, all of which helped to bring jobs, good wages and benefits to unemployed workers. His comprehensive jobs plan starts with a 2011 Jobs Now program, Energy Savings Fund, federally-backed highway construction bonds, and the establishment of a micro-lending funding that guarantees access to capital and ignite small business expansion (read more here).
Budget Deficit: Dayton’s plan involves increasing tax revenue and reducing spending. He maintains that increasing taxes on the wealthiest Minnesotans would resolve most of the budget deficit in coming years. (Couples making over $150,000 and filing jointly would see a slight increase; couples making over $500,000 would pay more; and there would be an increase in the number of tax brackets.) Other tax policy changes include cracking down on cheating/fraud and eliminating loopholes such as the “Snowbird” rule, which allows Minnesotans who claim they live outside the state for at least six months and one day to forego their state tax obligations. His plan to resolve the budget deficit also includes a reduction in spending (read more here).
Entenza served in MN House of Representatives for 12 years, including three as Minority Leader. He has repeatedly supported increasing the minimum wage and improving unemployment benefits; received 100% favorable ratings from the Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters/Conservation Minnesota during his time in the legislature; and was a chief author of Minnesota’s “Do Not Call” law. Since 2007, Entenza has been running Minnesota 2020, a progressive, nonpartisan think tank committed to advancing public policy debate. Entenza’s latest endorsements come from the National Organization of Women – MN and InsightNews.
Education: Entenza is the only Democratic candidate who favors a complete opt-out of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) rather than a reform of the program. Although this could result in a loss of $500 million in federal funds to the state, Entenza has said it would be an ultimate wash once the state’s educational system was being run without the mandates connected to NCLB. Read more about his education plan here.
Jobs: Entenza’s jobs plan incorporates new green energy policy and opportunities that would leverage clean energy sources that never run out; reinvests energy dollars in the state; and turns government into a catalyst for private sector growth through innovations including reform of the Public Utilities Commission and the Met Council.
Budget Deficit: Entenza has proposed a three-pronged approach to solving the budget deficit: raising revenue (including implementing a tax on online purchases and returning tax rates for couples earning over $250,00 to their 1998 levels), reducing spending and increasing efficiency, and deferring state spending.
Horner is a former Republican who worked for former Sen. Dave Durenberger from 1978 to 1985. In 1989 he launched the public affairs firm Himle Horner Inc. with former State Rep. John Himle. He says, “we can’t keep asking schools to do more with less. But that doesn’t mean that education deserves a blank check.” Further, that “we should pay good teachers salaries that compete with jobs in private business…[but] any amount of money is too much for a bad teacher.” His revitalization plan for the state includes boosting funds for applied research by $17 million, and delivering internet to the state through bonding. The proposal would reduce revenue in the short-term but Horner argues the benefits of the plan would show up in future state revenue forecasts.
Hahn is the founder and president of Hahn Publications which publishes The Midwest Wine Connection and Minnesota Prep Sports. Hahn’s education plan purports to cut college tuition costs as well as corporate income taxes. Participating students would earn tuition credits by working for participating businesses in their field of study. Participating businesses would receive a reduction in, or elimination of, their corporate taxes. In order to balance the budget, Hahn would create a new 9% tax bracket for couples making over $250,000, while cutting the capital gains tax in half. He would cut corporate taxes in half and eliminate them for businesses investing 2.5% of their profits in his college tuition plan. He proposes increasing revenue through riverboat gambling, the new 9% tax bracket, and a 3-5% tax on fast food restaurants. He would also eliminate loopholes such as tax havens in other countries, the Foreign Royalty exclusion, and special tax treatment for Foreign Operating Corporations.
Emmer is a private-practice attorney who has served in the MN House of Representatives since 2004. His endorsements come mostly from like-minded colleagues (e.g., Reps. Steve Drazkowski and Mary Kiffmeyer, Lt. Gov. Carol Molnau and Sarah Palin). An ultra-conservative with ties to an organization which advocates the execution of gay people, Emmer favors the elimination of any minimum wage* requirement.
Education: Emmer writes “there must be a better way” to educate than the “well-intentioned” No Child Left Behind policy, but hasn’t set forth an action plan.
Jobs: Emmer said, “our next Governor should understand firsthand what it means to have to make payroll,” and that he wants to “help create jobs by supporting tax incentives, streamlining permitting, and reducing mandates.” He hasn’t said exactly how he would accomplish this.
Budget Deficit: Emmer appears to be planning to balance the budget by reducing tax revenue. Again, he hasn’t set out a specific plan or proposal.
It is, perhaps, telling to note that candidates running on Republican tickets all across the country are finding themselves at odds with constituents who understand the difference between tea partiers and true republicans. These candidates are still trying to appeal to both factions while simultaneously maintaining a distance from one or the other. The tightrope walk that Republican candidates [who pander to both extremists and “regular” republicans] are attempting will prove difficult at best on November 2, as the distinction between tea partiers and mainstream republicans becomes clearer and the duplicity of these candidates is further exposed. (Like Tom Emmer, Rep. Erik Paulsen, a tea partier/Republican running for re-election in Minnesota’s third district and Pat [Awada] Anderson, a tea partier on the Republican ticket for state auditor, are perfect examples of “Tea Party/Republican tightrope walkers”; more to follow.)
Information regarding perennial/other candidates can be found at Politics1, but has not been verified by The Raabe Review.
*Emmer recently told an audience at the Eagle Street Grille that because waitstaff sometimes earn “$100,000 a year ” which could be more than those who are “giving them a job,” the minimum wage is basically unfair to businesses. The $100,000 figure was discredited by waitstaff in attendance. (See Outstate Politics and YouTube video of Emmer speaking at Eagle Street Grille.)