I’m reviewing Governor Dayton’s first “State of the State” address.
Failure To Meet Me Halfway Is Like The Taliban Attacking Us, Or Something: Dayton kicked off with an invocation of 9/11 , and Bush’s invocation that “we are all united, and the nation has never been stronger”.
Curiously, he jumped from there to scolding the assembled Republicans; “The challenges we face threaten to overwhelm us”. He scolded us on even thinking about shutting down government, demanding a pledge not to shut down the state government. As if keeping government going at all costs is the sole goal. “It should not happen, and it need not happen”, as long as we “compromise our wills for the common good”. And if we do so, we can tell the people “we succeeded”. “If we succeed, the people will win. If we fail, they will lose. It’s that simple”.
Tax Cuts Equal Stagnation: Dayton noted that Minnesota’s per-capita income dropped, after the Ventura and Pawlenty tax cuts. (Pay no attention the 2001 and 2008 recessions – or the fact that Minnesota started high up the list, and remains there. Thanks, Governor Pawlenty!)
Give The Teachers Union What They Want, Or The Kids Get It!: Dayton next turned to the need to “invest” in education, bemoaning the cutbacks in Lakeville and the ten districts that have had to put children to work in the coal mines. Er, wait – have had to cut back to four day weeks. My bad.
He then went on to introduce the Teacher of the Year, and about 2/3 of Minnesota’s Superintendents, who seemed to be gathered in the gallery. Interesting to note that the Teacher of the Year teaches at Maxfield, a school that has flunked its “No Child Left Behind” numbers for recent memory.
He then reiterated his promise to “increase K12 every year, no excuses, no exceptions”.
The Dayton Jobs Program: At this point in the speech, it seems to largely involve schools; all-day kindergarten, early childhood education, and more. He indulges in his regional snobbery – “how can Alabama have all day kindergarten, and we don’t?” Should that be telling us something?
“Don’t You Dare Criticize My Owners!”: “For too long, teachers have been battered by criticisms of their service”. Battered? By your leave, your highness, may I, a mere taxpayer, speak?
Job Program Redux: “We are falling behind in every key measure…” of transit construction.
“Roads and public transit are to the state what arteries are to the body”. Naturally, we should spend 40% of our medical bill on expensive but low-capacity “arteries”…
Dayton is proposing bringing together more blue-chip panels of “experts” to come up with the real answer to fixing infrastructure.
Kissing Babies, Recognizing Soldiers: The ovations – apparently bipartisan – for SSGT Wenzel, his PFC son, and Red Bulls commander Col. Krska (sp?), and Police Officer of the Year Adam Bailey were by far the longest of the day.
I can go along with that.
MPR’s Mike Mulcahy: “the governor is certainly taking advantage of his prerogative to invite guests; he has about a dozen in the gallery”.
And…huh?: Next came a screeching turn from defense and law enforcement to…health care?
Dayton asks rhetorical question: “the most daunting challege: how do we improve services without spending more?” He wants to “provide the best private sector practices with public sector expertise” to make Minnesota the best in the world. That should be interesting. “It’ll succeed best if we cooperate with our state employees…treating them with the dignity and respect they deserve will be essential to our success”. I read that as “hands off all government employment, bennies and pensions”.
And Now, More Job Program Talk!: “We need business to create more jobs…partner with education and government”. “We are determined to streamlining permitting…while protecting the environment”. Unfortunately, he notes, he was MPCA Commissioner Aussen on the case. I call it a potemkin effort.
We Need To Spend Money To Save Money: Dayton plugged his billion dollar bonding bill. “A key factor in holding back recovery is the lack of construction jobs”. In other words, let’s get those Teamsters paying their dues again!
We Want Business To Feel Appreciated: He notes that he’s asked the Depts of Ag, Tourism and, I dunno, Happy Thoughts to reach out to business. I have a hunch it’ll be Dept. of Revenue that’ll be doing the reaching out…
“I stand ready to go anyplace in the state, nation or world…” to bring jobs to MN.
Want to emulate “Lean” business practices.
The Chase: Dayton asks for “forbearance” from business, while he deals with the financial crisis, “which we inherited” from President Bush Governor Pawlenty. He basically apologizes in advance for the budget he’s going to be submitted next week.
Because God Wants You To: Dayton cites bible verse, “to whom much has been given, much will be expected”, in leading up to his “tax the rich” proposal. Mulcahy points out for the tenth time “more DFLes than Republicans” applauding…
And In Closing: “We were lefty a horrendous fiscal mess, a declining economy, and badly-managed state agencies”. But if we do things his way, “we’ll retain our former greatness”.
Good thing that DFL legislature did such a spectacular job from 2009-2010!
Let’s Condense The Speech: “I‘m going to raise taxes, and keep spending just like the times are good. If you disagree, you are spitting on Tim Burnett’s grave. We inherited the problem, so don’t blame me; just pony up“.
Response: Tim Pugmire interviewed Amy Koch afterward. “When the governor called for tax increases, the response was nonexistent on the GOP side, and “tepid” even on the DFL side. I think that tells us something about the reception he’ll get”.
Speaker Zellers: “The governor is looking backward for his solutions…from California to New York, governors are not raising taxes. We need to adopt this in Minnesota, and not keep going back to get more from society”.
Pugmire talking with Paul Thissen: “I thought it was hopeful – that we can turn this state around again”. Wow – we’re in the top of this nation on most rational measures; how much better do we need to be?
“I think the majority is pushing through some extreme bills that are not where Minnesotans are”. The polls on November 2 might suggest differently, Rep. Thissen.
Times the word “Bipartisanship” (or similar) used: 5
Times the word “Compromise” (or similar) used: 3
Times the phrase “A Better Minnesota” – the PAC that his family, ex-wife and union masters – used: 6
Times the word “Invest”/”Investment” used: 12
Gary Gross liveblogged the SOTS here.