Is Minnesota on the right track?

Gov. Mark Dayton. David Samson / The Fargo Forum
  1. Listen Political reporters preview Dayton’s State of the State

    April 9, 2015

Governor Mark Dayton will give his State of the State address tonight and he will join MPR News with Kerri Miller Friday morning at 9 a.m. to respond to your comments and questions posted in the comments below.

Tonight is Dayton’s fifth State of the State address. MPR News will carry it live at 7 p.m. Dayton is expected to address transportation issues, school funding and the state’s budget surplus.

“Freed from the political pressures of a next election, Gov. Mark Dayton says he’s ready to battle it out on issues he views as crucial to Minnesota’s future,” writes MPR News political reporter.

Today’s Question: Is Minnesota on the right track?

  • James

    Yes. With a couple of exceptions. (1) Our winters are getting worse again after years of getting better. (2) Our government spending is spinning out of control again at all levels. There is a fine line between dumps like Tennessee (no taxes, no infrastructure, lousy schools, etc.) and Sweden. Pawlenty was moving us too close to Tennessee. Dayton (and many city mayors) are moving us too close to Sweden. It matters. While working families aren’t very mobile, well-to-do retirees and empty nesters are, and they can and will take their taxable incomes elsewhere. It would be nice to solve everyone’s problems…but we actually can’t without killing the golden goose.

    • Dave M

      “Our government spending is spinning out of control again at all levels”

      Name something you would cut.

      • Ulysses Tennyson

        Sounds like James is thinking of retiring to Tennessee. Good luck with that James. Watch out for the sinkholes and the water moccasins. Fine line between Sweden and Tennessee? Nope. It’s a continuum if it’s anything. Utopia is nowhere by definition and historical contingency always rules. So, yeah these ” spending spinning” cliches never seem to include a recipe for specific cuts, and as Krugman says, we are now an insurance company with an army. So do we cut Granny’s pension or GI Joe’s?

        • Ulysses Tennyson

          And as for MNs current dilemma: Guess what? The economy is unpredictable. If you have a surplus, save it or invest it wisely. And don’t throw the poor under the Green Line with one hand while you make a pious donation to the rich with the other.

  • PaulJ

    People can endlessly be distracted by rearranging the deck chairs, but [global poverty] stole the handle and, The train it won’t stop going, No way to slow down.

  • Stars and Stripes 2016

    Yes, And as long as my tax dollars are going to the United Staes military I want the rest of my taxes to go to Housing, Welfare Jobs College Nursing Homes Roads Bridges, any thing but the Military! So kiss my boots Republicans,,,I pay taxes. I do not have kids or even have a car or house. My house hold is doing fine living with in hour means. So go ahead cry all ya want I am changing the future. So I ask Governor Dayton and future Governors….I am only 38 and I know you need my support. Start making welfare, jobs, daycare education and so on for every Human Being. It is now 2015 not the 80’s or the 90’s…let all Human beings are trying to survive. Stop living in fear. The depression is over. Vietnam is over. Ronald Reagan is Dead…You get the pictures now kids.move over the next generation is coming and We will live!!!

  • Matthew Care of Chaska

    Dear Governor,
    Your administration added $2 billion extra in taxes that was not used successfully on long term projects. Transportation budget seems unable to keep our roads functional in many areas yet, you want to raise more taxes on fuel? Why not remove the dog parks and bike paths and spend it on roads.?
    Why not stop the insane nonproductive and always bankrupt light rail.? Over one week, I saw these trains with less than 20% occupancy. Our light rail is like Amtrak…it can’t support itself. Their routes remain as over cost and nonproductive but the gov. run system won’t fix it.
    HOW much is spent on illegals receiving welfare, filling the jails and eating up our school budgets? As a teacher I see the situation getting worse every year. If Progressives feel so strong on ” income disparity: then why don’t they, themselves donate 90% of their high income to welfare?

  • KTN

    Sure. Low unemployment, a budget surplus (which will be decimated by the Republicans in their zeal to pander to their constituents), but, with strong leadership by Dayton, the state will continue to move in the positive direction even with the attempts by the right to derail all the good.

  • USAF_Vet_MN

    When Governor Dayton took office the republicans were playing a shell game with the budget, trying to erase a $5B deficit with smoke and mirrors. They robbed the schools, cut essential programs for our most vulnerable citizens, and raised every rural resident’s property taxes with draconian LGA cuts and the elimination of the Homestead Tax Credit. Republican legislators spent more time trying to disenfranchise voters and legislating peoples’ love lives than they did trying to keep the state from following WI down the crapper.
    Now a little over 4 years later we have schools that are fully funded, a budget surplus, restored funding for LGA and the Homestead Tax Credit, and investments in higher education. Our state has one of the top economies in the country, one of the lowest unemployment rates, and is a top 10 state for business, according to Forbes.
    That doesn’t mean there isn’t still a lot to do: Our colleges are still too expensive, our infrastructure is crumbling after years of GOP neglect and our environment is suffering. But the governor has a plan for that, and based on his track record so far it is a plan that lawmakers should get behind.
    Sadly, thanks to shortsighted voters and lots of out-of-state money, we have a GOP majority in the house who stubbornly clings to failed ideology, gets their information from the Fox propaganda machine, and takes their orders from big money. Which means the governor has an uphill battle to try to keep MN on the right track.

  • Gordon near Two Harbors

    Minnesota is thriving–plus we have the best healthcare and schools in the country. Add to that our longest life expectancy in the US, and things look pretty good. Now, if we could only reform the current welfare system that attracts able-bodied folks who don’t want to work into this state, things would even get better…

  • Toni

    We need emphasis on schools and education. We have borrowed too much from schools and have lost programs that provide music, arts, phy ed and others. Our children deserve the best.

  • Ulysses Tennyson

    Well, I’m feeling better since the Republicans exploded in a hail of red ink, adipose tissue, and pieces of an old chicken suit some years ago but the two percent have brought them back, as they will every off-year election if you don’t watch em and they may yet return us to the dark ages if they can. What bugs me a bit more is the behavior of this “public” Minnesota news source. Like the way they blew the Oberstar/Cravaack polling. The way they ran “auditions” for the morning talk slot and then announced that only the women interviewed had been eligible all along (I sorta liked that guy from Boston.) The way they wanted the city to lend them 9 million to buy a classical station and turn it to a pop format. Or yesterday when I tried to post my thoughts on “Wingflap” Bob Collins web log only to be rebuked angrily and rather incoherently by the Newsrooster himself, sent a couple of rude and semi-obscene emails, then summarily blocked before I could answer his overwraught obsevations. Apparently he just doesn’t like the sound of my name or just possibly what I had to say. Tried to ask this morning when he was sedately swapping posts with “noodleman” about propeller design or something similar but it was still no dice. Sooo…are my taxes still going to pay this guy’s salary or did that only happen a few years back when I was living in Massachusetts and he was just getting off the ground?

    • Ulysses Tennyson

      I’m used to that sort of thing happening to me at RT and Pravda but they usually wait a bit before lowering the ax. Unless they have an invasion or something going on and then they’re really in a hurry, like Bob.

  • Owen

    What’s with all this bragging about Minnesota’s good or great schools? We have a constant discussion about the “achievement gap.” Colleges need to teach remedial courses because high school graduates are unprepared. Arts and music are regularly cut. This week our congress people toured the dilapidated Red Lake Schools. Doesn’t sound like a great school system to me.

    • Gordon near Two Harbors

      Compared to what? Mississippi? Minnesota schools are generally top-notch, but we tend to fare worse when having to educate kids that have moved here from states where the education system–and everything else–sucks.

  • Sue de Nim

    Minnesota schools are improving but still have a long way to go in recovering from the damage done to them by Pawlenty’s budget cuts, and the damage to teacher morale that is still being done by Republican teacher-bashing rhetoric. Many years ago, I lived in another state where public school teachers were paid and esteemed rather poorly. Teachers of my acquaintance there told me their chief motivation for doing their jobs well was that they might eventually get hired in a state like Minnesota (yes, they usually mentioned Minnesota by name), where they would be respected and paid well. (The fact that the weather was nicer where they were was not a significant consideration.) From what I hear, we haven’t regained that status yet. If we want good teachers, we have to be a state where good teachers will want to teach.

    • Ulysses Tennyson

      Hear, hear. But I disagree about the weather not being “nice” here. After 11 winters the polar vortex wrought a transformation in me so that bright subzero days became my new norm and I found myself unexpectedly looking forward to them. And of course Minnesota teachers are “nice” and I am always sorry to see them used as political punching bags by those who should know better. Have an apple on me.

  • Rev. Al

    Teachers are so underpaid? Lets look at the facts. Average Minneapolis teacher salary with just a simple low tech bachelors degree and 5 years experience is about $45,000 with another 7-9k $ in benefits. They are at their building less than a 183 days per year’s contract. They have less than 174 actual student teaching days in a year, not to mention most of their paid days off beyond sick pay is sitting or missing marginal in-service days.where they are supposedly taught_ to learn how to teach better. Really? Isn’t that what their teaching degree was supposed to accomplish? Most teachers actually make over $30-4and at least 40.00 an hour, with a master’s degree. In comparison, a bachelors degree Mechanical Engineer working at Honda’s Research and Design group is salaried at $58,000 for 2,000 hours a year and with 2-3 years experience..That’s $29.00/hr. If the engineer doesn’t perform well every year, he is fired. A teacher who doesn’t show positive student results keeps her job.
    Now the schools all have PLD, professional learning development incentive where they earn another $1500.00 for attending a once a month, hour long group discussion on how to teach.
    The country has had 6 years of progressive ideology, scandals and minimal to zero economic recovery. Just look at the unemployment rate of blacks at 23% or that half of americans are receiving some form of welfare. How do some rural schools and some charter schools do well on only $9,000.00 a student per year but St Paul takes $20,000 a student and has a dismal result? Republicans don’t bash teachers, and that most are female, why do 70% support the Democrat party, the same party that is always quiet on radical islam and their countries like Saudi and Yemen and Libya and Syria where women that are raped are lashed or stoned, where homosexuals are killed and Christians are beat. Our democrat elected are hypocrits and do little. Where was Franken and Klobuchar to speak up for our Marine who is still imprisoned in Iran after 3 years?. Yup_ silent because Obama doesn’t want to do his job…but he can release terrorists from Gitmo to push his narrative. Gov Dayton is all talk and just another water carrier for Obama’s policies..can anyone show us where he isn’t! Nope. Tax every one more and accomplish squat.

    • Yanotha Twangai

      A comment written by someone who clearly would have benefited from better teaching….. or else wasn’t paying attention in high school English.

      • Luca

        While you’re capable of pointing out some grammatical errors, you don’t have any dispute to the rest of his comment – the actual content of his ideas? I have a hard time disputing his math on the teachers’ salaries.

        • Yanotha Twangai

          It’s not just the grammar and spelling. The argument is so disjointed it’s hard to follow, and it’s clear that the writer has trouble distinguishing opinion from fact. I have more important things to do than rebut such obvious drivel point by point.

        • Ulysses Tennyson

          Nobody gets paid enough to put up with all the mean-spirited abuse teachers put up with, not from the students but from know-it-alls who think there is a simple solution for every societal problem. And that solution is usually some variant of Social Darwinism. Let’s see where the Rev sources his figures on how much Minnesota teachers (and Bachelored Honda execs, with some details about how salaries compare with a Bachelored teacher after 10, 20, or 30 years) are paid per hour and then we can talk about the math.

    • Ulysses Tennyson

      Think this is a pretty good example of what Sue de Nim was referring to when she mentioned “teacher-bashing rhetoric.” And let’s remember these are the dedicated professionals who are blamed by people like the good Rev for not solving ALL of society’s problems in the classroom. Teachers have a damned hard job to do-harder than it’s ever been- but every uninformed lout thinks he can just lob spitballs and horse droppings from the sidelines and pretend he’s contributing something new and thoughtful to the discussion. Of course he’d never last a day in front of a classroom himself. Think it’s cushy, Al? Why don’t you try showing everybody what you can do? And not at “some” cherry-picked “charter” or “rural” school that according to you does so well with so little (until it collapses because of mismanagement or because the whole rural town goes on Social Security or just blows away), not a school that siphons off the most committed students, but at a REAL school that takes on the responsibility of educating ALL the children, no matter where they come from and no matter how limited their choices, impoverished their background, and limited their grasp of the English. I’m sure it would be an education. For you. And it sure sounds like you need it it. Because if you think six years of moderate Democratic (it’s an adjective, dunce) leadership which has rescued an economy driven into a ditch by an unqualified undereducated cowboy Crusader while being constantly undermined by a hysterical and disloyal opposition constitutes a period of “progressive ideology” than Rev. Al, you don’t know SQUAT.

    • Gordon near Two Harbors

      Using your logic, it probably makes sense to distribute the vast numbers of non-English speaking immigrants into rural America where it would be cheaper to educate them.

  • Mary Right

    Dayton is again on the wrong track unless adding more taxes and favoring his big business campaign supporters is the goal. He supported Obama care and just look at the cost and waste MN incurred over its plan. For all Americans we will see $800 billion increase from 2013-2022.
    WAIT UNTIL THE TEACHERS SEE THEIR INS. PLANS DOUBLE again..most have this past year already. The only logical answer is to have insurance plans available across all states_ free market and no more stupid demands for men’s plans to include maternity care or birth control coverage. We don’t need it.

    • Ulysses Tennyson

      Dayton’s “big business campaign supporters”? Vote Smart didn’t list any. By all means, Mary, share your information about who these people are. Please be specific.