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Minnesota Republicans fly in to denounce DFL spending

Moments after Duluth Mayor Don Ness and members of Duluth’s legislative delegation held a news conference to sing the praises of the recently ended session in St. Paul, a contingent of Republican lawmakers landed at Duluth International Airport, where they painted a far different picture.

House Minority Leader Rep. Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, said: “For the first time in 22 years, Democrats control all of state government, and really I think we’re starting to see that the policies that Democrats have put in place have not really served Minnesota’s economy well and haven’t served Minnesota families very well.”

Daudt said Democrats approved a $4.5 billion increase in spending, the largest in state history, “at a time when Minnesota families really aren’t seeing the benefits of an economic recovery in their own family budgets. Right now, 53 percent of Minnesotans are underemployed, meaning that they’re working at a lower skill level or a lower pay rate than what they’re accustomed to.”

He also noted that the average income for a Minnesota family is down about $6,000 since 2000.

“Really, we feel the Democrats’ priorities in St. Paul have been misplaced. When we ask, ‘What was all that money needed for and what did they spend it on?’ It was for pay raises for themselves, for the governor, for commissioners and a brand new $90 million Senate office building,” Daudt said.

Senate Minority Leader David Hann, R-Eden Prairie, also voiced his dissatisfaction, saying: “We just ended two years now of complete DFL control of Minnesota government. We saw a lot of taxing and a lot of spending but we’re really concerned about the priorities they’ve set.”

Hann said the latest session was remarkable for its inaction on at least one front.

“One of the things that has been a glaring omission from the work of the Legislature this year was virtually nothing was done on health care,” he said.

“We spent last year debating and finally enacting MNsure, the Obamacare version of what Minnesota has done, and what we know is we’ve spent $160 million in taxpayer dollars. We’ve caused 240,000 Minnesotans to lose their health insurance and have to go search for a new policy, perhaps even new doctors. It has been a broken promise by Gov. Mark Dayton and President Obama. And as of yet, we still don’t know of any uninsured person who today has insurance who didn’t have it before.”

Hann suggested Minnesotans take a hard look at the Legislature.

“Just having good intentions and spending a lot of money isn’t enough. So we’re really excited about the fact that we have an election coming up this fall, and we have a chance to elect a Republican majority in the House, a Republican governor and begin to restore some balance in the state, to restore some trust to the people of Minnesota,” he said.

Besides calling on Duluth, Republican legislative leaders delivered a similar message Monday in St. Paul and four other cities across the state via a series of fly-in news conferences.