Monday, January 28, 2013

MN Education Spending Increase

In G2A less than $40 Million, we were discussing the proposed budget in general.  Here I would like to discuss the proposed Education funding plans in specific.

I think the early education and full day kindergarten portions make sense, though some of the other expenditures seem questionable at best.  What do you think?

MPR Gov Education Plan
Parents United: Gov's Budget Proposal
Budget for Better MN
MN Budget Proposal Presentation
Education MN Gov Budget
Dooher's Comments
MN School Board Assoc
MN SUN Budget Details

Here is a snippet I cut out the MN SUN article:
"The governor touched on the education monies used in a shift to balance a previous budget and said will be paid back under a four-year plan. The plan is to pay back $1.6 billion this biennium, leaving $1.1 billion to be repaid.

More than $640 million (including higher education) is invested in Minnesota students by the following budget appropriations:
  • $118 million in new school funding, including $52 in new money for every student
  •  $125 million investment in special education funding, providing more equity for schools
  • $92 million in early learning, including $44 million in Early Childhood Scholarships for 11,000 young children and other help for families to afford high quality child care
  • $40 million for optional All-Day Kindergarten, providing access for 46,000 kids
  • $80 million for the Minnesota State Grant program, the largest increase in 25 years
  • $80 million for MnSCU (Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System) and $80 million for the University of Minnesota
  • $10 million for teacher evaluation to support teachers, improve student achievement
  • $8.9 million for English Language Learning to help students communicate proficiently
  • $4.5 million for Regional Centers of Excellence to help the most struggling schools
  • $1 million for school bullying prevention, creating safer learning environments
  • $1 million for emergency preparedness for schools, law enforcement and community"

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

MN Budget Plan <$40 million

Well on the upside it looks like Dayton's budget proposal is lower than it could have been, though higher than the initial plan. (Spend/Budget)  I am interested in seeing how this progresses going forward.  I do agree with Gov. Dayton that both the Liberals and Conservatives will be throwing stones.

Who wants to cast the first stone?

FYI...  It looks like this is an 11% increase.  I need a raise like that!!!

MPP Dayton Stabilize Budget
MPP Assessment of Proposal
MPR Budget Proposal / Links
MN Gov Site Budget
Dayton's News Conference Video

Friday, January 18, 2013

No Budget No Pay Plan Rocks

I think the GOP may have something here.  The idea that law makers should not get paid until they actually pass a real bonafide budget sounds great !!!

It is hard to understand how the Democrat led Senate has been able to legally avoid doing something that every business and most households do every year.  I suppose it would be embarassing if the Senate was unwilling to approve the Democratic President's budget...  Maybe it was better for them to not vote and show how they disagree with him in public.

The upside is that I think this plan will resonate with citizen's who are very fed up with ineffectual politicians who seem to be unwilling to make the hard choices to balance the expenditures and revenues, and start paying down the national debt.


It should be: NO BALANCED BUDGET !!!  NO PAY !!! however it is a good first step if it can be passed.  I wonder if Obama will sign it if his pay is also at risk?


FOX News GOP Plan
Wiki Budget Process
Wiki USA Budget

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Guns, Guns, Guns

I went looking for news on how negotiations are progressing with regard to the "Debt Ceiling" and "Spending Cuts".  And guess what...  All I find is this pointless gun control discussion !!!

Now I am not saying that it is not an important topic, but good God it is like straightening the deck chairs on the Titanic after it hit the iceberg.  What's the point of "controlling guns" if the country is in financial turmoil???  And what's the hurry, millions and millions of guns are already in the hands of people who may be insane, what's the hurry to change the laws. 

Let's get or keep these potential maniacs happy and employed so they are less angry and depressed. (ie guns don't kill people, people kill people...)  Tabling this discussion for 2 months while we solve the urgent fiscal issues will make NO measureable difference. 

It seems we need to spend a bit more time in quadrant 1 and then start working in quadrant 2 after this latest financial crisis is over.  Wiki First Things First by Covey

Or is this an intentional political move by Obama to distract us from his ineptness at getting a deal made on the budget and debt ceiling?

Seems like it to me.  Thoughts?

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Here Come the Taxes MN

We know the reality that more taxes naturally come with the DFL being in charge.  Now the question is who will be paying them.  The rich for sure, but it seems like all of us will end up paying a bit more. (ie clothing, on line purchases, sin taxes, etc)

Then there is the talk of them wanting to institute spending cuts.  I find this hard to believe and have seen no examples of what they intend.

I commented on both of the MPP links, asked some questions and received no useful answers.  Maybe one of my readers can help me understand how increasing the MN budget by 20+ percent going to help us middle class folk?  And how we are going to tax wealth baby boomers who retire and set up their second home (ie residence) in a low tax state down South, because MN's taxes are just too high?

Thoughts on these questions and the situation in general?

Politics in MN: 4 Potential Tax Hikes
MPP Good Politics
MPP Budget Gimmicks
Uptake DFL News Conf Video

G2A MN Budget Baseline
MN Budget History
US Spending - MN
The Uptake Tax the Rich
MPR Gov Addresses Chamber of Commerce Fears
MPR Spending Cuts and Tax Increases

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

ACA is Raising Healthcare Costs

Now I guess I am not surprised that the Affordable Healthcare Act is starting to increase the healthcare costs for most citizens.  Here are some reasons why I thought it was inevitable:
  • It mandated additional coverage.
  • It increased regulations and complexity.
  • It taxed the medical device industry. (ie increased costs)
  • It covers people that are not paying.
  • It covers people with pre-existing conditions. (high risk/cost)
  • It reduced the Medical FSA max from $5,000 to $2,500.
And all of this has to be paid for by those that are paying their full healthcare insurance premiums or their Federal income taxes.  I do find it amusing though that some folks thought they were going to get all of these "benefits" for free.  Thoughts?

By the way, I don't disagree with better coverage for the truly unfortunate and the unlucky (ie those with chronic pre-existing conditions).  But to think that it would be less expensive ("affordable") was incredibly naive.

One more thought, many of these Insurance companies are non-profit entities.  So I always find it funny when folks say they are trying to increase their profits...  And the public for profits have to report their earnings, so it will be pretty easy to see any gouging.

ABC Rising Costs
Sun Sentinel Rising Costs
New York Times Rising Costs
Hot Air Raising Costs
G2A American Healthcare Cost Drivers

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Balanced Approach?

Poor naive me...  I was watching a Sunday Morning news program thinking that the Democrats had gotten their tax increases, so the debt ceiling negotiations would focus on cost reduction.  And BAMMMM, the Democratic Senator starts the rhetoric again about all changes going forward have to be fair and balanced.  Meaning that now they want to go after "loopholes" and other revenue increasing measures.

I really have to wonder what they see as "People Paying Their Fair Share"?

Maybe they would be happy with a 100% tax rate for incomes over $1,000,000?  I suppose they would rationalize that no one needs more than that to live on ???  They would follow up with, I mean look at France.

What do you think Liberals / Democrats would see as "People Paying Their Fair Share"?

Politico Dems done hiking taxes?
FOX News Fiscal Talks
G2A Political Continuum
Forbes France Tax Disasterous

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Long Live the Bush Policies?

I thought this commentary was pretty interesting and on point.  It does seem that the Liberals that fought the Bush tax cuts tooth and nail have capitulated and become their most ardent supporters.

Even if it means that the Federal government's spending will need to be squeezed down to live within the lower revenues.  I mean taxing the $400K+ crowd (1%)  at higher rates doesn't do much compared to taxing all of us (99%) at higher rates.

The upcoming spending cuts and national debt ceiling discussions are certain to be very lively.  Especially as the Democrats wrestle with how to "feed the beast" on a constrained budget.

CNN America Lives in Shadow of George W. Bush

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Competition and Free Thought

Numbers Guy sent me the following link.  It discusses how low levels of competition in the USA Education system is damaging our country, it's people and our prospects.

I haven't finished reading it yet, but I will be when I get a moment.

What are your thoughts?
The Freeman: Competition and Free Thought

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Fiscal Cliff Resolution?

First...  Happy New Year !!!!

Well it seems the deal will pass and the GOP will get to vote for tax cuts, instead of tax increases.  And the Democrats will get their tax increases with a delay in spending cuts.  So is this a happy ending or a disaster continuing?  Thoughts?

Of course the upside is that we bloggers get to watch and discuss the debt limit and spending cut chaos that will be going on for a few more months...  I would prefer to be discussing something else, but content is content...

What do you think will happen next if they get this through on Wednesday?

Will the stock market react?  Up or down?

CNN Senate Passes...
FOX News Senate Passes...
Senate Bill PDF