Renewable Energy Standard for the Future

By | Economy, Energy, Environment | No Comments

In 2007, a broad coalition made up of entrepreneurs, businesses, labor, environmentalists, concerned citizens, and legislators came together to pass a Renewable Energy Standard (RES) for Minnesota.  That historic legislation required 25% of our electricity come from renewables such as wind, solar, and biomass resources.  The bill passed the Minnesota House and Senate with only 13 of 201 legislators voting against it.  Governor Pawlenty signed the bill into law and Minnesota became a national clean energy leader.

The current Renewable Energy Standard has been a huge success and has created thousands of clean energy jobs in our state.  Employment in clean energy sectors reached 15,300 in 2014.  Clean energy employment in Minnesota surged 78% between January 2000 and the first quarter of 2014, growing steadily through the recession.  The RES has resulted in nearly $9.4 million in wind energy production tax revenue that is paid directly to counties, primarily in Greater Minnesota and land use agreements have a generated millions of dollars of revenue for Minnesota farmers. Many utilities are already several years ahead of schedule in meeting the 2007 RES requirements.  Despite these impressive numbers, Minnesota is still heavily reliant on fossil fuels.

A few weeks ago, I introduced legislation that would increase the existing RES to 40% by 2030.  Currently, we get 15% of our energy from renewables, but we are using only 1% of our wind potential.  In addition, compliance with Minnesota’s existing RES has been affordable.  The state’s largest 3 utilities, representing 80% of Minnesota’s retail electricity sales, reported little impact on wages as a result of their renewable energy investments through 2012.  As wind and solar prices have dropped, several utilities have even reported savings in some years, particularly when natural gas prices have spiked.

Raising the RES is beneficial to the economy, creates jobs, reduces Minnesota’s reliance on imported electricity, benefits public health, and helps preserve our precious earth and its resources.  We are on the right trajectory to meet those goals established nearly 8 years ago.  The rules and the structure are already in place.  Increasing our renewable energy standard will send us on our way to a truly, clean, reliable, and sustainable energy future.


2012 Endorsements!

By | Campaigns, Economy, Education, Environment, Health Care, Kevin Dahle MN Senate District 20, Transportation, Uncategorized | No Comments

I am proud to be endorsed by the following organizations in my upcoming election for the Minnesota State Senate.  It is truly a great cross section of the many groups and supporters  in areas such as equality, education, working class Minnesotans, public services, safety, environment and natural resources, and health care.  I am anxious to work for all of my constituents as we take back the legislature and provide a voice for the people of this great State.

Sierra Club
Minnesota Farm Bureau
Minnesota Farmers Union PAC
Education Minnesota
MN Nurses Association
Clean Water Action
AFSCME Council 65
MPPOA - MN Police & Peace Officers  Association
Planned Parenthood
DFL Veterans Caucus
United Transportation Union
Care Providers of MN
Outfront Minnesota
MN Professional Firefighters
Project 515
Small Business Minnesota PAC
Take Action MN

What’s the real story about this Brass Band Music Library?

By | Campaigns, Economy, Kevin Dahle MN Senate District 20 | No Comments

As many of you know, there have been at least 4 negative mailings put out against me by something called the Freedom PAC.  A look at the donor list for this Republican PAC leads us to a long list of wealthy corporate donors intent on spreading political half-truths, inuendo, misplaced facts, and propaganda.  In many ways I thank them.  Every time they send one out, another slew of people contact me ready to support my candidacy and donate to my campaign.  “What can we do about these mailings?” they ask.  “Who can I complain to?”  “How can I donate to your campaign?” Negative campaigns promote cynicism among the electorate, give politics a bad name, and turns people away from the political process.  That is unfortunate.

Many of the mailings have claimed I voted to spend $400,000 on abrass band music library, a sculpture garden, a polar bear exhibit, or a bird atlas?  Really?  All of these projects were part of an $800 million bonding bill, eventually signed into law by then Governor Tim Pawlenty.  The State of Minnesota sells General Obligation Tax Exempt and Taxable Bonds, Revenue Bonds, the proceeds coming from the sale of General Obligation bonds that are used to pay the cost of building the capital projects that are approved by the Legislature. The Freedom PAC has cherry picked from the hundreds of infrastructure and construction projects that typically make up a bonding bill passed by every legislature in non-budget years.  Those projects are carefully vetted and chosen by the capital investment committee and typically mean hundreds of other projects are left on the committee floor.    Bonding bills are job creators, not job crushers.  Interest rates are at an all time low with constructions workers eager to work on projects that invest in Minnesota.  These investments include our public universities, our zoos, municipal buildings, structures that have regional economic impact, roads and bridges, and other public  projects.  Legislators are asked to vote the entire bonding bill up or down.  These bonding bills typically have broad bipartisan support and the debt service on the bonds make up a tiny portion of the overall state budget.

Joe Kimball of MinnPost wrote about the Brass Band Music Library several years ago.  Look for similar references to surface in campaign lit over and over again across the state over the next few weeks. His story, in the link that follows, puts things into context much better than I can.

As Paul Harvey would say, now you know the rest of the story.  Happy trails to all of you!  And thanks for your support.


Budget Forecast

By | Economy | No Comments

We’re relieved to see that Minnesota is showing signs of economic recovery, and it’s good to know that we don’t face another major deficit this year. But we need to be very cautious about calling this a “surplus.”

Today’s forecast shows that Minnesota will have enough revenue to backfill the budget reserves (“rainy day funds’) that were emptied last session. That’s welcome news. But we need to remember that this forecast will be updated in February, and there is still a very real chance some or all of this additional revenue could disappear in just a few months.

This forecast makes perfectly clear that this legislature has not solved our budget deficit. They’ve simply “kicked the can down the road” until after the next election.

Rather than working with Governor Dayton on a responsible budget solution, the Republican majorities borrowed billions from our schools and spent money the state didn’t have in order to avoid making the tough decisions. The result: a $3.4 billion budget deficit looming just a year away.

This reckless borrowing scheme has already cost our state dearly. Just yesterday, we learned Minnesota schools had to borrow nearly $400 million just to make up for the money the state took from them last year. Last week, we learned the state is going to have to pay almost $600 million in interest to pay for the Republican’s tobacco appropriation bonds.

If a corporation had $876 million in the bank but owed $3 billion in outstanding debt, they wouldn’t claim they had a surplus.

Calling this a surplus is like calling yourself rich when you have $100 in your wallet but just maxed out your credit cards to pay your mortgage and buy groceries.

So now the question is: will the Republican majorities choose to leave behind a $3 billion budget deficit, or will they get to work on fixing the problem and upholding their promise of “fiscal responsibility”?

The Cost of a Shutdown

By | Economy | No Comments

The Office of Minnesota Management and Budget released a report on the effects of the State government shutdown this past summer. Some key provisions include:

* The break in government service lasted 20 days (July 1 - July 20) making it the longest and most expansive shutdown in the state’s history.
* 80% of state spending continued during the shutdown due to court order.
* Minnesota lost $49.7 million in unrecoverable revenues.
* Preparation costs for the shutdown were approximately $7.1 million with $3 million for recovery costs.
* Approximately $65 million in payroll went unpaid by Minnesota to 19,000 laid off state employees.