What You Won’t Hear About in Dayton’s Final State of the State

Eight Years of Scandals and Broken Promises

St. Paul, Minn. -As Governor Dayton prepares to deliver his final State of the State address, the Minnesota Jobs Coalition released a list of the top eight things from Dayton’s eight years in office that Minnesotan’s won’t hear about tonight.

Minnesota Jobs Coalition Executive Director John Rouleau issued the following statement.

“From the disastrous roll outs of MNSure and MNLARS to Dayton’s full-throated embrace of Obamacare, the last eight years have meant higher costs and higher taxes for Minnesota families. While the Dayton/Smith administration handed out bonuses and perks to political insiders and appointees, Minnesota families were repeatedly left holding the bag.”


1) Dayton’s Electronic Pull Tab Funding Scheme for Stadium Fails Miserably

Dayton Had “Great Confidence” In Estimates From Myron Frans. Dayton said he has ‘great confidence’ in the revenue estimates worked up by his revenue commissioner, Myron Frans, and noted they match the projections issued last year when the charitable gaming bill was advanced on its own, before it was tied to the stadium.” (Doug Belden, “Dayton takes a poke at charities over stadium – He’s baffled by push for a bigger piece of the gambling tax pie,” Pioneer Press, 3/30/12)

E-Pull Tabs Fail Miserably, Over 95 Percent Off Projections. “Another month, another slide for electronic pull-tabs. That billion dollar-plus vision the state had back in 2012 seems to be slipping away altogether this summer. (Tim Nelson, “How low can electronic pulltabs go? Minnesota may find out,” MPR News, 8/13/13)

2) Dayton Praised MNsure And Its Failed Leadership

Dayton Called MNsure “A Major Step Forward.” “This is a great day for the people of Minnesota,” said Governor Dayton. “Today we are taking a major step forward to improve the quality and affordability of health care for the people of Minnesota.” (Gov. Mark Dayton, “1.3 Million Minnesotans to Benefit from New Health Insurance Marketplace,” Press Release, 3/20/13)

On Eve of Launch, Dayton Said MNsure Was “Ready To Go” And In “Phenomenal Shape.” “Compared to exchanges around the rest of the country, MNsure is in ‘phenomenal shape,’ Gov. Mark Dayton said in a news conference Tuesday. ‘MNsure is ready to go,’ Dayton said.” (Catherine Richert, “MNsure to debut Tuesday afternoon,” MPR News, 9/30/13)

As MNSure Crashed, Dayton Said It Was Doing “Phenomenally Well” And “Extraordinary Well.”I think it’s performed phenomenally well…we’re on the cutting edge, we’re ahead of virtually any other state and even the federal government so we’re pioneering this whole undertaking and I think it’s done extraordinary well…it’s just been truly extraordinary.” (Dayton press conference, 10/22/13)

Dayton: Obamacare ‘No Longer Affordable’ For Many. Minnesota’s Democratic governor on Wednesday said Obamacare is “no longer affordable to increasing numbers of people” — the latest sign of Democrats’ growing concern about the law’s rising insurance costs. Gov. Mark Dayton’s criticism comes as his state faces massive rate hikes and shrinking competition in its Obamacare insurance marketplace next year.” (Rachana Pradhan “Democratic governor: Obamacare ‘no longer affordable’ for many,” Politico, 10/12/16)

3) MNSure Managers Get Bonuses As Program Failed

MNsure Awarded Thousands in Bonuses Before Website Launch. Fourteen MNsure managers were paid bonuses totalling more than $26,000 in November as Minnesota launched its troubled online health insurance exchange, state officials said Wednesday. After MNsure went online Oct. 1, software problems bogged down website users and led to long delays for callers to its overwhelmed call center in St. Paul.” (Christopher Snowbeck “MNSure Awarded $26,000 in Manager Bonuses Before Website Launch,” Pioneer Press, 1/28/14)

4) MNLars Fails After Years of Work and Millions of Dollars

Months After Roll Out, MNLars Showed No Improvement. “Problems at the Minnesota Driver and Vehicle Services continue after the department upgraded its computer system more than three months ago. The new Minnesota License and Renewal System, or MNLARS, launched on July 24, but the system for vehicle tabs and licenses shut down the following week, causing major delays.” (Jeff Wagner “Driver Frustration Increases Months After MNLARS System Rollout,” WCCO-TV,11/14/17)

MNLars Launched After Repeated Warnings It Wasn’t Ready. They said people in key decision making roles didn’t understand the business of licensing and registration. Plans to test and catch software defects were woefully inadequate. They warned both DVS and MN IT management the project was in danger of becoming a ‘public and political spectacle.’ Helland said his concerns fell on deaf ears.” (Jeff Baillon “Secret recordings reveal untold story of MNLARS mess,” KMSP,2/18/18)

5) Dayton Found to Have Broken State Law Using the State Plane for Political Purposes

Legislative Auditor: Dayton Violated State Law for Political Use of State Plane.Gov. Mark Dayton broke state law when he brought a campaign staffer along for a 2012 trip on the state plane to promote DFL candidates, according to a report from Minnesota’s legislative auditor. The report said, ‘Since the campaign official did not travel with the Governor to participate in state government business, it was a violation of state law and MnDOT policy for the campaign official to travel on the state airplane.’” (GoMN Staff “Legislative Auditor: Dayton Violated State Law for Political Use of State Plane,” GoMN, 1/16/14)

Dayton Caught Using State Plane for Politics: Again. “A state audit released Friday says DFL Gov. Mark Dayton’s political campaign should have reimbursed the state for two trips he made in 2013, because they combined official business with politics. Minnesota Legislative Auditor James Nobles said Dayton used a state airplane on both occasions in Oct. 2013. The governor conducted official business, but he also attended side events that ‘appeared to be political.’” (Tim Pugmire “Auditor: Dayton used state plane for politics,” MPR News, 10/16/15)

6) Dayton Appointees Get Big Pay Raises

WCCO: Dayton “Giving Members Of His Cabinet A Big Payday.”Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton is giving members of his Cabinet a big payday: They’re getting double-digit raises totalling tens of thousands of dollars. … The pay hikes range from 19 percent to 58 percent. The smallest raise is $22,407 to the Ombudsman for Mental Health, bumping the salary from $97,510 to $119,997. Top commissioners got 30 percent raises, boosting their salaries by $35,000, from $119,997 to $154,992.” (Pat Kessler,” Are Massive Raises For Dayton’s Cabinet ‘Outrageous’?” WCCO-TV, 2/5/15)

7) Dayton Commissioners Caught in Suite Use Scandal

Political Insiders Live it Up In Taxpayer Funded Suites with Friends and Family. “The government appointees who oversee U.S. Bank Stadium on behalf of taxpayers get a perk unavailable to most Minnesotans: free tickets to two lower-level luxury suites for all events held there. The suites are for marketing purposes but, they admit, friends and family are often in attendance.” (Rochelle Olson “Work or perk? U.S. Bank Stadium executives have free access to luxury suite seats,” Star Tribune,11/28/16)

Auditor: Suite Use Violated “Core Ethical Principal.” “‘We concluded that the Authority’s use of the tickets violated a core ethical principle,’ Nobles wrote in a memo to the Legislative Audit Commission. ‘For the 12 events we examined, we found that Authority officials and staff provided 158 tickets to family members and friends. We also found the use of another 35 tickets questionable. Given these and other findings, we recommend that the Legislature exercise stronger control over the Authority and, specifically, its use of complimentary tickets to stadium events.’” (Tim Blotz “Audit finds US Bank Stadium officials have 3rd suite,” KMSP, 2/7/17)

8) Dayton Health Commissioner Resigns Under Fire Over Reports of Elder Abuse

Minnesota Health Commissioner Quits After Problems Investigating Elder Abuse Exposed. “Ehlinger’s resignation comes after media reports, including a five-part series in the Minneapolis-based Star Tribune, found residents of senior care facilities statewide were neglected, abused and robbed, but the perpetrators were often never punished and in most instances complaints were never properly investigated. The state Department of Health is responsible for licensing and oversight of senior care centers. In February, the Pioneer Press reported the health department investigated just 10 percent of the 3,400 complaints it received about public nursing homes and home-care treatment.” (Christopher Magan “Minnesota Health Commissioner quits after problems investigating elder abuse exposed,” Pioneer Press, 12/19/17)

Chaos, Dysfunction and Roadblocks At Agency Investigating Elder Abuse. “Employees described an office so overwhelmed by backlogged cases that workers dumped dozens of maltreatment complaints into recycling bins without reading them. Others said unread complaint forms piled up into stacks 2 feet high and went unexamined for months. At one point, employees said, they were ordered to stop making phone calls to elderly victims and other individuals who reported nursing home abuse because it was too time-consuming.” (Chris Serres “State employees say elder-abuse reports tossed in trash due to backlog of cases,” Star Tribune,12/17/17)