Video by Craig Stellmacher
Minnesota’s gubernatorial candidates Mark Dayton (Democratic-Farm-Labor), Tom Emmer (Republican) and Tom Horner (Independent) hold their second-to-last debate at TPT Studios in St. Paul as part of the political show “Almanac”.
In another room were TPT’s Mary Lahammer and Rachel Stassen-Berger of the Star Tribune with undecided voters and tweeters, watching and responding online. There was quite a reaction among those voters when Tom Emmer refused to answer moderator Cathy Wurzer’s question about abortion not once, but three times.
The candidates face off for the final time Sunday afternoon at the Fitzgerald Theatre.
With the election just four days away, a Minnesota Public Radio-Humphrey Institute poll shows Dayton with a sizable 12 percentage point lead on Emmer, but a new KSTP/SurveyUSA poll released yesterday shows Dayton with a razor-thin 1 point lead over Emmer.
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Final Televised Gubernatorial Debate, St. Paul, MN, October 29, 2010
Sponsored by TPT and the Star Tribune
Speakers: Mark Dayton, DFL candidate; Tom Emmer, Republican candidate; Tom Horner, Independence Party candidate;
Moderators: Cathy Wurzer and Eric Eskola, Almanac;
Reporters: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger and Mary Lahammer
Transcript by Susan Maricle
Eric Eskola: Tonight we’re blowin out the format, we’re all debate all hour. Quick reminder of how we do debates around here. No stopwatches, no opening or closing statements, no Robert’s Rules of Order. We’re gonna have a conversation. 00:18
Cathy Wurzer; We’ve invited all candidates who have achieved at least 5% support in any independent statewide poll. That leaves us with tonight’s trio. We’ve mixed up the order of introduction from our first debate. Tom Emmer is the Republican Party candidate. He’s a state lawmaker. Tom Horner is the standard bearer of the Independence Party. He’s a former business executive. Mark Dayton is the DFL candidate on the ballot, he’s a former U.S. Senator. Gentlemen, good to see you again. 00:44
Tom Horner: Thank you!
Cathy Wurzer: Well, Tom Horner, I’m gonna start with you first. You’re, well, you all are at the, near the end of a very long road and a lot of stuff has been said over the past few months. Name one misguided, inaccurate, or totally ridiculous thing said during this campaign that you want to shed some light on tonight. 01:03
Tom Horner: Well, I think the (laughs) the most ironic thing maybe that has been said is by the Republicans who accuse me of being too liberal, and the Democrats who accuse me of being too conservative, and they both can’t be right. (laughs) So y’know I think it speaks to my position in the race where I have captured the center ground and where I do speak to I think the broad middle. 01:26
Cathy Wurzer: Senator Dayton, one misguided, inaccurate or kind of silly thing that you’ve heard on the campaign trail over the past few months that you want to shed some light on. 01:33
Mark Dayton: Well, most recently, that I’m gonna raise taxes on middle-income taxpayers. And that’s simply not true. According to the Minnesota Department of Revenue, my proposal applies only to the, less than the top 4% of Minnesota income earners. So to say otherwise is just totally wrong. 01:47
Cathy Wurzer: Okay, Tom Emmer? 01:49
Tom Emmer: Well, probably the most disturbing was that somebody asked if Jacquie was my second wife cause she looks too young to be my first wife. But aside from that, with my colleagues I think the one think the one thing is the misinformation that has been published and spoken by Senator Dayton about how, what I would propose would raise property taxes and giving some confusing statements to the public about what will happen if we try to get government to live within its means and start to grow jobs again. 02:16
Cathy Wurzer: What did you say? 02:17
Mark Dayton: The League of Greater Minnesota Cities says your proposal will raise property taxes, the Minnesota Department of Revenue says for every dollar of local government aids you cut, you raise property taxes by 67 cents. That’s why I have the endorsement of the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers, the Professional Firefighters because they believe your proposal will result in cutting essential public services, public safety. 02:36
Tom Emmer: Well, and that’s, that’s also false. The local government aid piece, we’ve talked about specifically reforming local government aid so that it actually goes to those essential services. Today I don’t think a lot of people realize, and Senator Dayton, you haven’t been explaining this to folks, that out of the 800-plus cities that we have in this state, only 20 cities get over 50% of the local government aid dollars. Only 40 – ah, only five cities get almost 40%. And I’m the only one up here that has actually sat on a City Council that’s dealt with local government aid. It’s gotta be used for police and fire, essential services for communities that need that type of support. We proposed reforming it to do just that, Senator. 03:14
Cathy Wurzer: Do you – 03:14
Mark Dayton: You know, when you when you look at it on a per-capita basis, those cities look in a very different light. But you know, you were on a City Council where you just raised property taxes by 16% and you said it was because of THE reduction in state aid. So when you were at the local government level you recognized that if somebody reduces the state aid, you have to increase the property tax levy. 03:31
Tom Emmer: And Cathy, there’s a great discussion, because that IS the essence of the argument. And this is the problem, Senator, you’ve never experienced this so you wouldn’t realize that that’s where the best decision is made, at the local level. The closest that you are to the people that are being asked to pay the bill. And when you say, for every dollar that the state does not spend, it raises 67 cents at the local level. Why wouldn’t taxpayers want to save 33 cents of every dollar? It’s gotta be more efficient, it’s gotta be more responsible, that’s what we’re talking about. 03:59
Mark Dayton: Because that means you’ve got to cut police and fire and other basic services. 04:01
Tom Emmer: Only if you don’t have your priorities straight. 04:02
Cathy Wurzer: Tom Horner (UNCLEAR) – 04:02
Tom Horner: Well, I mean these guys keep having the arguments about the past. And there’s the problem. I mean how does a Governor Dayton, how does a Governor Emmer get anything done? When they keep having these kinds of arguments about the past? We’d better be looking to the future. And I think that’s why there’s so much dissatisfaction with the kinds of campaigns that we’ve seen in Minnesota, with the kinds of candidates that we’ve seen. I think this year that Minnesotans are really saying “It’s time to break the gridlock, to move beyond, to have innovative solutions about the future.” 04:32
Cathy Wurzer: Would property taxes go up in a Tom Horner administration? 4:35
Tom Emmer: No, in fact in my budget, I’ve put in some property tax relief. I think particularly in areas like agriculture. It’s time to move from taxing on the speculative value of agriculture land to move to the productive value. And I’ve put in the kind of honest property tax relief that can help accomplish that. 04:53
Eric Eskola: There, there was a poll earlier this week. Half of those surveyed feel that there should be smaller government with fewer services. Now Senator Dayton, we added it up and looks like you’re endorsed by nine public employee unions. Now how on earth would you be able to go to those unions and say “You’ve gotta downsize, you’ve gotta innovate, that might cost some jobs.” How independent are you gonna be of those public employee unions to do some of the surgery that might be needed to be done on the budget? 05:19
Mark Dayton: Well Eric, I think if people know anything about me after my 35 years of public service in Minnesota, it’s I’m my own man. And I will make decisions based on what I believe is absolutely necessary for the state of Minnesota, provide the best possible services, and what’s best for the most people of Minnesota. That is absolutely, always been my promise, seeking public office and that is my, absolutely my commitment if I am elected. 05:40
Cathy Wurzer: Would you agree that some reform of government is needed? 05:43
Mark Dayton: Oh, absolutely.
Cathy Wurzer: You can’t live in the past, you’ve gotta move forward? 05:45
Mark Dayton: Y’know, I have met with the management consultants of the private sector here in Minnesota who have worked with Republican and Democratic Governors around the country, and they’ve achieved hundreds of millions of dollars of savings in improved administrative efficiencies, consolidating accounts payable and other functions of government, and they say there hasn’t been any interest in the last eight years here in Minnesota in those kinds of savings. So absolutely I’ll bring in people to look at those opportunities 06:08
Tom Horner: Yeah but Mark, you’ve gotta be consistent. I mean you’ve gotta be consistent. Your budget says you’re gonna save all of this money by stopping the outsourcing of public services to the private sector. You and I were at a technology conference the other day, talking to technology CEOs, and all you could talk about was how we really have to engage these private sector workers in taking on some of the public functions. You can’t have it both ways. 06:32
Mark Dayton: No. 06:33
Tom Horner: And that’s been the problem, Senator, is that throughout this campaign, too many promises to too many special interest groups for the two of you. Too much unwillingness to stand up to the special interests, whether they’re coming in with their millions of dollars in negative advertising, and saying “Enough.” This is about Minnesota. This is about our future. We better have a debate about that future, not about the past. 06:55
Cathy Wurzer: Say Tom Emmer, you have made a centerpiece of your campaign smaller government. And the state of Minnesota has about 55,000 workers. Should we have fewer state employees? 07:03
Tom Emmer: Well, I think ultimately you have to look at the services first that government’s expected to provide. Both of these gentlemen talk about raising billions of dollars of new taxes because they make the argument, both, that we either have to raise billions of dollars of taxes or we’ve gotta cut services. I don’t buy that. I think the public I think the polling htat you’re seeing, they don’t buy that. We’ve gotta look at the services that government’s supposed to provide, we’ve gotta remove the duplication, the bloat, the excess, make sure that those services are being delivered in the most efficient manner and then we’ve gotta get jobs growin. 07:36
Cathy Wurzer: Your running mate Annette Meeks wrote an interesting public policy paper several years ago and talking about competition in state services. And talked a little bit about privatization. Would you privatize some state services? 07:46
Tom Emmer: I, I think you have to look at every option. We’ve come to a cross roads.
Cathy Wurzer: So you would privatize some services. 07:50
Tom Emmer: What I said was, you have to look at every option. I don’t think you commit to saying that “We have to privatize everything in government.” The one thing I will commit to? Is our state government should not be taking citizens’ taxpayer dollars and then getting into business to compete with its private citizens. That should not happen. And it is happening. If there’s something that a private citizen can do, government should not be doing that function. 08:12
Cathy Wruzer: Tom Horner, do you agree with that?
Tom Horner: Well, but, I, I mean, with all due respect, I think that (laughs) not only do you have to look at every opportunity whether you privatize or not, but I also think you have to look at every function of government and where it’s doing well. And so take an issue like broadband. I think it’s critically important for Minnesota to have access to broadband. Now we hope that in most communities like the Twin Cities, that you can do it through the private sector. There are some communities like Monticello where they’ve done it as a private/public partnership. But I do think that there are going to be some communities around the state where it will take a public investment. I think we need to be open to that. If we want to open up Minnesota to world-class education, health care, economic development opportunities around the state, we better be open to the technology of the future, we better be open to innovation, we can’t just keep having these same political debates over whether we put our stake in the ground and say “We’re just gonna cut spending” or “We’re just gonna raise taxes on 4%” and everybody else under both scenarios gets a free ride. 09:16
Mark Dayton: Well – well –
Tom Horner: I don’t buy it.
Mark Dayton: Well, I don’t think middle-income taxpayers have had a free ride, Mr. Horner, in the last years. Their property taxes have gone up 09:21
Tom Horner: Senator, here’s the problem. You’ve got 09:24
Mark Dayton: (UNCLEAR) may I finish please?
Tom Horner: Too many Minnesotans not paying any income tax at all. And when you don’t pay tax, you have no responsibility for cutting the cost of government. 09:33
Cathy Wurzer: Senator Dayton –
Tom Horner: We need, we need to connect people to the cost of government. And you do that by reform. By having a consumption tax. 09:40
Mark Dayton: As I was saying, y’know you want to add the sales tax burden onto middle-income taxpayers, you want to extend the sales tax to clothing, to personal services like haircuts and car repairs, you don’t want to raise taxes on the top income earners one dollar. You would rather put the burden, increase the burden on middle-income taxpayers. And we just have 10:01
Tom Horner: Except that you know that’s not true. 10:01
Mark Dayton: And we just, we just have a fundamental disagreement. Well, it is
Tom Honrer; No it’s not 10:03
Mark Dayton: if you extend the sales tax to clothing, and to personal services. Of course, middle-income taxpayers are going to pay more in taxes. 10:09
Tom Horner: Senator, why is it that every Democrat who has had a tax proposal has said we ought to go to a consumption tax? Senator Bakk, a good northeastern Minnesota Democrat, chaired the Tax Committee this year, said we ought to go to a consumption tax. Senator Rest said we ought to go to a consumption tax. Why is it that almost every Democrat has rejected your plan and has said that we ought to do my plan? 10:33
Mark Dayton: Why is it that you won’t answer my question? My question was,
Tom Horner: Which question? 10:35
Mark Dayton: My question was, why
Tom Honrer: I’ll answer your question if you answer my question. 10:37
Mark Dayton: Mine is that they’re not the DFL candidate for Governor of Minnesota. That’s my answer. 10:41
Tom Horner: (UNCLEAR) you have to get to work with. 10:43
Mark Dayton: Let me ask me question again, please. Why, are you unwilling to raise the income tax on the top income earners who the Minnesota Department of Revenue says are paying less than the same percent of income in state and local taxes as everyone else, instead add to the tax burden on middle income taxpayers with a sales tax on the personal services 11:00
Tom Horner: Senator, that’s a GREAT question.
Mark Dayton: – sales tax? 11:02
Tom Horner: Have you looked at my proposal? Do you, do you know that I am closing some of the deductions and loopholes for top earners, and that’s very specific in my proposal? But what I do, when I do it that way, we’re not taxing the job creators. So what YOU have to answer is, how are you going to tell those people in Thief River Falls that DigiKey isn’t going to add the hundreds of thousands of jobs – or the hundreds of jobs – because you want to add
Cathy Wurzer: Quick response. 11:25
Tom Horner: 30 to 40% 11:26
Cathy Wurzer: Quick response from the Senator. 11:26
Mark Dayton: DigiKey, what they wanted was a runway that could land a 757 airplane in the infrastructure 11:30
Tom Horner: No, Senator – 11:31
Mark Dayton: I met with DigiKey and y’know we’ve had different conversations evidently, I’m not disputing what you said, but they didn’t raise my proposal and this was just a couple of months ago. They want the infrastructure improvements to add 900 jobs. And once again, y’know your theory is that we have to become like Mississippi. We can’t raise taxes on the top 11:45
Tom Horner: Oh, Senator…
Mark Dayton: – income earners? 11:46
Tom Horner: That’s ridiculous.
Mark Dayton: Well, that’s –
Tom Horner: No, that’s ridiculous.
Mark Dayton: – what the low-tax state philosophy is. You still haven’t explained why you would raise taxes on middle-income taxpayers. 11:49
Tom Horner: Senator, we’re not, I mean
(CROSS TALK, UNCLEAR) 11:53
Tom Horner: Representative Emmer is accusing me of raising billions of dollars of taxes and you accuse me of going back to Mississippi, that’s the same kind of nonsense that
Eric Eskola (to Emmer): Do you- do you want to get into the tax – 12:03
Tom Emmer: laughs 12:03
Tom Horner: – gets us into the gridlock. That gets us into the inability to move into the future. 12:05
Eric Eskola: Because you have a different view on taxes than either of these two. 12:07
Tom Emmer: I do. And you can call me Tom. It’s the nicest thing anybody calls me, Mr. Horner. The, I don’t agree with either one of you. I obviously, I don’t believe that now is the time, in the midst of the longest recession that we’ve experienced in this country and in this state since World War II, to just raise taxes, it doesn’t matter if it’s a consumption tax. You can talk about tax reform but all you’re doin is adding another revenue stream for a government that really is in dire need of structural reform. That’s not reform. And by the way, the budget you put out has a 2 1/2 billion dollar hole even with the 20% you want to grow government in the next two years. So when you promise to maintain 85% of the spending AND you promise to raise taxes, something isn’t adding up. And Senator, you talk about taxing the rich. And I know that sounds good to some people. Cause it sounds like somebody else is gonna pay their way. It’s the wrong answer at the wrong time. You’re not taxing the rich. You’re not taxing YOUR wealth. You’re taxing people’s income. And it’ll hammer every Mom and Pop small business in this state, what you’re proposing. You’ve got a billion dollar hole in the budget you’ve put out, you haven’t been honest in telling people, these are ALL the taxes I’m gonna raise. You talk about cutting government. The reform that Senator Dayton’s proposed is hiring up to 200 new TAX auditors for the Minnesota Department of Revenue to go out and harass citizens even more! 13:23
Mark Dayton: I just want people to 13:24
Tom Emmer: To collect even MORE money. That’s not reform. 13:26
Mark Dayton: People who are not paying, people who are evading paying taxes 13:28
Tom Emmer: That’s not reform, sir. We’ve we’ve gotta streamline government, we’ve gotta make sure government delivers the services without growing at double digit rates, it’s not sustainable, it’s not responsible, and we’ve gotta start growing jobs again. 13:37
Eric Eskola: Senator Dayton. 13:38
Mark Dayton: Thank you. The Minnesota Department of Revenue says that my tax proposal would affect less than 8% of businesses in Minnesota. And again, they’re just paying taxes on the top income. You, and you deny this, but you’re not being candid, or at least you’re disagreeing with the Minnesota Department of Revenue, who we’ve all agreed would be our arbiter. When you cut local government aids, when you cut school aids as you would, then the property taxes are gonna go up. That’s what’s happening under Governor Pawlenty. That’s why property taxes in Minnesota have gone from four billion to seven billion, and businesses pay FOUR times more in property taxes than they pay in the corporate tax. You’re gonna have a much worse effect on particularly small businesses with your proposal than I would. 14:16
Tom Emmer: I do get to respond to this, because Senator Dayton while I have a lot of respect for you, you keep saying that we’re cutting schools. That’s not true. And I’m the only one sittin up here that has kids in public schools right now. We have a commitment to our public schools, we’re maintaining that and proving it. We actually have reforms. And it should be interesting to people that Tom Dooher, the guy who actually is stopping all education reform right now in the state of Minnesota – 14:37
Eric Eskola: He’s President of Education Minnesota 14:40
Tom Emmer: – is your biggest supporter. So here’s what I want to throw back. Because it’s really important that people understand. You’re not being honest about your budget. You talk about the Department of Revenue but you’ve sent TWO budgets to the Department of Revenue. And I commend you for that. Because when I put mine out, which is balanced and it’s honest within what governments’ gonna have in the next two years, 7 to 8% increase. You want it to grow 20%. You’ve sent two budgets now to the Department of Revenue 15:04
Tom Horner: Can I just add a quick -
Tom Emmer: If I can finish! Two budgets, and they don’t balance! 15:09
Cathy Wurzer: Okay. Okay. Senator Dayton. 15:09
Mark Dayton: It’s honest, it’s honest but it’s draconian. And may I point out as I did before
Tom Emmer: That’s not it. That’s not it. 15:12
Mark Dayton: And may I point out as I did before, I have a son Andrew, at the University of Minnesota Law School, and the last time I looked that was a public institution. 15:18
Tom Horner: I want to correct, I want to correct one -
Cathy Wurzer: Tom Horner, go ahead. 15:21
Tom Horner: – statement Senator. Because it is THE most disingenuous statement you make. When you say your tax proposal will only affect 8% of small businesses, true. How many jobs does it affect? 90% of the small business jobs in Minnesota. You’re killing jobs. That’s what you’re doing. That’s what your tax proposal does. 8% of businesses but 90% of jobs. You’ve gotta stop that. 15:42
Mark Dayton: So the other 92% of businesses, you’re going to turn into tax collectors, because they’re going to have to collect sales tax 15:48
Tom Horner: As they already do, Senator. 15:49
Mark Dayton: on the sales
Cathy Wurzer: you would expand the sales tax 15:51
Cathy Wurzer: We’re going to continue to talk about this, we’re going to take a quick break. Thank you very much gentlemen. Tonight’s debate by the way is done in partnership with the Star Tribune. And next door in Studio C, Mary Lahammer and Rachel Stassen-Berger
have been interacting with viewers both online and in real life. So let’s check in for just a minute. 16:05
Mary Lahammer: Yeah Cathy, some of the viewers here in Studio C with us have been watching the debate, we’ve been getting some giggles, some laughs, and some background on them. Interesting group here! Many undecided voters, or voters who are just leaning one way 16:17
Rachel E. Stassen-Berger: Mm-hmm. 16:17
Mary Lahammer: – and could be making up their mind while they’re watching here. We’ve got a lot of Jesse Ventura voters here. 16:22
Rachel E. Stassen-Berger: We do, we do. And one of the interesting things about the room is they react to these debates just like we do. We heard Emmer say just a few short minutes ago, “Well I have a lot of respect for you, Senator.” The crowd in here knew that was not going to be a particularly respectful statement.
Mary Lahammer: They laughed. 16:37
Rachel E. Stassen-Berger: A person calls for Emmer to be more specific. They perceived that Dayton was doing most of the attacking. And even on Twitter somebody said, how is a Governor Horner going to run the Legislature if he’s got no allies there? 16:49
Mary Lahammer: An interesting note here too. We mention a lot of folks in this room voted for Jesse Ventura, several of them also voted for Tim Pawlenty. And a lot of them are on the fence right now. One person said they really don’t feel like they can go towards Emmer. We’ve got another person saying Emmer’s tax cuts are very appealing. We’ve got a solid Dayton person in the room but several people that are you know, on the fence as they’re watching. And back to Twitter, what else is interesting for you, what do you see there and on Facebook.17:10
Rachel E. Stassen-Berger: Well, one of the interesting things from the room here is that so far, no minds made up. So candidates, you’ve got a bit of work to do. And on Twitter, some of our comments, somebody felt like they were getting ready for the nearly three millionth debate, a little commentary about how many debates. 17:26
Mary Lahammer: Another gal, real Minnesota comment, “Debates on Almanac make me so uncomfortable! The candidates are sitting right next to each other.” 17:32
Rachel E. Stassen-Berger: OOOOOOHHHH! 17:34
Mary Lahammer: We like that about Almanac, I think our group likes that too! 17:37
Rachel E. Stassen-Berger: UNCLEAR
Mary Lahammer: Yes, they’re enjoying the interactivity and saying that they’re attacking each other equally. That’s been the summation in the room. 17:44
Rachel E. Stassen-Berger: Right, and if you can’t be here in the room with us, I’m sorry. But you can join us on Twitter! I’m @rachelSB Mary’s @mlahammer. 17:52
Mary Lahammer: So Twitter’s really hoppin’. You can also jump on Facebook as well, check us out. 17:54
Rachel E. Stassen-Berger: Thank you!
Mary Lahammer: Yep, back to you. 17:56
Eric Eskola: Thanks you two. We’ll be back to you a little bit later on in the program. Say, I wanna talk about the Human Services part of the budget. And, it’s supposed to go up three billion dollars, Representative Emmer. And you’re saying instead, under your plan, I think it would go up 650 million instead of go up three billion. Now what are some of the practical, day-to-day things that Minnesotans who avail themselves of those services will have to do without if you reduce the rate of growth by that much? 18:25
Tom Emmer: Well Eric, first off, if you’re increasing the budget, what makes you believe that you’re going to decrease the services? Now, some can argue that while the costs are going up et cetera but our goal, our object should be making sure that we contain costs. This is the problem. Is that Health and Human Services is the one area of government, it’s one of the two fastest-growing and largest pieces of our general fund budget. It’s scheduled itself, that area of government, it’s scheduled itself for a 32% increase in just the next two years. You’re right! We increased -18:57
Cathy Wurzer: Why’s the cost going up? 18:57
Tom Emmer: It, here’s the thing though. This is the problem. We have expanded it by 650 million. And what we’re hoping to do, with the Legislature, from, if we’re in the office, if Minnesota elects us, is start to work at reforming the programs that we’ve got. So you still deliver the services but you do it at a much less expensive and cost-efficient manner. 19:15
Cathy Wurzer: But what does it mean by reforming services? Because most of these services are for elderly and disabled people,
Tom Emmer: No. 19:19
Cathy Wurzer: – and those numbers keep growing. 19:20
Tom Emmer: Cathy, I appreciate it, but I’ll give you an example. It’s a bill that I authored. That’s still in the Legislature. It would take a program like MinnesotaCare, that’s intended to be a safety net, for somebody who is out of employment and they need help. They need health insurance. Right now they take you into turnkey government-run health insurance program. We have proposed turning that into a subsidy program where somebody would come in, qualify for the same level of benefit, but now can take a private health care premium insurance voucher down to their local insurance broker 19:47
Eric Eskola: But it’s a smaller amount of money, though. 19:49
Tom Emmer: No it’s not.
Cathy Wurzer: It’s a tiny –
Tom Emmer: Let me finish.
Cathy Wurzer: It’s a tiny fraction of the budget, though! 19:52
Tom Emmer: It’s 250 to 500 MILLION dollars every two years just for that one program, and that’s, you asked me to give you an example, I’ve got one more, Eric. 20:00
Eric Eskola: Quick! 20:01
Tom Emmer: Thirty-two percent, people need to understand, these two want to grow it to 12 billion in the next two years. We’ve kept it just under 10 billion, and that’s still an increase. Here’s the problem. If it grows at 32%, for each of the next 2 or 6 years, it’ll eat up the entire budget within 10 years. You’ve gotta be responsible now. 20:19
Tom Horner: So, so let me just correct one thing. MinnesotaCare wasn’t designed originally for people out of work. It was designed actually for the working poor, and now it has been transformed into a program that isn’t working for anybody. So I do think we need to fix MinnesotaCare. But we need to do it in a way that provides good coverage for people at an affordable level. But let me give you the real area where we need to save money. And again, it’s going to come from reform. Not just by taxing and adding to the status quo, or cutting spending and eliminating some of the status quo. Older Adult Services that you (to Wurzer) mentioned. Look at the challenge we have. Right now it costs about $5,000 a month to put a person in a nursing home. Two-thirds of that is paid by public funds on average. Y’know, we need to have services that keep people in their homes. Aging in place for as long as possible. And, we need to create a system in which people can save for their own older adult care. 21:09
Cathy Wurzer: Like a 529? 21:10
Tom Horner: A 529 plan, EXACTLY. Where it would have the flexibility, they could use it for the dollars, they could buy insurance, those kinds of things. And, we have community, more community-based services. 21:20
Cathy Wurzer: Do you think that’s really gonna save that much money? 21:23
Tom Horner: Not initially! It’s going to COST money! It’s gonna cost more money initially! But look at the savings down the road. And THAT’S what we need to be focused on! If we just focus on yesterday’s problems, how do you cut spending, how do you keep all of those programs in place by raising taxes, we never get to the long-term innovations. What we ought to be focused on is What’s the outcome? The outcome is we ought to provide the best quality care to all older adults. In their homes, at their own cost when possible, the only way you get there is by funding a transition right now. 21:56
Eric Eskola, Senator, you’re gonna have to reduce Human Service spending? 21:58
Cathy Wurzer: Go ahead. 21:58
Mark Dayton: Well absolutely, we need to look for the reforms. And my excellent running mate, State Senator Yvonne Prettner Solon, was one of the leaders in the Minnesota Legislature in initiating just what Mr. Horner, and I would agree with him, said, is reducing the need for long-term care in nursing homes and shifting it to in-home care, and they’ve reduced the percent of long-term dollars going to nursing homes from 88% down to about 72% in the last few years. So those initiatives have already been undertaken and yes, they absolutely need to be continued. The other thing we need to do in terms of health care, and Mr. Horner I believe and I agree on this, would sign the early opt-in for Medicaid on day one. 22:35
Cathy Wurzer: You have talked about this. Yes. 22:35
Mark Dayton: And that would bring, for 188 million dollar net investment of by the state of Minnesota over three years, which is already provided by the Governor and the Legislature in the next biennium, a 1.4 billion dollars in federal money. And that’s important not only for providing health care to Minnesotans but also strengthening the financial base of our hospitals across the state so they can provide better health care for everybody. 22:54
Cathy Wurzer: Where would you cut the Human Services budget? You’ve been kinda quiet about this. You keep saying that “Well if I’m elected I’ll wait til next year.” 23:03
Mark Dayton: Well, I think we do need to shift the funding from the long-term care in residential to in-home services. And that is gonna mean we need to make more investments in the home services. Most seniors want to stay in their home. My father wants to be in his home. He’s able to afford the support services to do so. We need to enable people to be able to stay at home. The, Meals on Wheels, the ways in which people can have electronic devices alert their loved ones if they have an accident at home, the various ways that we can invest in the services and expand those, that outreach to people who want to stay in their homes and live their lives there and still be part of the community. 23:40
Cathy Wurzer (to Tom Emmer) You have elderly parents. 23:42
Tom Emmer: No.
Cathy Wurzer: Well, they’d disagree with that. 23:45
Tom Horner: You’re not gonna make the announcement on TV. 23:47
Tom Emmer: I don’t think my parents will tell ya that they’re elderly. My parents are 71 and 70. And I just have to go back to this. It’s about funding your priorities, Cathy. Our priorities should be children. Our priorities should be our seniors, our veterans, our disabled. You fund your priorities. The reforms have to come in that you can’t keep funding able-bodied adults. You gotta look at what you’re providing and we’ve put out the only number that says this is what we do within, and again, it’s 650 million more as Eric pointed out. We’re not coming in to slash and burn, we’re just saying that government has to lvie within the 7 to 8% in new revenue that it has, and this is what we would propose to do with Health and Human Services. 24:20
Mark Dayton: Representative Emmer,
Cathy Wurzer: But the MinnesotaCare part of that is just a tiny fraction, though, of the overall budget. 24:24
Mark Dayton: almost ninety, almost 90% of the recipients are the elderly and children and those with disabilities. 24:28
Tom Emmer: Again,
Mark Dayton: I mean, we’re talking about PEOPLE here. Y’know earlier you said government itself. This is about PEOPLE. This is about people who get personal care attendants. The people who are able to stay at home. Those who need to be in nursing homes who are literally kept alive through that kind of care. These are about people, and we do have a growing aging population. So when you talk about the budget as though this is something about itself, this is about the real Minnesotans who need these services. 24:47
Tom Emmer: And you know what Senator? You’re absolutely right. And that’s why I’ve put out a budget that you can actually support. I’m not making promises to people out there that you can’t keep. You’re out telling people everything you’re gonna do for them. You’re gonna give them all kinds of new spending in K-12 education and health care. EVERYWHERE. You’re making, just politics. 25:07
Mark Dayton: No, I said those are goals. 25:06
Tom Emmer: No, you –
Mark Dayton: (UNCLEAR).
Tom Emmer: Now they’re goals. 25:08
Mark Dayton: You’re a Legislator, you know you have to balance the budget. You know that. 25:10
Tom Emmer: Look. You’ve been running for years. I’ve been on the outside watchin. People are tired I think of politicians who come out and say “We’re gonna do this for you, we’re gonna do that for you.” Now you call them GOALS. 25:20
Mark Dayton: (UNCLEAR) You’ve run for more public offices than I have.
Tom Emmer: Yeah. At a LOCAL level where you don’t make a career of it. 25:26
Tom Horner: The problem is, it’s these kinds of discussions that have created a six billion dollar shortfall. If the Legislature this year had fixed a 3 billion dollar shortfall and had done it honestly, we wouldn’t have a six billion dollar shortfall. How do you get there if you keep having these discussions? We’ve gotta have better conversations, better answers, better innovations. 25:46
Cathy Wurzer: Somebody in the next room wanted to know this, it was on Twitter or Facebook, (to Horner) you don’t really have any natural allies. 25:51
Tom Horner: Oh yes I do! 25:53
Cathy Wurzer: In the Legislature, no, if you’re elected 25:54
Tom Horner: I’ve got, I’ve got five million natural allies. I mean, that’s what I’ve done in my community service career, my professional career. 26:00
Cathy Wurzer: If you’re elected Governor, who will be your allies in the Legislature? That happened to Jesse Ventura! He initially kind of went above lawmakers for awhile, then he kind of crashed and burned later on. 26:07
Tom Horner: But why? Why? I mean, 26:10
Cathy Wurzer: You tell me. 26:10
Tom Horner: Jesse Ventura had a very successful first couple of years. He had a great Cabinet. He had the mandate that comes from electing an Independent, where Democrats and Republicans say, “All right, the voters are telling us it’s time to work together.” Look, Senator Dayton doesn’t have a handful of Democratic votes as he acknowledge for his own tax plan. Representative Emmer couldn’t get support within the Republican caucus. Take the sales tax that they two like to beat up on, several Democrats that I’ve mentioned by name, the business-led Tax Reform Commission appointed by Governor Pawlenty, came to the same conclusion. And you know why? Because people understand this has to be about the future. It’s gotta be 26:51
Cathy Wurzer: Okay. 26:51
Tom Horner: – about getting rid of that gridlock. And that’s why EVERY newspaper in the state with one exception that has endorsed, has endorsed me. And they’ve all said I’m the only one – 26:59
Eric Eskola: Well –
Tom Horner: – who can break the gridlock. 27:00
Eric Eskola: Do you two other fellas feel left out about these newspaper endorsements? (Tom Emmer laughs) Because Mr. Horner has received the lion’s share. What, what happened to you two? 27:08
Mark Dayton: Well, the only endorsement that really matters is the endorsement of the people of Minnesota next Tuesday. That’s the endorsement that I’m seeking. And y’know, the polls show that Representative Emmer and I have so far the endorsement of the overwhelming majority of Minnesotans. So y’know there’s something about, and we have different views, there’s a resonance out there with people who are making their own decisions as they should, and y’know one poll showed that the people in the state that were polled, 60% of them preferred my tax proposal to 40% for the other two combined. Because they recognize, unlike what Mr. Horner said, that the middle class has NOT been getting a free ride – 27:40
Cathy Wurzer: Do you care about not getting endorsed by a newspaper? 27:43
Mark Dayton: – in taxes, the property taxes have gone up. 27:42
Tom Emmer; I don’t know where that comes from, the 40%. Y’know what, most people, hard-workin families and businesses in this state Mark, want us to lower taxes so that they can start to create new opportunities. When it comes to the newspaper endorsements, I think in my case, it was very hard for the folks that I sat down with to get their arms around “can government really get efficient and provide services without having to raise taxes? Can it do it?” And they don’t, they’re having trouble, I had one person at the Star Tribune ask me “Well, how are you going to get multi-national businesses to start expanding in this state? Is it just lowering the corporate income tax by a point or two in the next two years and streamlining regulation?” The problem is , Cathy, we’ve been doin it this way for decades. 28:26
Cathy Wurzer: And you want to do it different.
Tom Emmer: Well, and I think they’re havin trouble with that. 28:28
Cathy Wurzer: Okay, let’s move on.
Tom Horner: But it’s for EXACTLY that point,
Cathy Wurzer: Hang on.
Tom Horner: – exactly that point that the newspapers DID endorse me. I answered those same questions. I gave them the innovations. I gave them the answers. That’s exactly why they did endorse me. Because they could see the innovation. They could see the change. They could see breaking free of the gridlock. And doing things differently in education, health care, tax reform, spending – 28:48
Cathy Wurzer: I’m gonna give a change of pace question. Now y’all have seen our debates before, we kind of do these little things, yes or no questions, they’re kind of a fun thing. Do you support wine sales in grocery stores, yes or no? 28:58
Tom Horner: Yes.
Cathy Wurzer: Do you. Okay. (To Dayton) Wine sales in grocery stores? 29:00
Mark Dayton: No. 29:00
Cathy Wurzer: (To Emmer) Wine sales in grocery stores? 29:01
Tom Emmer: No. 29:01
Cathy Wurzer: Okay. 29:02
Eric Eskola: Should coach Childress start Brett Favre on Sunday? 29:06
Tom Horner: Let’s start on that end. 29:07
Eric Eskola (To Emmer): What do you think? 29:08
Tom Emmer: Yes.
Eric Eskola: He should start.
Tom Emmer: Absolutely. 29:09
Mark Dayton: Whoever, whoever is best for the team. 29:12
(Horner, Wurzer laugh)
Tom Horner: We’re gonna get something done! No, they oughta go to Tavares Jackson, presuming that his ankle is still as bad as it appeared to be this week. 29:22
Eric Eskola: Okay.
Cathy Wurzer: I actually have a pretty good policy question here. Should the ban on construction of new nuclear plants in Minnesota be lifted? 29:28
Tom Horner: I think the moratorium ought to be lifted. That doesn’t mean we ought to go to more construction. But we have serious waste issues that we have tl talk about. 29:35
Cathy Wurzer: Okay.
Tom Horner: The moratorium has pushed those issues, the storage issues, off the table. 29:40
Cathy Wurzer: And Senator Dayton: 29:40
Mark Dayton: No, I spent six years in the U.S. Senate recognizing there is no resolution today for the nuclear waste all over the country. Until we’ve resolved that I would not support lifting the moratorium. 29:49
Cathy Wurzer. Okay. And, Representative Emmer: 29:51
Tom Emmer: Yes. We’ve got a company in Arden Hills Minnesota that’s building nuclear power plants all over the world. It’s not the seventies any longer. This is an option that should absolutely be looked at in Minnesota with every other available option when it comes to affordable and efficient energy to move our economy forward. 30:06
Cathy Wurzer: You mentioned the Vikings, there was a Star Tribune poll out this week, 75% of the poll respondents oppose state funding for a Vikings stadium. You all support a Vikings stadium. How do you deal with taking a stand on something that is against popular opinion? It’s – 30:24
Mark Dayton: Well, I support a people of Minnesota’s stadium. (Horner reacts) The building of a stadium that benefits this state economically, and I’d look at it the same way as I did when I was Commissioner of Economic Development. 30:32
Cathy Wurzer: It’s more, it’s more of a philosophical question. Okay. It’s more of a philosophical question. How do you deal with taking a stand on something even if it’s against, goes against popular opinion? 30:41
Mark Dayton: I thought former Governor Arne Carlson made an excellent observation regarding the stadium. You have to sell people the vision of what it is. It’s not only about, whatever, 11 Viking games a year, it’s about a stadium that y’know retracts concerts, and y’know roller blading in the evenings, and national conventions, and other, generates the economic activity and is not paid for out of the general fund, so the economic benefits of building it, 8,000 people workin for three years, the taxes they pay, the revenues the contractors, subcontractors pay, all the economic advantages to the people of Minnesota are greater than any public cost. 31:17
Cathy Wurzer: I used the Vikings stadium as an example, Representative Emmer. But I’m thinking, more of a philosophical sense here, if you’re on to an issue that you really believe in, do you ever back down? 31:28
Tom Emmer: Well, I think you, it’s not a matter of backing down, you have to hae an open mind and be willing to learn. I mean maybe you’re wrong about something, but as long as you have your facts straight, as long as you understand, like I will tell ya, no, I don’t back down on this. These two gentlemen believe we should raise taxes. Billions of dollars of new taxes. It’s gonna drive away jobs. I believe that government should live within that 7 to 8% in new revenue that we’re projected to have. And we’ve gotta do things to grow jobs.31:52
Cathy Wurzer: So you won’t back down on that one.
Tom Emmer: I won’t back down on that. I won’t back down on that one. 31:55
Cathy Wurzer: Okay.
Tom Honrer: Y’know, I think people just get so tired of politicians who say “Oh yes, we support the Vikings stadium, but then we’re gonna talk about a people’s stadium.” (laughs) It’s a Vikings stadium. We need to keep the Vikings. We need to keep the NFL. That is an example of leadership, to be willing to take a tough issue and to use a campaign like a campaign ought to 32:15
Cathy Wurzer: Against public opinion.
Tom Horner: – against public opinion, because I do believe, that in the long run, it’s the right thing for Minnesota. It’s the right thing. And I’ve designed a plan where taxpayers who don’t want to pay for a Vikings stadium don’t have to pay for it. We won’t take it out of general revenue. And the Vikings still have sent us the most viable plan. I think that’s the leadership we need, is when you have a Governor who’s willing to take on interest groups, who’s willing to take on these tough issues, and go out and engage the public. That’s my job as Governor, is to put a plan out there and then to win public support. I think I’m the only one who can do that. 32:46
Eric Eskola: Great. Good place to take a little break. We’re gonna check back in with Mary Lahammer and Rachel Stassen-Berger. How’s it goin in there? 32:53
Mary Lahammer: Well, Twitter is hoppin online, in this room we’re getting a lot of reaction. Just a survey, like we said we have a lot of Jesse Ventura voters and people who have voted Democratic, Independent, Republican 33:03
Rachel E. Stassen-Berger: Mm-hmm. 33:03
Mary Lahammer: – all over the map in previous years. Couple of people who were considering Horner, like what they’re hearing tonight. And we’re hearing they are leaning more towards Horner. Our Emmer person is still solid, from Emmer he’d like to hear more specifics. Our Dayton guy says he’s doin just fine still with Dayton. We’ve had a couple of good reactions to this alliance, y’know 33:18
Rachel E. Stassen-Berger: We have. And the folks here and online wanna know some issues that they haven’t really talked about. We’d like to hear a little bit more about legalizing marijuana in this room. A little bit more about an alternative track for teacher licensure, particularly from Dayton, who has the teachers’ union endorsement. And, another question about social issues. How do they rank, given that we’re having such trouble in our state budget and in the economy? And if the candidates feel like answering those, that’d be helpful for this room. 33:44
Mary Lahammer: And the two biggest reactions so far in this room when Emmer made the comment about his not-so-elderly parents. That got a big laugh. And then when Dayton said “The only endorsement tha matters is the endorsement of the people” there was a collective “Awww” in the room. 33:57
Rachel E. Stassen-Berger: And it WAS sarcastic. 33:58
Mary Lahammer: Sarcastic, yes. 33:58
Rachel E. Stassen-Berger: So I think what we’re hearing at least from this room if it’s representative, the candidates aren’t really pulling the wool over voters’ eyes very much. Might want to be careful about that. 34:06
Mary Lahammer: It’s a smart group. And on Twitter we have a LOT of good comments coming from people again who want more specifics and lookin for other things. They like the Favre question, that’s gotten a lot of traction.
Rachel E. Stassen-Berger: Mm-hmm.
Mary Lahammer: I can see there. Some other comments about one candidate being bull-headed,
Rachel E. Stassen-Berger: (laughs)
Mary Lahammer: – some other comments. So keep it goin, send us your questions, feedback, ideas, Twitter, Facebook, and we’ll check in later. 34:27
Rachel E. Stassen-Berger: Absolutely.
Mary Lahammer: Yeah. Thanks.
Rachel E. Stassen-Berger: And I’m @rachelSB. Mary’s – 34:33
Mary Lahammer; @mlahammer and back to the debate. 34:35
Rachel E. Stassen-Berger: Thank you.
Cathy Wurzer: Thanks you two, and y’know what, we’re in the home stretch right now. Do you believe it. After all this time has gone, we’re kind of getting to the end of the debate here. Actually, one of those individuals wanted to know about more about social issues. Now I know y’all haven’t really talked about social issues that much during this campaign. But there are people who really want to know where you stand on various issues. And I’m going to start with Senator Dayton first. The Minnesota Family Council says “If Dayton wins, it means abortions and condoms any and everywhere.” REALLY? 35:07
Mark Dayton: Absolutely not. I support the Roe v. Wade decision that says that y’know abortion in the first, second trimester is the woman’s decision, the third trimester is something that y’know government can have a voice in, although I believe that an abortion should be safe, legal and rare. And I believe that those should be decisions made medically by a physician with a woman and her faith. 35:30
Cathy Wurzer: Y’know, there’s a parental notification law in Minnesota requires that both parents be told about the girl’s decision 48 hours before she gets an abortion. On the federal level you voted “no” on notifying parents of minors who get out of state abortions. Why’d you do that? 35:41
Mark Dayton: No, I don’t believe I voted. I voted about the ability to transport minors, for them to transport themselves across state lines. But I don’t recall that one at all. My position is, that I believe parents should be notified. I’m a parent myself. My sons are grown up now. But I believe that parents should have a right to be notified of a minor’s decision, with an ability for a court to be to intervene in a case where the notification would threaten the physical or emotional well being of the minor. 36:10
Cathy Wurzer: And you are endorsed by Planned Parenthood.
Representative Emmer, do you expect to introduce any abortion-related bills during your tenure if you were elected Governor? 36:17
Tom Emmer: You know what Cathy, we had this conversation when I was here back in August. I have a very clear position on these issues 36:24
Cathy Wurzer: You were endorsed by the MCCL. 36:25
Tom Emmer: Sure, but my campaign is all about getting government back in proper – 36:29
Cathy Wurzer: I understand,
Tom Emmer: – in –
Cathy Wurzer: but there are people who vote on abortion issues. 36:32
Tom Emmer: Well, that’s great, 36:33
Cathy Wurzer: They, they go and they are supportive, they want to know who they’re voting for. 36:37
Tom Emmer: That’s great, and like I said, I’ve got a history, I’ve got a record on those issues, it’s clear. But this campaign is about the economy and jobs. That’s what we have to do for the state of Minnesota going forward. And I’m gonna stick to it. 36:47
Cathy Wurzer: So are you saying this is not an important issue then? 36:49
Tom Emmer: I’m sure it’s important, to many people. 36:51
Cathy Wurzer: Because you co-sponsored five anti-abortion related bills last session. 36:55
Tom Emmer: It’s it’s very –
Cathy Wurzer: So it must be important to you. 36:57
Tom Emmer: It’s important to many people, but again this is about the economy and jobs. 37:01
Cathy Wurzer: I understand that –
Tom Emmer: We gotta get people working again in the state of Minnesota.
Cathy Wurzer: – and in 28 other debates we talked about the economy and jobs. We’re asking about social issues. 37:05
Tom Emmer: Right.
Cathy Wurzer: So the last, I’m going to ask you this one more time. Do you expect to introduce any (Emmer inaudible at :55) abortion-related bills during your tenure? 37:10
Tom Emmer: Cathy, here’s the thing. Let’s stick to the issues that unify us, this
Cathy Wurzer: I,
Tom Emmer: is an issue that divides us. 37:14
Cathy Wurzer: – you know, I understand that. 37:15
Tom Emmer: I think it’s time that we be unified, and the one thing that’s gonna unify us is getting our economy moving again, getting Minnesota, Minnesotans good quality jobs, and getting ‘em workin again. 37:23
Cathy Wurzer: Okay.
Tom Emmer: Yeah. Let’s stick with that. 37:24
Cathy Wurzer: So you’re not gonna go answer the question. All right. (To Horner) Hi. Tom. Tom Horner. 37:30
Tom Horner; Well I don’t, lookit, I don’t think anybody disagrees that we have to create jobs, we have to balance the budget, we have to move the economy forward. But I do think that we also have an obligation to talk about issues that are important to people, that they do care about. And so my position is, I wouldn’t change the status quo on abortion laws in Minnesota. But I think it’s not enough. I think a leader has to go beyond that. You just can’t tout platitudes, Senator, and I’m not sure why, Representative Emmer doesn’t answer the question, so here’s where I would put my political capital. And it gets back to how do I move things forward with Democrats and Republicans? By going out to the public. And I think where the public agrees is that we ought to reduce the need for abortion. And you get there by making sure that women have access to health care including contraceptive care, by good sex education, I was disappointed that Governor Pawlenty turned down the federal grant, I think there are some good programs out there, including some good abstinence-based programs, and I think you fund adoption services. And let’s focus on moving the state forward, not just on these nice platitudes. And where we can move the state forward is good public policy that reduces the need for abortions. 38:36
Eric Eskola: Senator, when the Minneapolis Police Union endorsed you, one of the reasons they said was you’re a “gun guy.” What was that all about? 38:44
Mark Dayton: Well, I’m not sure what they’re referring to there. I do own firearms. I went pheasant hunting in Montevideo last weekend. And I’ve also supported the police and peace officers when they, in Washington, I’m getting smeared for it now by the NRA around the state, but they say I’m putting an ammunition company out of business, bankrupting them, which is simply untrue. I voted at the request of the Police Chiefs and the Police Officers Associations to ban the so-called Cop Killer bullets. And as I asked a couple of hundred people at Gamefair, sportsmen and women, hunters, I said, who of you own Cop Killer bullets?, and no one raised their hand. So I think it’s, y’know, I mean I support the Second Amendment, absolutely, I support the right of law-abiding citizens to bear arms, and as I say I’m a gun owner myself. 39:32
Cathy Wurzer: Are you in favor of gun licensing and registration? 39:36
Mark Dayton: I support Minnesota laws that exist today. 39:38
Cathy Wurzer: Okay. Representative En- Representative Emmer, excuse me, there are law-abiding gun owners out there. How do you keep handguns out of the wrong hands? 39:47
Tom Emmer: Well, first off, you don’t go at it with the assumption that everybody who owns a handgun is in the wrong hands. And Senator, I , you know, when you have an “F” rating from the NRA, I don’t think it came from one vote. I think it came from many different votes at the federal level. Y’know what, I believe in gun ownership. I believe in Second Amendment rights. Frankly, I don’t believe that you need to have state laws, we have a U.S. Constitution that gives us that right. But as long as we have those state laws, we should enforce them as they exist. 40:19
Cathy Wurzer: And, Tom Horner. 40:21
Tom Horner: Well I agree, I think we ought to enforce the laws that exist. And I would support the Minnesota laws as they exist right now. 40:27
Cathy Wurzer: So gun registration…40:30
Tom Horner: I would support the Minnesota laws, right 40:31.
Eric Eskola: How about how about there’s been a proposal to reduce some sentences on low-level drug offenders as a way to perhaps reduce recidivism and ease the expense of prison, expenses in corrections, expenses in Minnesota, is there some review of sentencing policy that might be in order? 40:49
Tom Horner: Yeah, absolutely! I mean I think we do have to take a look at that and I think we have to be thoughtful about it. But I think if we’re just going to reduce the sentencing, that’s the shortsighted answer. I think we have to do it in the context of “what next?” What then? How do we make sure that these people have the opportunity to get the job training skills that they need, how do we grow the economy so that the jobs are available, how do we make sure that we’re investing upfront in the kinds of programs that help us prevent the imprisonment in the first place? And I think that goes back to things like early childhood education, making sure we have good K-12 schools, making sure we’re intervening with kids, making sure that we do have some opportunities for kids, after school, during the summer. These don’t all have to be government programs. There are good private sector nonprofit programs out there. It’s government’s role, I think, to set a good vision and in some cases good policy, and we ought to take a look and keep challenging ourselves to ask whether or not we still are doing best by all of our citizens. 41:50
Eric Eskola: Representative Emmer, what do you think about a review of sentences to see if you, maybe some of the low-level drug crimes not be as severely sentenced? 41:56
Tom Emmer: Well here’s, here’s the thing. The overriding concern is about public safety. And it’s about rehabilitation. The problem that I think we’re having all across this country which we should be very careful with, is who defines what as a low-level offense and what are we talking about in terms of the sentencing? I agree, we should review all sentences all the time to make sure that we’re accomplishing our goals when it comes to public safety and rehabilitation of the people that have violated the laws and are being released back into society. But the thing that I disagree with vehemently is where states are starting to CHANGE laws and ignore existing laws because of budget cuts. You actually have to get back to once again, doing what I’ve been a broken record about. Ya gotta reform government and ya gotta make it more efficient and you gotta start growing jobs again. Because it’s those growing jobs in the private sector that pay for the things that we expect government to provide. One of which is our public safety and probably the most important obligation. 42:50
Mark Dayton: I think you’re (UNCLEAR), public safety absolutely should be the paramount concern. But I believe you’re referring to the Alternative Sentencing Courts for returning veterans. And it’s recognized that returning Iraq and Afghan war veterans have been under enormously stressful conditions as I had witnessed a few times when I was over there, y’know, deserve our consideration. If they’re acting based on serious emotional aftereffects of those experiences, or y’know under the influence of chemicals, based in part on that, and y’know I think those kinds of alternative sentencing approaches need to be looked at and see if they’re effective or not. I visited the Faribault Medium Security Prison a couple of months ago and the warden said that 95% of the 2,000 men who were incarcerated there, 95% of them were committed for either crimes under the influence of drugs or to raise money for the support of those habits. So from a public expense standpoint, if we can look at ways that we can intervene in advance, and prevent those kinds of crimes form being committed against society, then we should look so to do so. 43:53
Cathy Wurzer: Representative Emmer brought up jobs again, growing jobs. And I’m curious about this. I’m gonna, kind of take a bit of a turn here. When you talk to people and you interview them about the recession, and many people are REALLY angry about losing jobs to outsourcing. Jobs going overseas. And there have been efforts on the federal level to curtail outsourcing. Would you as Governor Dayton be willing to look at some kind of state law to curtail Minnesota jobs from going overseas? 44:21
Mark Dayton: Well, I don’t think we can turn back the hands of time. And I’ve been to China six times this decade. And I’ve seen some of those 1.3 billion people willing to work and work very hard for 60, 70 cents an hour. Jobs that used to be here. What we need to do is replace those jobs with the jobs of the future, and that’s where the education system is so vitally important. Well-educated people become the entrepreneurs, they start successful businesses, and then they find other well-educated people to be the employees of those businesses and the studies have shown the recent Kaufman Report looks at where people locate these start-up companies. And they are in areas like Minneapolis and St. Paul. Because we do have, we need to continue an education system, one of the reasons that losing our public infrastructure and our transportation quality is so detrimental is because those are also key decisions. So I think we need to look to the future. 45:10
Cathy Wurzer: So you would not, you wouldn’t even look at sanctions –
Mark Dayton: I don’t –
Cathy Wurzer: – the horse is out of the barn when it comes to outsourcing 45:14
Mark Dayton: – I mean it’s really more of a federal tax issue. And we should not, Congress should not be providing tax incentives or advantages for companies
Cathy Wurzer: Okay.
Mark Dayton: – that shift jobs overseas. But as a practical matter I don’t think you can put up rigid barriers any longer in this global economy. 45:26
Cathy Wurzer: Tom Emmer, what do you think about outsourcing? 45:28
Tom Emmer: I would look at laws and policies. It’s not just a Minnesota problem, this is an American problem. It’s about being competitive. Not only in this country but in the world. And our tax policies and our regulatory burdens that we’ve created in the state of Minnesota in the united States of America have frankly made us less than competitive. So I’ve already proposed. You IMMEDIATELY have to reduce the corporate franchise tax in the state of Minnesota. Why? When you combine Minnesota’s corporate franchise tax, which is 9.8%,
Cathy Wurzer: Is that the same as corporate income tax 45:56
Tom Emmer: Some call it the corporate income tax, when you combine that 9.8% with the federal corporate tax, we have the third highest in the world. You reduce it by a couple of points over the next two years. You free up resources for our businesses, to start making capital purchases and to start hiring people again. Same with small businesses. We would propose a 10% exclusion on pass-through income. A lot of people don’t understand, Senator, that small businesses identified as S-corporations, LLCs, those people don’t file corporate tax returns, they file individual tax returns. 46:25
Cathy Wurzer: Okay. 46:27
Tom Emmer: What we’re proposing is a 10% exclusion on gross earnings, which will put about 160 million into their hands over the next two years to start hiring and growing business. The key Cathy is to make sure that Minnesota’s business environment, tax environment, AND the regulatory burdens make it competitive for them to produce in Minnesota again. 46:46
Cathy Wurzer: (To Horner) Would you do anything with outsourcing at all – 46:48
Tom Horner: Well, I, yeah –
Cathy Wurzer: People are so upset about that. 46:50
Tom Horner: Absolutely! And it’s not just a question of budget issues or tax issues. It’s a much more complicated issue, as so many of these things are, where we lose the nuance in this political posturing. One of the real challenges that we face is, talk to our universities today. And how many fewer students are going into the courses in IT infrastructure. In really understanding what we need to design the information technology of the future. Because that’s part of what we’re exporting. We’re losing that intellectual capital. And so, is it cheaper for some of our companies to export that and be more competitive? Absolutely. In the short term. We need to look longer term. And so one of the things we ought to do is look at how do we incent Minnesota companies to keep that talent here? Because we do have to acknowledge the cost . But we’d better be developing that skill level. We can’t export our intellectual capital and that’s exactly what we’re doing. That’s the shortsightedness that we’re getting out of policies that just look in the rear-view mirror. 47:54
Eric Eskola: You’ve got five (UNCLEAR) 47:55
Mark Dayton: I agree with that, because and I visited a solar company just the other day in the Twin Cities. That is having the panels manufactured in China because of the lower cost, but the intellectual effort, the new technology, innovation, 48:07
Cathy Wurzer: The designing 48:07
Mark Dayton: is, is what’s being applied here. And that’s the key to our future success. That’s why our education system is so vitally important. 48:13
Tom Emmer: But why should we be happy that they’re manufacturing 48:16
Mark Dayton: I’m not happy.
Tom Emmer: the solar panels? 48:17
Mark Dayton: I’m not happy at all.
Tom Emmer: – in China?
Mark Dayton: But I would –
Tom Emmer: We should have BOTH here. 48:19
Mark Dayton: Well
Tom Emmer: That’s what we have to crate. 48:21
Mark Dayton: – because they’re being paid 60, 70 cents an hour. 48:23
Tom Horner: Yeah but to get there, to get there, lookit. I’ll give you a great example. There’s a terrific company in the Twin Cities called Recon Robotics. Came out of engineering at the University of Minnesota. Programs that likely would be cut and wouldn’t exist. Basic research. It, it is a company that is based in Minnesota, it’s being manufactured in Winona, it’s going to create a whole new industry around nanorobotics. That’s where we need to be investing. That comes from investing in higher education, in research, in the future. 48:51
Eric Eskola: I wanna ask kind of a personality question to end, end the debate tonight. You get up one morning and you look in the mirror and you say “I should be Governor.” Is that great self confidence, or a great ego, or great confidence in your own abilities? What’s going on in your thought processes to say that? 49:10
Tom Emmer: If you’re askin me Eric, I don’t think it happens that way. I don’t think you get up one day and say that – this is the job that I should be doing. I think it happens because of timing. Where you are at a certain point and time in your life. And then encouragement that you get from people that you trust. Which is what happened to me. Then you get into the process, which I did almost 16 months ago now. And as you go thorugh the process you realize “You know what? I am prepared to do this job.” And God willing, the good people of the state of Minnesota, will give us the opportunity to do the job because we do offer something different than my colleagues. We offer this experience from outside of government. Trying to raise a big family under the burdens created by government? Higher taxes, more regulation? Trying to run a small business, understanding what it’s like to meet a payroll in a small business? I think it’s time for people like us to take a leadership role and ownership in our future. 50:02
Eric Eskola: What is it about you? When you look in the mirror and say “I can do this job”? 50:04
Mark Dayton: Well, it comes from a conviction that Minnesota’s headed in the word direction. And then to go out in the process, I’ve had 114 community meetings, and I’ve been all over the state as I have for the last 35 years, and connecting with people in their lives, and find out y’know what’s happening. And have, people y’know crying because they’ve lost their jobs or because a private company has cut their pensions or go to a classroom and see a teacher with 35 children in a fifth-grade classroom in Rochester. And realize you know that I believe I can offer a better direction in Minnesota that’s gonna help us realize the future that we want for our state. And that reconnects with the greatness of our citizens and with policies that up until now have failed them. And that education is the key and is half of our budget. And the investment that we make in education is going to be crucial to determining the future and the jobs that people are going to want to have. And can be successful then in raising families with in the future. 50:56
Eric Eskola (To Horner): You, you come at this without previous electoral experience. 50:58
Tom Horner: Right,
Eric Eskola: How, how –
Tom Horner: – and isn’t that a great asset? Y’know and so for me, it really was about hope. It hasn’t been a lifetime spent in government or running for office as Senator Dayton, or half of an adult career as Representative Emmer. I’ve spent my career in community service and in business. I think those are the assets that Minnesota needs. But I really approached it when I was talking to my wife Libby. About hope, about what the future ought to hold. How we make this great state a place where our three kids can enjoy the professional success that we’ve had, but also can enjoy civic success? And my trust in Minnesotans that this is a year in which they need to get beyond voting out of fear. They can’t vote against somebody. My, my pitch to them is, y’know, a vote for Horner is a vote for Horner. Vote for the future. Vote for innovation. Vote for moving forward. 51:47
Eric Eskola: Thank all of you candidates for being so patient with the electorate over the past few months. How many debates has it been? 51:53
Cathy Wurzer: This is twenty-nine. Number thirty’s comin up. 51:55
Eric Eskola: All right. Well good luck on Tuesday. Thanks for being here.
Tom Horner.: Thank you.
Eric Eskola: Thanks for joining us tonight! Special thanks to our citizens, and Mary and Rachel, the rest of the colleagues at the Star Tribune. Election Day is Tuesday and we want you to join our TPT Election Night coverage online, on Twitter and Facebook. Mary and I will be reporting from candidate headquarters, and we want you to join the conversation. Here’s how you do that. On Twitter we’ll be using the hashtag of #tptvote. That’s #tptvote, or you can also go to our Web site on election night. We have a special page for you there and that is tpt.org/social. And you can join the conversation there as well. That Web site again is tpt.org/social.