MN Hospitality Advocate

Dayton Leads the DFL Field, Emmer tops Republicans

Posted in Elections by hospitalityminnesota on June 20, 2010

KSTP released a statewide poll taken last week showing Mark Dayton with a 39 percent to 26 percent lead overĀ  the DFL endorsed candidate, Margaret Anderson Kelliher. DFLer Matt Entenza, who is also running in the primary, has 22 percent support.

Voters were asked that if the primary election were held today, which DFL candidate they would support to face Republican Tom Emmer and the endorsed Independence Party candidate, Tom Horner. The same poll showed Dayton as the only DFL candidate capable of beating Tom Emmer, the Republican candidate. The poll had a 500 sample size and a 4.5 percent margin of error.

I have been saying for more than a month that likely to win the DFL primary. Here are my reasons: First, Dayton knows how to craft a simple and effective message and stay on task. Second, he appeals to the senior voters. This is important because we’ve moved the primary one month earlier to August, and seniors will be among the most likely to vote. Senior also like Dayton for his earlier work on the cost of prescription drugs. Third, he brings tremendous personal resources to the campaign. Money isn’t everything, but it means a great deal in politics these days, and Dayton has the money to get out his message.

Of course, I thought R. T. Rybak would gain the DFL endorsement and Marty Seiffert would win the Republican endorsement, so what do I know?

On the other side of the aisle, it seems almost assured that Rep. Tom Emmer will take the Republican primary. He is a formidable candidate with tremendous passion and a strong vision for change in Minnesota. While Dayton, Kelliher and Entenza have all publicly supported tax increases as a major piece of solving our state’s budget shortfall, Emmer has not. He has talked much more about reforming government and restructuring the delivery of our services.

For political watchers, this is quite a time.

David Siegel, CAE, IOM
Minnesota Restaurant, Lodging and Resort & Campground Associations and Hospitality Minnesota

Can Hospitality Escape this Session Without a Tax Increase?

Posted in Elections, General Advocacy, Restaurant Issues, State Laws, Uncategorized by hospitalityminnesota on May 14, 2010

Given the tremendous budget pressure the legislature has faced throughout the session, now amplified by the unallotment ruling of the Supreme Court, to escape this legislative session without a tax increase would be a major industry accomplishment. With just days to go and a major gap before them, several legislative leaders brought forward the idea of a liquor tax.

Our folks on the inside suggest that this is not likely to happen this year for a couple of reasons. First because Governor Pawlenty has been resolute in his opposition to tax increases. Second, because we believe DFL leadership has liquor in its sights for the coming legislative session next year, when the state faces again a huge budget shortfall and a new governor sits at the State house.

So, though it’s still too early to bring out the cheering squad, we are cautiously optimistic that we escape this session without any statewide lodging, liquor, food or beverage taxes. If we do avoid a tax consider that a tremendous victory for our industry.

What about the impact of this session regarding other areas of operation? Thus far, we’ve managed to fend off virtually all harmful legislation, and to modify those we haven’t defeated, such as ignition interlocks. We’ll be sure to provide an industry wrap up outlining the impacts of the session overall.

David Siegel, CAE, IOM
Minnesota Restaurant, Lodging and Resort & Campground Associations and Hospitality Minnesota

Minnesota Legislature Pace Slows

Posted in Elections, General Advocacy, Health Care Reform, Lodging Issues, Resort Issues, Restaurant Issues, State Laws by hospitalityminnesota on April 14, 2010

The Minnesota legislature is in a bit of a holding pattern right now. Here’s the situation. State legislators facing a $900 Million budget shortfall have made cuts to achieve about 1/3 of the necessary savings. They are holding off on further action awaiting word on the impact locally of the federal health care insurance reform bill. The state is anticipated to receive some additional dollars as a result of changes in that legislation, but it’s unclear the full amount.

In addition, the party conventions are slated to take place in just a few weeks. Because so many current legislators in leadership are running for Governor, they are reluctant to take controversial stands on issues such as budget cuts prior to the nominating conventions. Much of the remainder of the session will depend on the outcome of the nominating process. We’ll be on top of it and keep you posted.

David Siegel, CAE, IOM
Minnesota Restaurant, Lodging and Resort & Campground Associations and Hospitality Minnesota

Tagged with: , ,

Charlie Cook Provides 2010 Election Insights

Posted in Elections, General Advocacy, Uncategorized by hospitalityminnesota on November 20, 2009

I’m at a conference for state restaurant association executives (Council of State Restaurant Association Execuives – CSRA) and we had the privilege of kicking off the event with remarks by well-known political pundit Charlie Cook.

Cook said the 2008 election presented the perfect situation for Democrats. Key in the election, independent voters swung Democratic by an 18 point margin. He likened the environment to that of a well-cared for greenhouse in that election. But in 2010, Cook points out that the greenhouse has blown away and winter is arriving for the Democrats. The question is how powerful will that winter storm be?

Conditions favoring Republican gains in Congress include the following:

  • a terrible economy (most Americans still don’t believe we are out of the recession)
  • high unemployment that is likely to remain so (we’ve lost 50% more jobs in this recession than in a ‘normal’ recession). It will likely remain in double digits through the year and 12 consecutive months of double-digit unemployment is bad for any party.
  • 4.3% of homes are in foreclosure and 8% are delinquent and for 32% of homeowners their loan is upside down (loan is greater than the value of the home).

While Americans aren’t likely to blame President O’Bama solely, each day that goes by he owns more of the problem and people wonder why the President’s policies aren’t working, Cook said.

Those key independent voters who were strongly Democrat are now moving Republican. “They are wondering if this is the cruise they signed up for,” said Cook. They continue to like O’Bama but not Democratic leadership in Congress.

The signs are there for major issues in the coming election for Democrats. “Danger Will Robinson,” said Cook.

Despite reading these tea leaves, Cook said it’s unlikely that Republicans will take the majority in the Senate. In the U.S. House, a 12 to 25 seat flip is possible, but it will be a challenge to swap enough seats for Republicans to take control.

The Republican party still has a high unfavorable rating and brand identity problems. Of course, much can happen in 12 months.

Cook predicts that health care reform will ultimately pass, but that the Democrats have used a great deal of political capital in passing the bill. “I think they read too many of their own clips,” Cook said, and suggested that O’Bama’s decision to pursue health care reform in this economic environment was a major strategic blunder.

David Siegel, CAE, IOM
Minnesota Restaurant, Lodging and Resort & Campground Associations