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Gruenhagen responds to letters

To the Editor:
I welcome the opportunity to respond to my critics, Don Rudy and Gary Ballard.
On education:
There are several primary reasons why I voted “no” on the K-12 education omnibus funding bill. First, the bill spends millions to expand the control of the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) by establishing Regional Centers of Excellence. The MDE’s goal is to micro-manage local school districts and teachers. After serving for 16 years on the GSL school board, I have witnessed numerous boondoggle educational experimental mandates sent down by the MDE and the U.S. Department of Education such as the Profile of Learning, Outcome-Based Education, Goals 2000, Race to the Top and Common Core, etc.
These unproven educational experiments on students waste billions of tax dollars and do nothing for academic achievement. In addition, the DFL eliminated the “Graduation Rule” for high school students. The graduation rule was an academic test that students had to pass in order to graduate. Since being implemented, the grad rule has resulted in double-digit gains in academics for all students, but especially inner-city minority students, reducing the achievement gap between Caucasian and minority students. Minnesota has one of the worse achievement gaps in the U.S. This problem seriously damages the future for thousands of minority students and also dramatically increases our social welfare costs.
Eliminating the grad rule takes Minnesota education a step backward to social promotion. Social promotion passes children from one grade level to the next, regardless of their academic achievement. The practice of social promotion has resulted in approximately 40 percent of graduates entering college needing to take remedial math and English courses, driving up their college cost.
I am a strong supporter of local school district control and support additional funding to local school districts on the student formula which allows local school boards and administration to spend the tax dollars in the classroom where learning actually takes place and not on bloated government bureaucracy.
The bullying bill passed last session is another unfunded mandate on local schools. Not one Republican voted for the bill. It is also a gay activist bill. The DFL House author thanked two gay activist organizations, GLESEN and Outfront Minnesota, for allowing him to carry the bill. The intent is to mandate sexually explicit material down into the elementary grades. See Minnesota Child Protection League for more info.  
On higher
education spending
I voted for the House bill that froze tuition and added $100 million of new funding to the University of Minnesota and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MNSCU) with good reforms and accountability.
Unfortunately, in conference committee with the Senate and governor, the final DFL bill added an additional $150 million of spending with little reforms or accountability. I will not vote to spend additional hard-earned taxpayer dollars without reforms and accountability measures included in the legislation.
On minimum wage:
The Congressional budget office, a nonpartisan federal agency, estimates that nationally raising the minimum wage to $10 will eliminate approximately 500,000 private-sector jobs in our nation.  Both the Chamber of Commerce and National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) opposed the minimum wage bill because of the negative effect on small and mid sized businesses. Unskilled labor and minority youth will be hit hardest by this loss of private sector jobs.
The way to raise wages is by having a competitive tax and regulatory system, which will allow the private sector to grow and prosper. In North Dakota, the starting wage at McDonald’s is $15 per hour and at Walmart it is $20 per hour, but it is not mandated, it is a result of a booming economy. We could experience the same in Minnesota but not by government mandate, which only hurts our businesses and the less fortunate in our communities. Mandating an increase in the minimum wage is based on misguided legislation rather than sound economic principles and tax reform.
On global warming:
Gary Ballard is right about one thing: I do not believe in the “theory” of global warming as promoted by Al Gore and the United Nations (UN). And, in fact, the global warming alarmists have now switched the name of their theory to “climate change” because the facts no longer line up. CFACT.org verifies there has been NO global warming in 16 years.
The 31,000 U.S. scientists (9,000 with PhDs) who signed the petition opposing the global warming theory are constantly denigrated by tax-subsidized scientists eager to keep their gravy train of tax dollars flowing for their research. Please realize that scientists reporting evidence for climate change are receiving billions of tax dollars in subsidies and those scientists who expose the lies of climate change are not.
The promotion of the Cap and Trade Tax is a scheme based on the theory of global warming. It will do nothing for our environment, but it will cost our economy billions of tax dollars, which will be transferred to the UN and other under-developed countries, driving up the cost of energy, goods and services.     
The International Climate Science Coalition, The Heartland Institute, and CFACT, are just three of the credible organizations publishing scientific critiques of the fraudulent pseudo science of global warming.
On Nov. 4, please vote for candidates who oppose waste, fraud and abuse in government and require accountability on the expenditure of your hard earned tax dollars.
State Rep.
Glenn Gruenhagen
R-Glencoe