Reality Check: The Budget Battle Ads

ST. PAUL (WCCO) — More budget meetings at the state capitol, but there was very little progress. So groups with an interest in the fight are turning to TV, in an attempt to win the battle of public opinion.

But when that happens, it’s time for a Reality Check.

The air war has begun. Liberals, conservatives and political committees are spending more than a million dollars in the next few weeks, including the conservative Taxpayer’s League. They claim republicans are spending a billion dollars more on education.

Their ad states, “Our state legislators passed a balanced budget that raises spending by 12 percent. Their budget spends a billion more on education.”

This is FALSE.

Minnesota spent $13.8 billion on schools last year, including $500 million in stimulus funding to keep teachers from getting laid off.

This year’s budget is $14.3 billion. So there is an increase — $466 million.


State law requires automatic spending hikes for every new student enrolling in a Minnesota school. And this year, there are 16,000 more kids than last year.

Adding it all up — the education bill spends about $40 million less on schools than it did before.

Here’s what you NEED TO KNOW.

Republicans say they’re making up that difference through school reforms, and other cuts, including $100 million in cuts to help schools integrate and $50 million in cuts to programs for special education students.

This is particularly tough. Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed the republican education bill, calling it “extreme.”

Republicans say they’re giving Dayton almost all he wants.

More from Pat Kessler
  • demssux


  • Benny

    This guy is so left it makes me sick. He was called on it a few months ago on the news with Frank V. (just as left) and said no he has no affiliation. What a joke.

    • Paul Solinger

      Benny, if there are any facts in this story that you dispute, please tell us what they are. Also, please include a source so we can verify it. Pat includes sources for his story, and everything he says appears to be the truth.

      It says a lot when reporters are considered “left wing” simply for reporting the truth.

      • Benny

        You don’t even know your bias, as I’m sure he doesn’t but you are. That is why fox news has become so dominant in America, Most Americans are right of center and are fed up with left leaning broadcasters. I am not disputing the facts, I am stating the tone and effort put into negative storys on republicans is differant than with demacrats. Its very obvious to someone that does not think like a left winger.

        • Greg

          The Democratic ads presented no facts for Kessler to point out the were false. The rubes posting here kill the messenger when they can’t stand the message. and are incapable of a factual rebuttal.

  • Joey

    Mr. Kessler’s bias is in the negatives he likes to point out. The stuff he writes probaly is factual, but he will never do a negative story on the Demacrats themselves and if he is making a neagtive piont regarding the Dems, you can bet your ax he’ll have something just as bad if not worse about the Republicans. I listen to him alot and I can here it in his voice.

    • Greg

      See my above post

  • Lyle

    This type of misleading reporting is why people have a distrust of news and why the electorate cannot make informed decisions. The Minnesota school budget for last year was $13.3 billion, not $13.8 billion as Pat stated. So doing the math of 14.3 – 13.5 equals $1 billion. The add is correct Mr Kessler, and if you want the extra $500 million, contact the President. When I heard this last night it went by so quick that I was not sure whether you were including the 500 million or not, now I know you did. Shame on you

    • Jason

      You beat me to the punch Lyle. The story was simply ridiculous.

    • Chris

      I did the same thing when I read the text of this– doing the math of subtracting the $500 million from the 13.8 B total spending. But the key here Lyle is that you need to think of the total amount SPENT on education, not budgeted. If you recall that during the depths of the recession of 2008-09, state budget revenue was way down, prompting the stimulus funding by the Federal government that helped avoid massive layoffs of teachers and education personnel (that $500 million one-time education aid).
      Without the Federal stimulus funding, the Republicans propose to spend 14.3 B on education. This is an increase in total SPENDING of approximately $500 million. When you factor in the additional 16,000 students in the system and the state-mandated costs for each student, then you end up with the shortfall stated in the story.
      Now, please tell, is this slanted to the left or just a little bit of elaboration on the facts of the matter? Stop focusing on your own bias about the media and put your own thinking cap on.

  • Reasonable

    Lyle is a fine example of what cutting special education will do!

  • Jason H

    Reality Check, huh? Nowhere close.

    Let me provide a real-life example. Let’s say I receive $100,000 inheritance this year and I spend it all in the same year. Next year, when I plan my personal budget, do I include the same $100,000 in spending for the new year? Of course not! It was never planned for originally and it won’t be there next year; therefore it shouldn’t be part of the conversation. You are deceiving the public when you include it in your calculations, WCCO.

    Now let’s talk reality:

    Budget Increase: The Republicans are not lying when they say they’re adding $1 billion to the budget for education over last year’s budget. The stimulus money was never included in the current budget nor should it be included in any future budgets. It was a gift from the taxpayers of this country and the fact that it no longer exists in the new budget should not be considered a cut. Lay off the “little girl” in the ad, Pat. She’s telling the truth and you aren’t.
    New Students: Let’s do a little math. 16,000 new students. $1 billion increase in the budget. Assuming all other costs stay the same, that’s over $60,000 per student for the year. I will admit that I don’t know our current per-student allocation, but I am willing to bet it is a fraction of this increase. To be fair, some of the $1 billion would go to increases in the cost of doing business, but don’t try to trick people to thinking that there are cuts in the budget due to your crazy math.

    Reality Check: Pat Kessler and WCCO pander to the left and no one at WCCO can rightfully say they don’t. If you disagree, ask them to do some real investigation, like asking Gov. Dayton what he plans to do with the extra $1 billion+ in revenues he thinks he will get when he raise taxes on the upper 2%. Last I heard, he has no spending plan or balance budget plan…he simply has a revenue plan. Then ask him what he plans to do when the job creators start moving out of the state and he doesn’t get the revenues he is dreaming about.

    • Durp

      Jason H
      This is the same old talking points of 6 months ago. If WCCO panders to the left and this makes you mad WHY DO YOU READ IT????? I am so sick of people crying about this kind of stuff and then leaving a post that they do not like it. If you cannot understand FACTS that is your problem. If you think they are pandering to the left this is also your problem and maybe you should check the last reality check as this was aimed at the ads that are out there supporting Dayton. Wipe your nose and stop crying as was your decision to log on this site and read this story. Maybe you would like to start visiting a different site then, and do not worry you will not be missed.

  • scott

    How about including the links to the numbers being quoted so that we can all see the reality in the facts. And do not include one time gifts if they are not in the normal revenue stream or at least explain that point better.

  • Jeff

    Why not do a reality check on the the union ad? Having a state worker saying that the Republicans want to shut down the govt. That is such BS. No one wants to shut down the govt. It just comes down to two different ideas. It’s called checks and balance. Blaming one group or another is Wrong, and not correcting the ad with your reality check is pure bias.. Shame on you Pat and WCCO for not doing your job and slanting the news to the left.

  • Louise Dahlgren

    With the situation of shutting down nursing homes and/or decling services for Medicare/Medicaid individuals is genocide! It is not the governor’s fault but the Republicans who refuse to raise taxes for the wealthiest in our state. What has happened to my Minnesota? I guess if you are elderly, poor or cannot afford health services one may just need to hire another Kevorkian. The Republicans need to do what is humane and just for this state. They are actually going to kill us.

  • Helen Bohrer

    Legisiators and the governor get your job done!! If I walked out of my job or didn’t get it done I would be fired. For the governor to tax the higher paid people and not the middle class but put the middle class out of a job just doesn’t make sense. He is still making the middle class pay for everyone!! If a contractor doesn’t get the job done on time he loses money and in some cases gets penalized. How you think you can even get paid and get per deim for a job not done is beyond me. This has become a bad habit from long ago for the legisiators to get an extra pay check. It has to stop. You are the shepherds and we are the flocks. You are not taking very good care of us. We vote you in to work together for the good of all and all you can think of is yourself. The stubborn attitudes, greed and power trips must end. If you are in it for your own prestige or love for debate and the life long pension please do not run again. I will only vote for the people that say they will get the job done when they are supposed to and won’t let themselves get swallowed up by the good old boys that have been there for so long. The bad habits have to stop. I have heard many people saying they would like to be on the capitol steps letting you know how they feel. Times are hard now and the flocks will scatter and you will have the riots of Greece here before you know it. We need leaders that have some finanical sense and will use it. The banks and politicians are ruining the state and country.

    • Jeremy

      Oh don’t fool yourself… or others. This is a vacation for most state employees.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Thursday Night Football

Listen Live