Archive for the ‘Pork’ Category
Last night on Red Eye, Greg Gutfeld and John Bolton got into talking about what’s wrong with government. Here’s their brief exchange that highlights their frustrations:
GUTFELD: This title — senior technical advisor to acting tax exempt and government entities division commissioner — is that title what’s wrong with government?
BOLTON: How about the administrative assistant to the assistant administrator of administration
GUTFELD: That’s a real title.
I know that Red Eye is mostly about sarcastic humor and that they don’t take themselves seriously but they’ve hit on something here. Governments that have employees with titles like these are too big by orders of magnitude. It’s impossible to manage something that size. Further, I’m wondering what these people’s salaries are. How many other people are employed by the federal government with equally appalling titles? If we eliminated these positions, would anyone notice? This goes back to Sen. Coburn’s Sequester This Youtube videos. I’m betting that Mssrs. Gutfeld and Bolton would agree with this video:
How much money is pissed away on employees with titles like the administrative assistant to the assistant administrator of administration or the senior technical advisor to the acting tax exempt and government entities division commissioner? I’ve written tons of articles about how bloated the federal government is. This article was the first I wrote about Sen. Coburn’s Sequester This series. This article highlights more of the federal government’s spending stupidity.
Thanks to Ambassador Bolton and Greg Gutfeld, we now have something concrete to grasp in terms of the federal government’s spending stupidity.
This article is the article everyone’s expected since Election Night. Unfortunately, it isn’t the article we’d been hoping for.
Thissen, Gov. Mark Dayton and Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk of Cook said they agreed on spending targets and will give conference committees a few other guidelines, such as:
- The sales tax would not rise on consumer goods, including clothing, but businesses could pay sales tax on goods sold to other businesses.
- Income taxes would go up on people in the top 2 percent of Minnesota earners, couples with $250,000 or more taxable income.
- An income tax surcharge would be added for Minnesota’s richest of the rich, with proceeds going to help repay money the state has borrowed from school districts.
- Cigarette taxes would rise.
- Some business tax breaks would disappear.
- All-day kindergarten would be funded.
- The state would spend $400 million in property tax relief, such as by increasing aid sent to local governments.
Thanks to this agreement, companies will leave Minnesota. Businesses staying will get with multiple tax increases. Businesses will get charged sales taxes on services. Additionally, they’ll get hit with higher income tax rates. That’s bad enough but that isn’t all. Current deductions will get eliminated, too.
Why would a business stay in Minnesota and absorb all those tax increases in a single year? The simple answer is many won’t.
The supposed property tax relief is a mirage. When liberal mayors get their increased LGA checks, it won’t go towards property tax relief. It’ll go towards increased spending. That isn’t a prediction. It’s noting what’s happened in the past without fail. Anyone that thinks Chris Coleman won’t increase spending on things that aren’t necessities isn’t paying attention. He’s done it in the past. He’s a creature of habit. He’ll do it again.
The three Democrats said middle-income Minnesotans would not pay more taxes other than for cigarettes. But when reporters pushed him on the subject, Dayton said that some of the business taxes could trickle down to consumers in higher prices.
Whether it’s in the form of a direct tax increase or it’s in the form of higher prices charged by businesses who’ve gotten hit with a tax increase, the net effect is that the middle class will get hit with higher prices, leaving people with less money to spend on the things of their choosing.
Most importantly, this budget won’t strengthen Minnesota’s economy. The best outcome we should expect from this budget and these policies is that it won’t hurt the economy too much. Fewer jobs will be created as a result of the tax bill. Company profits will be significantly smaller. People will have less disposable income thanks to the energy bill that’s about to get signed.
Gov. Dayton has sent out emails touting a “better budget for Minnesota.” That’s what we deserve. Unfortunately, the DFL has seen to it to give us this budget, which doesn’t strengthen Minnesota’s economy.
This weekend, RNC National Committeeman Jeff Johnson announced his candidacy to be the next governor of Minnesota. The DFL’s response was predictable:
DFL Chairman Ken Martin said Minnesotans will notice his ambition.
“Jeff Johnson is a classic politician trying to climb the ladder. He left the Minnesota House of Representatives to run for Attorney General and failed,” Martin said. “Now after a short time as a Hennepin County Commissioner, he wants to run for another statewide seat. Minnesotans will recognize this personal, restless ambition for what it is.”
The Alliance for a Better Minnesota released a statement from Executive Director Carrie Lucking in response to Johnson’s campaign.
“Jeff Johnson will ask Minnesotans to forget his record o extreme votes at the expense of the middle class during his time at the legislature,” Lucking said. “Amnesia is not a winning platform for Minnesotans in 2014.”
Ken Martin’s response is feeble. If he thinks winning election to more than one office is a bad thing, then he’d better apologize for One-and-Done-Dayton. Gov. Dayton served a single term as State Auditor. Later, he served a single term as U.S. senator. Now, he’s Minnesota’s governor.
While both men have held more than one elected office, that’s where the similarity ends. Jeff Johnson hasn’t had to rewrite his entire budget like Gov. Dayton has. In fact, Gov. Dayton has rewritten his budget twice, once in 2011, once this year. Jeff Johnson hasn’t been rated one of America’s “Five Worst Senators” by Time magazine. Likewise, Jeff Johnson wasn’t nicknamed “The Blunderer” for temporarily closing his DC Senate office in 2004 because of an imagined terrorist threat.
Another dissimilarity between Jeff Johnson and Gov. Dayton is Commissioner Johnson’s Golden Hydrant award:
The latest Golden Fire Hydrant award goes to the Property Tax Study Project, an endeavor Hennepin County has funded on and off for the past decade.
Bottom line (and pardon my crudeness): Government is giving the finger to the taxpayers of Hennepin County as it spends taxpayer money to lobby the legislature for increased taxes on those same taxpayers.
The Project began several years ago and is funded jointly by the counties of Hennepin, Ramsey and St. Louis, the cities of Minneapolis, St. Paul and Duluth and the school districts of those same three cities. Each entity allocates approximately $10,000 each year to the Project.
The Project essentially funds one “consultant” (who happens to work for Matt Entenza’s liberal Minnesota 2020 think tank) year after year to prepare a report that pretty consistently says the same thing: Minnesotans are not taxed enough. That report is then used to lobby the legislature for increased taxes, apparently in hopes of obtaining more money for cities, counties and school districts in Minnesota.
Isn’t it great that taxpayers funds a consultant for a progressive think tank? If you think, like most people think, that think tanks should be funded privately, then you’ll agree with Jeff Johnson, not Gov. Dayton.
Ms. Lucking, is highlighting the metro slush fund for MN2020 one of those “extreme votes at the expense of the middle class” that you’re referring to? I’m betting that protecting taxpayers’ wallets is better than ignoring liberal local government contributes to a liberal slush fund.
Gov. Dayton needlessly shut down state government two years ago. Now, with a dysfunctional DFL legislature, he’s wasting the taxpayers’ money while chasing businesses from Minnesota. It’s time Minnesota dumps Gov. Dayton once and for all. We can’t afford 4 more years of his counterproductive policies.
True to their waste-aholic history, the DFL legislature voted against government accountability:
A commission designed to judge whether state agencies, councils or boards have outlived their usefulness may itself cease to exist.
The Democratic-controlled House and Senate have voted to abolish the Sunset Advisory Commission, a 12-member commission championed by Republicans as offering greater accountability and efficiency in state government.
“I think they’re (Democrats) scared,” Rep. Joyce Peppin, R-Rogers, said of taking tough votes on the commission.
A product of 2011 legislation, the Sunset Advisory Commission is patterned after a 30-year-old commission in Texas, one billed as having saved the Lone Star State almost $1 billion at a cost of about $33 million.
Minnesota’s Sunset Commission reviews state agencies and recommends whether a given agency should continue to exist.
Rep. Peppin is right. DFL legislators don’t want to vote on wasteful spending. DFL legislators don’t want to admit that their pet agencies, councils and panels are actually patronage positions.
The DFL is spinning their vote:
The idea of duplication was voiced by another commission member, Rep. Michael Nelson, DFL-Brooklyn Park. “One of the tasks of the sunset commission is to get rid of duplicative government functions,” he said. There’s already the Office of the Legislative Auditor.
Why have both? Nelson asks.
Rep. Nelson, we need both because it’s apparent that there’s a ton of bloat in state government, things that the OLA hasn’t discussed.
As for Rep. Nelson’s assertion of duplication, I’d love hearing his explanation on what it’s duplicating. I’d love hearing him cite the times when the OLA has recommended the sunsetting of a commission, panel or council.
Sen. Bonoff’s statement needs ridiculing:
Bonoff, like other Democrats, argues the commission is itself duplicative. “If committee chairs are doing their jobs, they should be doing this kind of detailed oversight,” she said.
There’s a simple explanation for Sen. Bonoff: the chairs have never gotten into this type of detailed oversight. The Sunset Advisory Commission would’ve been a great tool that forced the legislature to deal with commissions, councils and panels that outlived their usefulness.
Furthermore, does any thinking person think that the DFL would investigate the importance or relevance of these hideouts for their political cronies? Let’s get serious. When Keith Downey proposed reducing the state workforce by 15% by not replacing retiring workers, Eliot Seide accused him of waging war “against working families.” What DFL legislator will vote for sunsetting these commissions, councils or panels knowing that they’ll get primaried by an AFSCME-endorsed candidate?
That’s why the Commission is essential.
Finally, this DFL legislature has repeatedly proven that they oppose accountability. The GOP legislature passed a bill that required teachers to pass a basic skills test, which Gov. Dayton signed. The DFL wants to repeal that law. The GOP legislature passed the Sunset Advisory Commission, which Gov. Dayton signed. The DFL legislature just voted to repeal that essential accountability legislation. Will Gov. Dayton reverse himself & say no to government accountability? If he does, he should prepare for getting labeled as a) a hypocrite, b) a cheap politician who does what’s popular, not what’s right and c) the unions’ puppet, not the public’s servant leader.
This week, the DFL legislature voted for higher pay for themselves, higher taxes on the middle class and less accountability within government. I don’t think that’s the bumper sticker they’ll want to deal with in 2014.
Tags: Terry Bonoff, Mike Nelson, Tom Bakk, Paul Thissen, Mark Dayton, Eliot Seide, AFSCME Council 5, Public Employee Unions, Cronyism, DFL, Sunset Advisory Commission, Accountability, Government Oversight, Reforms, MNGOP
The DFL’s Debt Bill, aka the bonding bill, is filled with foolish spending proposals. It’s an insult to Minnesota’s taxpayers that spends money on outright pork. Here’s the first example that caught my attention:
Subd. 3. Central Lakes College, Staples
Agriculture Reconfiguration and Main Building Renovation $3,458,000
To complete the design of and to renovate, furnish, and equip Staples main campus spaces for science, technology, and math initiatives, agriculture, and energy programs, and to replace HVAC systems.
That’s insulting. There’s another Central Lakes Community College campus in Brainerd. There’s also an online CLCC campus. It’s likely that online campuses will largely replace brick-and-mortar campuses within a decade. If that’s true, taxpayers will still be making the payments on this renovation after the buildings, and perhaps the entire Staples campus, is a part of history. Having people make interest payments on something that’s obsolete is the definition of stupidity. Here’s another definition of stupidity:
Subd. 4. Metropolitan State University Science Education Center Construction $31,000,000
To complete design and to construct, furnish, and equip the science education center on the campus of Metropolitan State University.
Which campus would this building be built on? Would it be built on the St. Paul Campus? Or the Minneapolis Campus? Might it be built on the Midway Campus? All that I’m certain of is that it wouldn’t be built on the Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Education Center campus.
Why are politicians putting these burdens on taxpayers when they should be revamping and consolidating these campuses? To spend tons of money on 34 colleges inhabiting 53 campuses is fiscally irresponsible. For those keeping track at home, that’s 35,000,000 spent on 2 projects. Here’s another set of projects that shouldn’t be approved:
Subd. 11. Systemwide energy renovation and additions $3,700,000
To design, renovate, demolish, construct, furnish, and equip space for workforce training and programs for energy and sustainable development. This appropriation may be used at the following campuses:
Anoka Technical College; Century College; Minnesota West Community and Technical College, Canby and Jackson; and Northeast Higher Education District, Itasca Community College.
It’s best to think of this spending as pork. Buying into the green energy economy is a total waste of money. It’s spending money on something that’s failed repeatedly. The green energy economy is based almost entirely on whether you’ve been a productive fundraiser for President Obama. It isn’t based on finding what’s the most efficient and least costly forms of energy.
This global appropriation is especially disturbing:
Subd. 4. State Trails Development $16,215,000
Are these projects that important? The argument is that it’s ‘a quality of life issue’. The truth is that it’s a pork issue. It isn’t enough that interest rates are low. It’s that these projects are a waste of money. Another argument is that these projects create jobs. I’d argue that they create more debt than jobs. I’d further argue that there’s better ways of creating these trails than by spending state money on them, then adding interest payments to the projects.
Finally, it’s insulting to hear the DFL call these bills jobs bills. There’s no such thing as a jobs bill. You can’t create longlasting jobs without creating wealth and capital. The DFL’s premise is that jobs are created by government spending money on things that don’t create wealth. That’s the premise that President Obama used in putting the stimulus together. We know that that failed. Why would we think that using the same premise on a smaller scale will create jobs?
It isn’t shocking to think that DFL politicians love overbloated government. Annually, they reflexively propose raising taxes. They love spending the taxpayers’ money on their political allies, too. Protecting union employees is one of their specialties. Two years ago, Gov. Dayton and the DFL threw a collective hissy fit when Keith Downey introduced his 15 by 2015 legislation. From that point forward, every union official seemingly started their sentences with “the Republicans’ war on working families.”
The first bill King Banaian submitted as a legislator was a bill that created the Sunset Advisory Commission. A miracle happened when Phyllis Kahn announced her support for King’s bill. After ending the government shutdown he created, Gov. Dayton signed King’s bill into law.
With the DFL back controlling the legislature and with Gov. Dayton still in office, they’re thinking about eliminating the Sunset Advisory Commission:
A budget bill in the Democratic-led House would get rid of the Minnesota Sunset Advisory Commission. The panel was created two years ago when Republicans were in charge. They touted it as a way to weed out government offices some people deem ineffective.
The commission met about a dozen times over the last couple of years and didn’t recommend cutting any government entities altogether. It did press for further reviews of some boards, including one that regulates combative sports like boxing and mixed martial arts.
The push to eliminate the Sunset Advisory Commission is in a broad budget bill that funds core government agencies.
It isn’t irony. It’s predictable. The DFL legislature, both Sen. Bakk and then-Minority Leader Thissen, used their picks to load up the panel with politicians like Matt Entenza. In short, their picks were people who wanted to undermine the law rather than work in good faith on protecting Minnesota’s taxpayers.
Here’s language from King’s bill:
Sunset Commission. Provides that the Sunset Commission consists of 12 members appointed as follows:
(1) four senators appointed according to the rules of the senate, with no more than three senators from the majority caucus;
(2) four members of the house of representatives, appointed by the speaker, with no more than three of the house members from the majority caucus;
(3) four members appointed by the governor.
All members serve at the pleasure of the appointing authority. With respect to governor appointees, provides two-year terms expiring in January of each odd-numbered year. Provides term limits for service on the commission.
Staff. Requires the Legislative Coordinating Commission to provide staff and administrative services for the commission.
Rules. Authorizes the commission to adopt rules to carry out this chapter.
Agency report to commission. Provides that before September 1 of the odd-numbered year in which a state agency is subject to sunset review, the agency commissioner shall report specified information to the commission. The September 1 deadline does not apply in 2011.
Commission duties. Requires that before January 1 of the year in which a state agency is subject to sunset review, the commission must review the agency based on criteria specified in section 3D.10.
Public hearings. Requires that before February 1 of the year an agency is subject to sunset review, the commission must conduct public hearings regarding the agency, including the criteria specified in section 3D.10.
Commission report. Requires that by February 1 of each even-numbered year, the commission shall report on agencies subject to review, including findings on criteria specified in section 3D.10.
Criteria for review. Specifies criteria for the commission to consider in determining whether a public need exists for the continuation of a state agency or for performance of the agency’s functions.
Recommendations. Requires the commission’s report to make recommendations on the abolition, continuation, or reorganization of agencies, on the need for performance of the functions of the agency; on consolidation, transfer, or reorganization of programs within agencies not under review when programs duplicate functions of agencies under review; and for improvement of operations.
Requires the commission to submit draft legislation to carry out its recommendations, including legislation necessary to continue the existence of agencies that would otherwise sunset, if the commission recommends continuation of an agency.
Simply put, the bill requires the Commission to review whether the agency is performing an essential function, whether it’s doing what it was originally created to do or whether it’s ‘evolved’ into just another bloated part of state government.
The DFL’s disgust with governmental accountability is showing its ugly face. Taxpayers should be outraged that the DFL is thinking about eliminating a tool that’s designed to increase governmental accountability. If the DFL eliminates this commission, Republicans should make this one of their campaign themes in 2014. Hold every DFL legislator’s feet to the fire for voting against governmental accountability and thriftiness.
If they’re eliminating sensible laws like this, then they’re undoubtedly voting for creating more unaccountable agencies, boards, commissions and panels.
I’ve been a hockey fan since the mid-1960′s. In 1967, I bought a copy of the Minnesota North Stars Yearbook. That yearbook had a picture of Bill Masterton, the only hockey player to die as a direct result of an injury sustained in a hockey game. I watched the U of M, then coached by Herb Brooks, win 3 national championships. Those games weren’t broadcast on ESPN. I’m enjoying watching the Minnesota Wild play (and defeat) some of the strongest teams in the NHL.
In short, I’ve got the credentials to prove that I’m a hockey fanatic.
That said, it irritates me when a meddling legislator, in this instance Rep. Ryan Winkler, wants to spend $800,000 to continue the rivalry between the U of M and the University of North Dakota:
Rep. Ryan Winkler, DFL-Golden Valley, introduced a bill on Thursday that would give the University of Minnesota the money if at least one game is scheduled against the University of North Dakota that year.
“We have to maintain that hockey tradition,” said Winkler, who grew up in a hockey family in Bemidji. “I think it’s enough to get the athletics department attention.”
Winkler said he was trying to make a statement with the bill; nothing will happen with it. The two teams faced off in their final conference game on Jan. 19. North Dakota will depart for the newly formed National Collegiate Hockey Conference, while Minnesota will join five other Big Ten teams with hockey programs.
That’s BS. If he just wanted to “make a statement” about keeping the rivalry going, a simple resolution and a press conference would’ve gotten the teams’ attention.
Attaching a dollar amount, especially $800,000, won’t just get the teams’ attention. It’ll get the teams’ hands out with the expectation of getting paid to continue the rivalry.
It’s also likely to stir up some bad blood with St. Cloud State. SCSU’s rivalry doesn’t have the lengthy history that the U of M-UND rivalry has but it’s had some memorable games in its history, starting with the 2-2 tie in the first SCSU-U of M game. Nobody gave
St. Cloud State a chance in that game, which was the first game played at the then-brand new National Hockey Center.
But I digress.
Here’s a suggestion for Rep. Winkler: Quit meddling in collegiate sports. Allegedly, you’re a legislator dealing with serious budget issues. Perhaps your time is best spent figuring out how to save money. Better yet, perhaps you could focus on not spending money this foolishly.
Apparently, Rep. Winkler’s priorities and time management need adult supervision. It’s clear he’s spending too much time focusing on trivialities and not enough time on Minnesota’s priorities.
In a stunning, disappointing development, Sen. Franken and Sen. Klobuchar voted against restarting the White House tours:
Democrats objected, saying it was a show vote that was not going to accomplish what Mr. Coburn said it would. They also said canceling park service heritage money would hurt their home states.
They defeated Mr. Coburn’s amendment on a 54-45 vote, with nearly every Republican voting to reopen the White House and with almost all Democrats voting to back Mr. Obama’s decision.
It’s appalling that Sen. Franken and Sen. Klobuchar voted against opening the People’s House (that’s Michelle Obama’s term for the White House) to public tours. It’s disgusting that Sen. Franken and Sen. Klobuchar hid behind their ‘leadership’ in saying that Sen. Coburn’s amendment was a gimmick.
If anyone in the Senate has shown themselves to having solutions to DC’s spending addiction, it’s been Sen. Coburn. He’s literally found hundreds of billions of dollars of wasteful spending in the last 6 months. He’s put together charts showing duplicative federal programs worth $364.5 billion of spending. Some of the spending is justified. Most of it isn’t.
This is just another vote that shows Sen. Klobuchar is Ms. Bipartisanship. She’s a popular political partisan hack. People didn’t think that Sen. Franken was Mr. Bipartisanship. Still, Minnesotans had the right to expect him to protect them against this arrogant administration’s mishandling of sequestration.
This video shows how partisan Sen. Franken and Sen. Klobuchar are:
Rather than fighting for saving hundreds of millions of dollars, Sen. Franken and Sen. Klobuchar fought to keep White House tours closed. Why would they do that if they genuinely cared about the middle class? Some of these families that aren’t being permitted to take a White House tour might be on their first trip to DC. Perhaps some of them won’t have another opportunity to tour the White House.
That’s what Sen. Franken and Sen. Klobuchar voted against. They voted with the elitists in the White House. They voted against the working families who wanted to take a once-in-a-lifetime tour of the White House.
Based on Wednesday’s vote and their votes for the middle class tax increases in the PPACA, why shouldn’t people think that these senators don’t care about the middle class the way they say they do?
Cut This, Not That is another name for Sen. Coborn’s Sequester This agenda. This video of his interview with FNC’s Brian Kilmeade should get every person upset regardless of their political affiliation:
There’s no such thing as acceptable wasteful spending. That critter doesn’t exist. If the taxpayers’ money isn’t being spent efficiently on high priority things, then it shouldn’t be spent.
Spending money on social media outreach is a travesty. Spending money on social media outreach instead of on air traffic controllers isn’t justifiable. Cutting White House tours instead of cutting “wine and beer train tours” is outrageous. These are decisions that we’re better off having a seventh grader make than letting this administration make.
President Obama has essentially said that spending cuts are off the table. How can he justify spending money on these things while laying off air traffic controllers and shutting down White House tours for students? The simple answer is he can’t justify these decisions.
In fact, the stench from shutting down the White House tours that Harry Reid actually called for a vote to open the White House tours. Unfortunately, Democrats voted to keep the tours closed:
Senators voted Wednesday to keep the White House closed to public tours, turning back a GOP-led effort to free up money to open the building back up after the sequesters.
The vote was just one of a series of high-profile votes the Senate was taking Wednesday afternoon as it plowed toward passage of a bill to fund the government through the rest of this fiscal year.
That’s fine. Now every Democrat will have to explain why they voted to keep “the People’s House” tours closed:
But Democrats objected, saying it was a show vote that was note going to accomplish what Mr. Coburn said it would. They also said canceling park service heritage money would hurt their home states.
They defeated Mr. Coburn’s amendment on a 54-45 vote, with nearly every Republican voting to reopen the White House and with almost all Democrats voting to back Mr. Obama’s decision.
Simply put, this was a good faith effort on behalf of Republicans to do what’s right by the people of this nation. Shutting “the People’s House” when it could’ve been avoided shows what the Democrats’ highest priority is. Hint: their highest priority isn’t making smart budgetary choices. Hint: The Democrats’ highest priority doesn’t have anything to do with doing what’s right by America’s young people.
Apparently, they’d rather vote against students getting tours of the White House than voting to cut truly disgusting wasteful spending. Apparently, they’d rather pretend that wisely cutting a pittance from the federal budget is crippling the federal government. The Senate Democrats’ hissy fit notwithstanding, the reality is that Sen. Coburn, Sen. Paul and Sen. Lee have dismantled the Democrats’ arguments that the federal budget has been cut to a shell of its former self.
As Sen. Coburn has clearly shown, there are tens of billions of dollars of wasteful spending that still need eliminating. This isn’t a fair fight. Despite the fact that Republican senators have exposed the waste, despite the fact that even the NY Times and Washington Post have turned against this administration and their Democrat enablers, Democrats still insist on fighting this fight. It’s a free country. If they want to get their brains bashed in some more, I guess that’s their right. Jay Carney seems particularly adept at peddling this manure:
In the past, demented Michele Bachmann haters argued that she didn’t care about her district. While it’s true she took time to run for president, it isn’t true that she doesn’t care about what’s best for her district. Her getting a new Stillwater Bridge built is proof she cares about the Sixth District. This Pi-Press article offers more proof that Rep. Bachmann cares about the Sixth District:
Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann sought Monday to muster support in Minnesota and Washington for money to add a new Interstate 94 lane in each direction between the western Twin Cities suburbs and St. Cloud.
The congresswoman came to the state Capitol along with supporters from local government and businesses to talk about the project, as well as a related push to upgrade U.S. 10 that runs parallel to the heavily traveled interstate. Backers of the I-94 project are trying to amass $25 million for the first construction phase of an expansion that could reach $100 million when fully complete. The improvements to U.S. 10 are priced at $300 million.
Of course, the Dayton administration sought to diminish the importance of the I-94 project:
But Minnesota Department of Transportation spokesman Kevin Gutknecht said the I-94 widening doesn’t rank high on the agency’s long-term list of priority projects. “There are projects like this all across the state — really good projects, really important projects, projects that have tremendous support like this,” he said. “It all really boils down to the funding piece.”
It’s interesting that MnDOT spokesman Kevin Gutknecht hints that widening I-94 isn’t a good project or an important project. The notion that one of the two busiest highways in the state doesn’t qualify as an important project is utter nonsense.
This stinks of political gamesmanship on behalf of the Dayton Administration. Sixth District voters will remember that when Gov. Dayton asks for their support in 2014. I’m betting they won’t like it that his administration prefered playing political games rather than doing what’s right for economic development in central Minnesota.
The other thing that’s worth noting is that Michele didn’t airdrop an earmark into a transportation bill conference committee report. She’s putting the project through the committee where it can be researched in the light of day. Michele’s projects, including the Stillwater Bridge project and this project, both went through the committee process. The Stillwater Bridge project was signed by President Obama because it withstood the scrutiny of the House and Senate transportation committees.
Years ago, Rep. Bachmann pledged not to be a porkmeister like the late Jack Murtha or Minnesota’s Jim ‘Bike Path’ Oberstar. She’s kept that promise while still looking out for what’s best for her district. Minnesota needs more politicians who are committed to doing things in the light of day rather than away from the people’s scrutiny.
I expect this post to get tons of comments from Michele’s left wing haters. Their comments will expose them for the partisan haters that they are. Remember their hate-filled comments the next time you enter a voting booth.
Tags: Michele Bachmann, Transportation, Economic Development, Public Safety, Interstate Highway System, I-94, Stillwater Bridge, Committee Mark-Up, GOP, MnDOT, Mark Dayton, Jim Oberstar, Earmarks, Pork, DFL