Archive for the ‘Pork’ Category
Perhaps, I’m a bit sensitive about the Senate Office Building lawsuit because Jim Knoblach is a friend of mine. Still, it’s puzzling to me as to why conservative activists and organizations haven’t jumped on the Stop the SOB bandwagon.
Jim’s lawsuit has something in it for all different stripes of conservatives. For the liberty movement, Jim’s lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of a Tax Bill that does more than address tax policy. In other words, the lawsuit accuses Sen. Tom Bakk of violating the Single-Subject Clause in Minnesota’s Constitution. (Building pork palaces for politicians doesn’t fit with setting tax rates and policies.)
For fiscal conservatives, Jim’s lawsuit highlights the DFL’s propensity for proposing pork projects. Simply put, the proposed Senate Office Building is pure pork. The notion that a new office building is needed is foolish. Taxpayers need to fund politicians’ palaces like Minnesota needs a $4/hr. increase in the minimum wage.
For political candidates, Jim’s lawsuit offers a great opportunity to highlight the fact that Democrats love pork projects, especially pork for pompous politicians. I’d be surprised if 80% of Minnesota’s taxpayers didn’t agree that politicians don’t need to spend $90,000,000 on a building that’s occupied 140 days during each biennium. Further, taxpayers don’t need a palace that includes “a reflecting pool, skylights and a fitness center.”
For GOP political strategists, it’s a fantastic opportunity to prove the DFL is the party of pompous politicians, not the party of the people. Think of the opportunity to paint Sen. Bakk and the DFL legislators who voted for the Tax Bill as pork-loving, tax-raising politicians who are out of touch with Main Street Minnesotans. Frankly, this is a gift that might keep giving, at least until judges rule that Sen. Bakk’s pork project is unconstitutional.
It’s a great opportunity for GOP legislators to push a defunding bill when the session re-opens in February, 2014. If Sen. Bakk bottles up the GOP repeal bill, they can use that against Democrats in their campaigns. If their legislation repeals funding for Sen. Bakk’s pork palace, it will be a stinging defeat for Sen. Bakk.
I understand why the GOP leadership in the Senate hasn’t expressed outrage thus far. Now that Gov. Dayton has criticized the bill he signed, he’s essentially given Senate GOP leadership ‘permission’ to criticize Sen. Bakk on this issue.
Finally, organizations like the Taxpayers League and Minnesota Majority should have a field day with this. It’s right in their wheel house. The great news is that there’s tons of potential political upside. The fantastic news is that there’s virtually no political downside to criticizing Sen. Bakk’s pork palace.
After all, how often do conservsatives get the opportunity to criticize a powerful Democrat for punishing taxpayers twice within a single bill? It’s important to remember that this year’s Tax Bill raised taxes on “the rich”, the middle class and working poor while spending money on palaces for politicians.
Technorati: Tom Bakk, Senate Office Building, Tax Increases, Mark Dayton, Pork Projects, Minimum Wage Increase, Tom Anzelc, Minnesota State Constitution, Single Subject Clause, DFL, Jim Knoblach, Stop the SOB, Taxpayers League, Minnesota Majority, MnGOP, Election 2014
This morning, former House Ways and Means Commmittee Chairman Jim Knoblach held a press conference to announce he was filing a lawsuit to stop construction of the new Senate Office Building. Here’s the explanation for Chairman Knoblach’s lawsuit:
Former State Representative Jim Knoblach (R–St. Cloud) is filing a lawsuit today to stop the new $90 million Senate Office Building, currently under design. The lawsuit claims the building’s authorization in the 2013 Omnibus Tax Bill violates Article IV, section 17 of the Minnesota Constitution.
“Spending $90 million on an office building to house a few dozen Senators and staff is an incredible waste,” said Knoblach. “We aren’t increasing the number of Senators. Temporary difficulties due to the Capitol renovation can be met by sharing hearing rooms at the State Office Building, and using other existing state buildings near the Capitol.”
Article IV, section 17 of the Minnesota Constitution reads: “Laws to embrace only one subject. No law shall embrace more than one subject, which shall be expressed in its title.”
Recent laws struck down under this single subject provision include:
1) a prevailing wage provision authored by then Rep. Tom Bakk in the 1997 Omnibus Tax Bill (Associated Builders and Contractors v. Ventura; Minnesota Supreme Court, 2000);
2) the Minnesota Personal Protection Act when first included in a DNR technical correction bill (Unity Church v. State of Minnesota; Minnesota Court of Appeals, 2005). The bill was struck down even though the Personal Protection Act was mentioned in the title.
“There is no legal justification for authorizing a new building in the tax bill,” said Erick Kaardal, the attorney representing Knoblach. “The subject of the tax bill is taxes, not building new buildings.”
This is a strong lawsuit. First, Chairman Knoblach has the clearly written text of the Minnesota Constitution on his side. Second, he’s got multiple precedents on his side, too.
When I spoke to him, Chairman Knoblach said that courts have given the legislature some latitude with the Single Subject Clause of the Minnesota Constitution, though he noted that the rulings cited above have sent the message to the legislature that there are limits to that latitude.
This information is damning towards Senate Majority Leader Bakk:
On April 24, 2013, H.F. 677, the Omnibus Tax Bill, was marked up in the Senate Taxes Committee. Senator Ann Rest offered an amendment to include language providing for the Senate Office Building, including $3 million for predesign and design, and language authorizing the state to sign a lease-purchase agreement to construct the building.
Senate Minority Tax Lead Julianne Ortman objected, stating “…this is a surprise…we haven’t had a hearing on this in this committee…this should be in the bonding bill…I will be voting no.” Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk spoke in favor of the amendment, saying that “…bonding bills often times get caught up in end of session politics, and the Capitol renovations transcend politics and should be at a level above the political maneuvering that gets done at the end of session.” The amendment passed on a divided vote with several members voting no. (Source: Committee hearing video tape).
That’s quite interesting. Sen. Bakk admitted that the construction project was a bonding project. He’s right about that, which means the project requires 60% of senators to pass it, then 60% of House members to approve it.
That’s a delicate situation to finesse, especially right prior to an election. Spending $90,000,000 on a new office building to house politicians while the Capitol is refurbished doesn’t make for good politics in swing districts. Further complicating matters is the fact that this isn’t a tiny project. This would be one of the biggest bonding projects in recent history.
The other thing that’s worth mentioning is that Sen. Bakk put a prevailing wage provision “in the 1997 Omnibus Tax Bill” that was struck down. That begs the question why Sen. Bakk thinks the single-issue clause in the Minnesota Constitution is irrelevant.
The most likely answer is that Sen. Bakk will throw Minnesota’s Constitution out if that’s what’s needed to satisfy the DFL’s special interest allies.
When Gov. Dayton signed the bonding bill that funded the building of the ISELF building, aka the Integrated Science & Engineering Laboratory Facility, on St. Cloud State’s campus, it was a big deal. Here’s the key part of the statement St. Cloud State issued about ISELF:
The 100,000 square-foot research and teaching facility will be built at 8th Street South and 2nd Avenue on the site of the 801 Building. Classrooms and labs are slated to serve mostly upper-level and graduate-level science, technology, engineering, mathematics, medical technology and radiology classes.
Research in ISELF will support Minnesota companies that are global leaders in medical devices, pharma/biologics, animal science, bio-agriculture and renewable energy. St. Cloud State faculty and students will be able to do more collaborative research with businesses and earn more National Science Foundation grants, said David DeGroote, dean of the College of Science and Engineering.
“ISELF is about putting people in the same physical space to interact and collaborate around projects that are cross-disciplinary,” DeGroote said. “That’s how work gets done in the real world.”
Dr. DeGroote was fired this winter and replaced by Dan Gregory, who is now the interim dean of the College of Science and Engineering, aka COSE. I guess that’s “what happens in the real world.”
Fast forward to today. The ribbon-cutting ceremony was held in mid-August. Here’s what Minnesotans got for their “$44.8 million dollars”:
That looks impressive. Let’s take a walk inside. What do we have here?
Wow. I wasn’t expecting a big, empty room. Surely, someone’s using the facility. Let’s check another room:
Another empty room. What’s with that? Maybe I’ll find people in a conference room:
Seriously, Minnesota taxpayers got ripped off. Spending $45,000,000 on an empty building is outrageous. I don’t fault the legislators who voted for ISELF. I fault President Potter and Dr. DeGroote for selling legislators a grand vision that they didn’t think through.
There’s little doubt that President Potter and Dr. DeGroote put together a dazzling presentation for the legislators. There’s no doubt that they didn’t do the work to turn their vision into a functioning facility. There weren’t any departments that moved into the building. It isn’t anticipated that any departments will move into the facility any time soon, either.
President Potter’s time as president is littered with the building of shiny new buildings. Five Alive, Coborn’s Plaza, ISELF, a major remodeling of the National Hockey Center and a new parking ramp at the north end of campus were built during President Potter’s time as president. Meanwhile, the school’s enrollment dropped dramatically. Finance directors have come and gone. St. Cloud State is losing between $1,125,000 and $1,500,000 a year on Coborn’s Plaza.
What has President Potter touched that hasn’t turned into lead?
UPDATE: I just looked at the scheduling webpage to see if ISELF was being utilized. According to the spreadsheet, the only room utilized in ISELF is Room 110. Also, a loyal reader of LFR sent this picture of the exterior of ISELF:
Obviously, the shiny exterior hides from the public the reality of an empty building.
UPDATE II: A commenter noted that the flier that St. Cloud State used to advertise the ribbon-cutting ceremony for ISELF was actually a picture of the National Hockey and Event Center. This picture shows the flier:
Clearly, the administration got this badly wrong.
Technorati: ISELF Building, Bonding Bill, Earl Potter, David DeGroote, College of Science and Engineering, Five Alive, National Hockey Center, Coborn’s Plaza, Parking Ramps, Enrollment Declines, National Science Foundation, St. Cloud State
KrisAnne Hall’s post should make politicians in both parties nervous. That’s because she’s asking the right question while DC journalists play their DC echochamber games.
On Friday, President Barack Obama told workers at a Ford plant in Liberty, Missouri, “if we don’t raise the debt ceiling, we’re deadbeats.” This is a prime example of “fundamentally transforming” America. This is part of the strategy that leftists use; change the definition of words, seize the vocabulary. Obama wants you to believe that racking up bills that you can’t pay for in the first place, and then borrowing money to pay those bills, and then passing on that debt to your children is the responsible thing. It used to be that people understood that if you robbed from your children you were, fundamentally, a deadbeat.
In the heartland, people still understand that. It’s just that people inside DC’s Beltway don’t understand that concept. Inside DC’s echochamber, they talk about conventional wisdom, who’s up and who’s down, and who’s got leverage.
Out in America’s heartland, they talk about doing what’s right for future generations.
Inside DC’s echochamber, they think such talk is quaint and possibly naive. It’s anything but quaint. It definitely isn’t naive. The difference between the philosophies is that doing what’s right and sacrificing is always the right thing to do. Splurging and living beyond your means is never the right thing to do.
Ms. Hall continues:
Thomas Paine tells a story in 1776 about a conversation he overheard by such outlaws like we see in government today…
“I once felt all that kind of anger, which a man ought to feel, against the mean principles that are held by the Tories: a noted one, who kept a tavern at Amboy, was standing at his door, with as pretty a child in his hand, about eight or nine years old, as I ever saw, and after speaking his mind as freely as he thought was prudent, finished with this unfatherly expression, ‘Well! give me peace in my day.’”
Thomas Paine calls men who pass on problems to their children “UNFATHERLY”. How is it that we are taught that we are so much smarter than our founders that we have to redefine their wisdom by redefining the Constitution? Here we have Thomas Paine in 1776 giving the correct definition of “deadbeat” and today that concept eludes us? What does that say about ANY member of Congress who will vote to increase the debt ceiling? Yes, I said they ALL are wicked deadbeats, regardless of party affiliation, if they vote to increase the debt ceiling.
What’s most disappointing is that Republicans aren’t passionately pushing the idea of fiscal restraint. This should be the heart of their messaging this fall. Letting Washington’s big spenders off the hook is disgusting. Instead, they’ve gone into passive mode, with a few notable exceptions.
It’s time for conservatives, Americans really, to stand up against DC’s culture of waste. They’ve sloppily spent other people’s money for too long. It’s time to shout ‘NO MORE!!!’ to DC’s big spenders.
I was stunned when I read this article. Specifically, I was stunned by Jay Carney’s blather:
The White House on Monday called GOP efforts to defund Obamacare and win more spending cuts at the risk of a government shutdown or default “utterly irresponsible” and warned the president would not negotiate with Republicans.
“Congress needs to act responsibly to ensure that the government does not shut down,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters. “[President Obama] has made it abundantly clear that fiddling around with the prospect of default is utterly irresponsible and we cannot do it.”
What’s “utterly irresponsible” is the fact that the White House and its sycophant allies in Congress think we need more stimulus instead of pro-growth policies. It’s “utterly irresponsible” to insist that we’ve cut government spending to the bone:
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says that while deficit reduction is a laudable goal, there are precious few spending cuts left to negotiate in exchange for raising the debt ceiling.
“The cupboard is bare,” the California Democrat said in an interview aired Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “There’s no more cuts to make.” “We all want to reduce the deficit,” she added. “Put everything on the table, review it, but you cannot have any more cuts just for the sake of cuts. Right now you’re taking trophies.”
Cutting spending isn’t cutting for the sake of cutting, Ms. Pelosi. Republicans like Tom Coborn, Rand Paul, Mike Lee and Ted Cruz want to cut spending because it’s irresponsible to spend money on things that the federal government shouldn’t be spending money on. It’s irresponsible for Congress to insist on tax hikes while funding things that people don’t need. I’d argue that Ms. Pelosi familiarize herself with Sen. Coborn’s “Sequester This” series. Here’s one of Sen. Coborn’s speeches in the Senate:
First, Sen. Coborn identifies the GAO as “a great organization.” He’s exactly right. Then Sen. Coborn identifies the federal government’s problem, saying that “Congress has failed to act on the first 2 reports. No substantive action whatsoever.” Then Sen. Coborn gets into specifics”
SEN. COBORN: They found 679 different renewable energy programs across 23 agencies. Not across the Energy Department, where they should be if we’re going to have renewable energy programs.
Sen. Coborn then identified the fact that the federal government spend $15,000,000,000 annually on these programs. Then he added this stunning information:
SEN. COBORN: They found instances where we’re giving grants from different agencies to the same projects for the same thing, spending 3 times as much money as we should be spending.
If Ms. Pelosi still insists that “the cupboard is bare” on spending cuts, then someone needs to ask her if she’s lost her flipping mind. Only a San Francisco liberal would make such a foolish statement, much less say it with the conviction she said it with.
It’s time for Republicans to stop with their fetal position negotiations. It’s time to start pushing back against the Democrats’ spending policies. It’s time that Republicans should adopt the policy of asking why Democrats insist on spending the taxpayers’ money this foolishly. Force Democrats to answer those questions.
If the media won’t talk about it in its news reports, then it’s incumbent on conservatives to push the issue on TV shows, writing op-eds explaining why it isn’t fair for this administration to spend taxpayers’ money foolishly. It’s imperative for conservatives to question President Obama’s economic policies, too.
Finally, here’s what I think of Pelosi’s “cupboard is bare” statement”
King, thanks for the reminder.
Last night, the St. Cloud City Council held a study session prior to their regular meeting. Item #1 on the study session’s agenda was the construction of an aquatic center. Here’s one of the important details St. Cloud citizens should know about:
In 2007, the City of St. Cloud and its surrounding local government partners commissioned a feasibility study aimed at defining the services, capital improvements, and annual costs associated with a community aquatic center. A number of community stakeholders participated on the study advisory committee to gauge potential partnerships in utilizing and funding of the facility. The study indicates broad community support for the facility but projected capital costs of more than $20,000,000 for the desired amenities and programming.
I question the support for the facility, especially with that price tag on it. I don’t doubt that people would think that it’s a great-sounding idea. I’m just skeptical that lots of people would think it’s worth raising their city property taxes to build a building that doesn’t serve St. Cloud’s core functions.
I’m even more skeptical of the extent of the support for this proposed boondoggle because the city doesn’t share in the aquatic center’s profits. First, it’s questionable whether people would use the aquatic center. Second, it’s difficult to understand why St. Cloud residents would agree to a tax increase to pay for a recreational facility at a time when St. Cloud’s roads need repairing.
It’s foolish for St. Cloud to take out a loan (that’s what bonds are) to pay for a building that a nonprofit will run. It’s more foolish to think that St. Cloud would do this without some sort of revenue-sharing agreement. What’s essentially happening is that St. Cloud would take out a loan to build the building, then raise taxes to pay for the building that a) isn’t part of St. Cloud’s core responsibilities and b) will be run by a nonprofit that only benefits the nonprofit organization.
That’s more than enough justification to scrap this disaster. Unfortunately, there’s more down-side to this project:
The City will bear the costs of the exterior building upkeep and maintenance and major building maintenance and repairs.
Great. The YMCA benefits. St. Cloud taxpayers foot the bill for a building they don’t need. Taxes are raised to pay for something that St. Cloud doesn’t need.
If St. Cloud wants to spend money, it should be spent on essential services exclusively. Building and maintaining aquatic centers aren’t essential services. To take out a loan on something this frivolous, then pay that loan off by raising taxes is the height of foolishness.
Let’s hope the City Council shoots this proposal down ASAP. If they don’t, I’ll lead a campaign to defeat the councilmen and women that vote to fund this boondoggle.
When a governor asks a newspaper to print his editorial, it’s political courtesy to say yes. That doesn’t mean citizens can’t rip his op-ed. This op-ed would be a paragraph if not for the DFL’s spin:
Foremost, our budget will provide our children the better educations they need for brighter futures. Minnesota’s long-term economic competitiveness hinges on our ability to deliver a world-class education for our kids.
All-day kindergarten isn’t a great investment. It’s a ripoff. Further, teacher accountability doesn’t exist. AJ Kern notes that there are high school math teachers in Sauk Rapids school system who can’t pass the basic skills test to get their teaching certificate. If there aren’t great teachers in classrooms, no amount of spending will deliver a “world-class education for our kids.”
It sounds great. Education Minnesota will certainly praise the Dayton/Bakk/Thissen budget. The reality, though, is that their policies won’t appreciably improve education in Minnesota.
During the political analysis segment of @Issue With Tom Hauser, Brian Mclung noted that the DFL stripped out the basic skills test reform that Gov. Dayton signed after the Republican legislature passed it last year. Mclung noted, too, that the DFL ended graduation testing for students, too.
If DFL policies were leading to “a world-class education for our kids”, why is the DFL gutting policies that verify kids are getting a “world-class education”?
The propaganda continues:
After a decade of steep tuition increases, students at the University of Minnesota and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities campuses will benefit from tuition freezes for the next two years. And more than 100,000 State Grant Program recipients from low- and middle-income families will receive additional financial aid to pursue their higher educations.
Tuitions have been frozen, which is the only positive thing in their higher ed budget. Higher ed costs haven’t been reduced. Rather than fixing the problem, the DFL just increased the subsidies for students to attend less-than-average colleges.
We made major investments that will provide thousands of good-paying jobs. They include major expansions by Mayo Clinic, 3M, the Mall of America and others that will create thousands of construction jobs and thousands more for operations.
If crony capitalism worked, the American economy wouldn’t be growing at an anemic 2% rate. Any time that the government raises taxes, then spends some of those taxes on the politically-well-connected, the people that don’t get their “fair share” of corporate welfare are hurt.
That’s before talking the disastrous warehousing tax and the sales tax on telecommunications companies. Those are the worst tax policies ever implemented in Minnesota history. I predict the warehousing tax will be repealed before the end of the 2014 session. If it isn’t, Minnesota’s economy will take a major hit.
Finally, there’s this BS:
And we paid for these investments honestly and progressively. The very highest income earners and some large corporations will pay more in taxes. Except for smokers, middle-class Minnesotans will pay the same state income or sales tax rates while realizing the benefits from $441 million in additional property tax relief, which reverses the property tax increases that resulted from the previous Legislature’s policies.
The warehousing tax will be paid for by everyone, not just “the rich”, in the form of higher pricers for groceries and other products. As for the “$441 million in additional property tax relief,” that’s mostly a myth. Most of that relief is higher LGA payments to cities and counties. In the hands of liberals like Don Ness, Chris Coleman and R.T. Rybak, those LGA payments turn into big spending increases, not into property tax relief.
The DFL pushed things hard this year because they realize Minnesotans will throw the DFL out of the House majority in 2014.
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.