Category Archives: 2012 MN Legislature

Pat Garofalo and Per Diem – A fiscal hawk or a selfish take what I can politician?

Those of us who live in Farmington, are sure lucky to have such a fiscal hawk in Minnesota state House member Pat Garofalo representing us. Remember back in May 2011 when he said he was refusing to collect his per diem during the government shutdown because he said:

“Not getting a budget agreement with the governor shouldn’t turn into a financial windfall for legislators.”

See? That’s what I am talking about. He is absolutely standing up to his principles of helping to personally correct the state’s budget problems by doing everything he can, no matter how small, to protect the finances of Minnesota taxpayers.

Pat Garofalo 2012 - 2It’s funny, did you know House legislators get paid a per diem of $66 per day of work, on top of the $31,140 in taxpayer paid salary they make for a part-time job. It makes me wonder, with only a 25 mile commute to the Capitol compared to other legislators who have to spend the night in St Paul, Pat Garofalo must receive one of the lowest per diems in the Minnesota House.

Let’s see let’s look at the numbers… Here it is in 2012… Pat Garofalo only received $11,418 in per diem. See that’s not – WHAT!?! ELEVEN THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED EIGHTEEN DOLLARS!?! That is the most in the house, and about $1,500 more than the second highest per diem taker.

I don’t understand. I thought…

Well, at least he isn’t the highest per diem taker overall. Republican Senator David Senjem took $11,438 in per diem. Wait. Wasn’t David Senjem the Majority Leader? He must have worked a lot more than Pat Garofalo. And he only took $20 more than Pat!?! What’s that you say? Senate member receive a 30% higher per diem than House members? That means in House dollars, David Senjem’s per diem would have been only about $8800.

This just doesn’t make sense. I thought Pat Garofalo was a fiscal hawk. But he took 15% more in per diem than the next closest member, and he doesn’t even need an apartment.

This is very distressing. Well I guess we can be glad that his salary is only $31,140, so his pension doesn’t include his per diem. I mean that would be wrong if in private business, an employer was forced to contribute to a 401(k) for the employee’s expense reimbursements.

WHAT!?! FOR LEGISLATORS THEIR PENSION INCLUDES THE COST OF THEIR EXPENSES!?! SO HE GETS ANOTHER $1,700 IN PENSION ABOVE HIS TAXPAYER FUNDED PAY OF $42,558 FOR A PART-TIME JOB!?!

Funny thing is, Pat Garofalo initially said he was retiring for the legislature last session. He probably figured since he was retiring, he might as well take everything he can from the taxpayers to get his just reward for his services, including a fatter pension. The only thing this proves is that Pat Garofalo is in politics for himself. In third-world countries, people become politicians and police to get ahead and take what they can for their selfish benefit. It is pretty sad that Pat Garofalo is treating Minnesotans, and more specifically his neighbors, with the respect of a third-world dishonest politician.

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Hello Jason Lewis?? Dirty Tactics?? Your blaming the wrong side.

How absurd is Jason Lewis?  He wrote an opinion piece for the StarTribune this weekend titled “Voter ID foes fought dirty to get a win.”  A more apropos title might be Voter ID defeated despite dirty political tactics of conservatives to get it on the ballot.

Jason Lewis is a whiner, and I am already sick of conservatives who two years ago told Democrats to stop crying about elections — that the voters will was done.  But this year, are blaming the amendments (placed on the ballot by Republicans,) blaming independents, blaming the Independence Party, blaming Kurt Bills and Mitt Romney. In the words of Ann Romney, stop it!

And this argument of dirty tactics? RUBBISH! You know what dirty tactics are? Placing an amendment on the ballot to drive voters to the polls because you know you can’t win without it.  Another dirty tactic, changing laws to make it harder to vote, not easier.  That is dirty.  How about what one Farmington Republican told me: at least if the marriage amendment is on the ballot, liberals will spend all their money to defend gays and a Voter ID bill will pass easily, which only helps Republicans in the future. Has Brodkorb enlightened us on that tactic yet?  Was that rationalization his own, or did he get that idea from his state Senator, Dave Thomspon, who helped craft the ballot language on one and authored the other?  How slimy.

Two years ago all we heard was that elections have consequences.  Well elections have consequences still.  Do you know what else has consequences?  How you govern, how fairly you treat people, how you solve problems (can you say Republican government shutdown,) and how little you get done in the legislature.  2010 was a lucky break for Republicans because of Obamacare and the economy. 2012 was a realization that dirty politics, divisiveness, and gridlock come from one party far more than the other.

Is Pat Garofalo the biggest hypocrite in the Minnesota Legislature?

Yesterday I wrote about a 2009 email from Rep. Pat Garofalo of Farmington.  In the email, Pat chastised the DFL members of the legislature for passing a bill to lower the amount of interest that can be claimed as a tax deduction.  The bill capped the interest that could be claimed, meaning the higher the value of your home, the less you could deduct in taxes.  Seems like a pretty progressive tax solution to me.  The poorest people tend to own the least valuable houses, so the impact would be minimal.  The million dollar home in Wayzata might be impacted a little more.  Seems fair to me.

That bill was vetoed by Governor Pawlenty.  Pat was happy because in his words it “would increase the cost of home ownership.” Those are Pat Garofalo’s exact words.  Fast forward from 2009 to 2012, and Pat Garofalo tweets “Remember when Democrats tried to repeal the home mortgage interest deduction and raise taxes on the middle class? I do.” Ignoring his lie implying that DFLers tried to get rid of it, it is odd that he remembers 2009, but seems to forget that he just voted to eliminate the Homestead Credit for Minnesota Homeowners.  Didn’t that vote “increase the cost of home ownership?”  His vote not only increased taxes on the middle class, but it impacted the poorest Minnesotans as well.  It is a true regressive tax that impacts the richest Minnesotans the least.

Pat Garofalo must be considering running for Vice President.  Because like the current Republican Vice Presidential candidate, he can only focus on events and votes in a narrowly viewed and skewed way that make everything positive for him, and nothing bad happens in his Republican world.  Is it delusion? Has he forgotten his vote? Is the word ‘hypocrite’ even in his lexicon?

Pat is truly an embarrassment to rational, principled and cordial voters in Farmington and the surrounding townships.  His opponent Jim Arlt is a truly caring Christian, with a big heart, the integrity of a career cop serving the people in the most honorable way, and he has a great sense of humor that does not include insulting one-third of his neighbors on a regular basis.

When you vote on November 6, vote for Jim Arlt.  If enough people vote for Jim, maybe Pat Garofalo who loves Las Vegas might move there, where the integrity and values he has shown as a Representative are much more common.

Hypocrisy from the 5/7/09 “Inside Scoop” by Pat Garofalo

Pat Garofalo likes to send out his “Inside Scoop” newsletter.  For some reason I saved one the “witty” representative sent out on May 7, 2009.  As I was cleaning out email files, I found it, read it, and laughed.

First, he commented on something he titled “NONE OF GOVERNMENT’S BUSINESS.”  He states the government has no business “controlling what web sites people visit on their own personal computer” and continues saying that it is “NOT a proper function of government.”  Apparently the proper function of government is to decide who can get married and who cannot.  Partisan priorities trump what is “NONE OF GOVERNMENT’S BUSINESS!”  Pat Garofalo either let his far-right and extremist allies lead him, or if it is his religious beliefs, he let the Pope in Vatican City make a decision for him rather than make his own decision about what is government’s business.  Reminds me of how absurd he thought it was for NYC to limit how much pop people could buy. I guess soda and gambling are more important freedoms than marriage.

Secondly, in a paragraph he titled “APPARENTLY…HOUSING PRICES AREN’T LOW ENOUGH” he lambasts the DFL controlled legislature for passing a bill to lower the amount of interest that can be claimed as a tax deduction.  Obviously, with a high value house, the richest Minnesotans couldn’t get quite as much free money returned to them.  He states “This would increase the cost of home ownership… To say this is a bad idea is an understatement.”  Hello? Eliminating the Homestead Credit?  A question for Pat Garofalo: You did vote to eliminate the Homestead Credit, right??? Was that a good idea?  Can you say hypocrite?

It is time for the smarmy Pat Garofalo to stop embarrassing the voters of Farmington.  I believe if more voters actually paid attention to how he conducts business, and how little respect he seems to have for people he disagrees with, they would demand change.  This year, voters have a great independent choice for 2012 in Jim Arlt.  Let’s try and make sure Pat has tweeted his last insult. Vote for Jim Arlt.

Below is the entire 5/7/09 Inside Scoop:

THE INSIDE SCOOP Representative Pat Garofalo 5/7/2009
-End of Session (or not) Update
When my son was younger, one of his favorite books was “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day “.  In that spirit, I’d like to describe the last week as “Representative Garofalo and the Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Week At The Legislature”.  Keep in mind, you couldn’t possibly make this stuff up.
NONE OF GOVERNMENT’S BUSINESS
An official with the MN Dept. Of Public Safety has ordered 11 Internet Service Providers to block access from Minnesota to 200 gambling related web sites.  Whether you like gambling or not doesn’t matter.  Controlling what web sites people visit on their own personal computer is NOT a proper function of government.  I have no idea how this could be constitutional.  Here is an article about it.
IF ONLY SPOT KNEW HOW TO READ
After an extensive debate, the MN House passed legislation that would require warning labels to be posted whenever selling cocoa bean mulch.  For a small percentage of dogs (2%), the mulch can end up being poisonous.  No word on if government is going to tell those who put the mulch down, that they need to post signs as well.  The bill passed by one vote.  Here is a StarTribune story on the issue.
APPARENTLY…HOUSING PRICES AREN’T LOW ENOUGH
The legislature recently passed a bill to repeal the home mortgage interest deduction from state tax returns and replace it with a partial credit.  This would wipe out the state interest deduction above $6,000 of interest paid.  This would increase the cost of home ownership and discourage home purchases.  To say this is a bad idea is an understatement.  How the legislature could pass such a bill given the collapse in housing prices is beyond me.  I can assure you that Governor Pawlenty will not allow this to become law.  So I guess that is good. 🙂
I’m hopeful that in the next week the legislature will get serious about balancing the budget.  Stay tuned.  As always, it is an honor serving as your State Representative.  Thanks!
Rep. Pat Garofalo District 36B 221 State Office Building 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Saint Paul, Minnesota 55155 (651) 296-1069 1-888-667-3337

What’s Happenin’ in DFL58

It is time for DFLers in Senate District 58, and really DFLers across the state, because what DFLer doesn’t want to get rid of Dave Thompson, Pat Garofalo and Mary Liz Holberg, to step up and support the DFL candidates in Southern Dakota County.

Andrew Brobston will be endorsed by the DFL at the next meeting on June 7. Andrew is running for Minnesota State Senate 58 against Dave Thompson. If you recall, Dave Thompson is the candidate who took $70,000 in pay in 2010 from the Republican Party while he was running for state senate as a Republican. We found out there is no law against that in Minnesota. It’s unethical, but who knew it wasn’t illegal? Thompson also is the author of the Voter ID amendment which will definitely prevent some seniors from voting. I can name two who will swear up a storm against Dave Thompson if this passes, but are in no condition from a health standpoint to make the trip to go get an ID.

Even a small donation will help Andrew: CLICK HERE TO MAKE AN ONLINE DONATION

In 58A, Colin Lee is running for state House against Mary Liz Holberg. Mary Liz Holberg is a lifelong, ultra-partisan politician who thinks it is fine to shut down our government. Besides shutting down the government, what else has Holberg done recently? If you look at Holberg’s list of accomplishments on her own campaign website, even her list of accomplishments end in 2006. Being “one of 100 people to watch in 2000” doesn’t mean anything if in 2012 you did nothing but watch. Mary Liz Holberg has become such a career politician that when her district’s borders were redrawn, splitting Lakeville, she moved to the district that had a bigger share of Lakeville. I can only assume it was so she didn’t have to work very hard on her reelection with more voters who already know her.

Colin is working very hard, please send him a donation: CLICK HERE TO MAKE AN ONLINE DONATION

Jim Arlt is running against Pat Garofalo in Minnesota House district 58B. Pat is best known for being a squeaky wheel who make inappropriate comments, and whose main purpose at the capital seems to be to gain the ire of Democrats and teachers. Garofalo who constantly uses Twitter to insult Democrats, both elected Democrats and average DFL voters, hilariously has a highlighted blurb on the front page of his campaign website that says: “WORKING WITH DEMOCRATS: Representative Garofalo has worked to bring Republicans and Democrats together.” This is coming from the man who recently called all the Democratic House members “deadbeat Democrats.” I’m pretty sure if you talk to Paul Thissen, Ryan Winkler or Tom Rukavina, they might refute his claim.

Jim is a very strong candidate, and needs your help: CLICK HERE TO MAKE A DONATION

We are very excited in DFL58, but we need your help!