Category Archives: Education

Pat Garofalo and Jon Koznick squander an opportunity to invest in schools so they can give tax breaks to big business

Ed-Crop Rep BudMy state representative Pat Garofalo-(R) from Farmington and my bordering district’s state representative Jon Koznick-(R) from Lakeville have proposed a state budget that provide $15 in tax giveaways to special interests for every $1 spent on education. In districts that are cutting to solve deficits, prioritizing tax cuts and corporate giveaways over Farmington’s and Lakeville’s students’ education will lead to fewer teachers, bigger class sizes, and little for Minnesota’s youngest learners and future leaders.

Even with a $2 billion projected surplus, House Republicans passed an education funding bill that invests only $156 million in educating the next generation of Minnesotans.

As a community, we need to stop rewarding politicians who think about the current bottom line before they think about the future bottom line. If we are not using public policy to improve the future, our economy will continue to be a rollercoaster ride of unpredictable highs and lows. Right now it seems like the only possible solution is to replace short-sighted politicians like Garofalo and Koznick.


John Kline flip flops on student loan rates, but we know what he really thinks

Some Republicans can be so wimpy when it comes to their beliefs!  A couple weeks ago, Pat Garofalo and the Republicans in the Minnesota house tried to cover up their hatred for schools and education with a payback of the school funds they took to balance the last state budget.  In reality, the payback was a re-election scam to reduce the impact of negative ads this fall.  They don’t care about stealing money or paying back schools, they care about protecting their fragile majority.  The same thing happened yesterday with John Kline.

Yesterday John Kline flip flopped on his adamant belief that federal college loans should not be affordable.  He will now support a bill to extend the low loan rate that Democrats passed in 2006.  But we know the truth, we’ve always known the truth about John Kline.  Political success is more important than what he believes.  He has expressed the belief that the government has no right to keep loans low preventing banks from making the most money they can on the backs of students trying to better their lives.

If John Kline believes that, why isn’t he sticking to that belief?  He is supposed to have the courage of his convictions. He is supposed to be tough — he carried the nuclear football!  What’s wrong with John Kline, where is his political courage?

I don’t think John Kline really has any political courage.  He said you would be a budget hawk, but he went along with all of the deficit spending when the House and presidency were controlled by Republicans.  It wasn’t until the Democrats took over that he became that “hawk,” four years later and multiple votes to increase the deficit and pay for two wars that were not even being tracked in the budget.  John Kline doesn’t care about the budget or the deficit.  He doesn’t care about the district or the people in the district.  He doesn’t care about college students or k-12 students even though he heads the education committee in Congress.  He cares about himself, and he cares about re-election.

John Kline has shown us that a little sabre rattling about saving money is a bigger priority for him than building for the future, a bigger priority than allowing young men and women to go to college without a debt payment after graduation that exceeds a house payment.  This flip flop on loan rates is purely so that his opponent in 2012 can’t run a commercial expressing how little he cares about the future of our state and this country.

Pat Garofalo’s “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for an election win today” school payback bill

Pat Garofalo and his fellow fiscally irresponsible Republican legislators got their short-sighted and irresponsible school “payback” bill passed. Please note the extremely sarcastic air-quotes I made when I typed “payback.” Never mind that it drains the already depleted financial reserves. And never mind that Pat Garofalo still hasn’t fixed the problem that caused the Republicans to borrow $2 billion from schools in the first place. Really, what do we need reserves for anyway? Oh yeah! We have a $1 billion budget deficit to deal with next year!

It is sickening that voters actually believe Republicans are fiscally responsible when their only solution for everything is to cut taxes for the richest Minnesotans. That isn’t fiscal responsibility Mr. Garofalo, that’s graft.

Pat Garofalo called DFLers in the House “deadbeat Democrats.” How absurd is that? The DFLers in the House wanted to eliminate tax loopholes that provide the wealthiest Minnesotans with tax breaks they don’t deserve. Tax breaks you and I don’t get! And let’s not forget that those “deadbeat Democrats” were the ones who wanted to solve the school funding problem in the first place by raising income taxes a miniscule amount on people who make over a half-million dollars a year, all to ensure that Pat Garofalo wasn’t going to steal money from our school children.

The Republicans and their Popeye’s Wimpy “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for an election win today” bill is an affront to hard working Minnesotans, and the future of the children and the financial sustainability of our state for their well-being 20 years from now. The only reason Pat Garofalo and the Republicans passed this bill is because they knew that the $2 billion dollars they stole from our school children’s future and our investment in our neighborhood schools, was really going to haunt them, and probably would for sure defeat them during the 2012 November elections.

It is time to end the failed experiment Minnesota voters tried with a Republican legislature in 2010. It is time to defeat the Republican leaders who have ethics problems in how they take an income, how they regard their neighbors, how they treat their family, and definitely in who they hire as staff. In Farmington it is time to end the career of the sarcastic, snobby and name-calling Pat Garofalo, who acts friendly and jokes with Democrats, but who obviously regard most Democrats as worthless as the school children he took money from to protect the Minnesota millionaires who support the Republican Party and the agenda of no compromise.

It is time for a change, and the first thing that needs to go is Pat Garofalo!

Who is the adult? Governor Dayton who is willing to compromise or the GOP (Greedy Old Party)?

In the “you have got to be kidding me” political world that we unfortunately seem to be living in right now, Republican leaders and right-wing bloggers are attacking Governor Mark Dayton for saying he is willing to compromise on the budget.  He is willing to go halfsies!  $1.8 billion in raised taxes on the wealthiest 2% of Minnesotans and $1.8 billion in Republican tax cuts.  That seems like a very adult and very logical reconciliation to a budget problem that they have less than a week to solve without paying legislators more and thus costing taxpayers more for a special legislative session. 

I don’t completely agree with it necessarily, but at least Governor Dayton is being the grown up in the room trying to resolve the problems of the whiney and time wasting Republican legislators acting like selfish toddlers.    

Let’s see, one side wants to negotiate (Governor Dayton) and one side WILL NOT compromise because they are greedy and want to get their way (Republican Legislators.)  Who is the public going to blame if there is a shutdown?  I suspect it won’t be the party that was willing to negotiate and for weeks asked Republican leaders for a full budget to at least get the negotiations started (yeah, let’s not forget that Republicans still have not submitted a full budget plan.)  No, I suspect the Republican led legislature who refused to compromise will be the ones getting blamed, and they should. 

63% of Minnesotans support a budget that includes both tax increases and cuts.  27% of Minnesotans support at cuts only budget.  So who are the Republican legislators trying to please here, the majority or their base? 

Republicans who refuse to compromise will be loved by their base, what’s that 27% of the voters?  But when the campaigns kick into gear in a few months, it will be the DFL Party, the party of progressives, farmers and workers, as well as education, compassion and compromise, against the GOP, not the Grand, but the Greedy Old Party, the party of the richest Minnesotans, CEOs and pawn shops, as well as the party of taking away rights, fiscal meltdowns and selfishness.

I guess if we can survive the next legislative session led by selfish Republican legislators, it should be slam dunk in 2012 for the DFL.  Amy Klobuchar will crush Dan Severson, Chris Barden, Dave Thompson, or whichever candidate the Greedy Old Party picks.  And she along with President Obama will lead a ticket that retakes both Minnesota houses, which will be led by forward thinking politicians in Paul Thissen and Tom Bakk.  Governor Dayton, Speaker Thissen, Senate Majority Leader Bakk… I’m dreaming of a golden age of growth and improvement in Minnesota, truly a better Minnesota, but we need to get through this mess and past these selfish Republicans right now.

Spread the word about who is willing to compromise.  Now is not the time to be a timid Democrat.  Speak up.  Call Governor Dayton’s office and tell him to stand strong, and tell him you support him on the budget.  We can’t sit back and just wish or hope for a Better Minnesota, otherwise we will end up in the struggles Wisconsin is fracturing under.  Even a baby step out of the political closet is a positive step toward a Better Minnesota.  Do it!

A Strong Minnesota Needs Strong Public Education

I saw this old photo on Facebook today.  I love it! 

We will be strong, whether we are talking about our economy or our position in the world by having the smartest and best educated kids.  Yet, we continue to weaken our nation by slashing funds to schools, teaching rote skills based on broad legislative standards instead of teaching individual creativity, and letting politicians get in the way of what subjects are taught, how they are taught, which textbooks we use and whose education standards we use.

Education is a local issue, and A Strong Minnesota Needs Strong Public Education.  It is time for politicians to realize education is an investment in the future and in a strong Minnesota.  Let’s treat it like an investment and fund it so that every kid has an opportunity to excel.