Tag Archives: Budget Deficit

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.

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!

GOP taking undeserved credit for a temporary surplus? What about the looming deficit?

It is funny that Republicans are taking credit for a surplus — a surplus that is almost guaranteed to quickly turn into a deficit within a year — when the surplus is largely related to what Democrats did here in the state, and to President Obama’s Health Care reform pushed through by Democrats in 2010.

State Rep. Tina Liebling recently wrote a Letter to the Editor in Rochester that pointed out that almost all of the surplus is a result either the budget passed by the DFL controlled house and senate before the current crop of “no-it-alls” were elected, or by savings in Health and Human Service costs thanks to the federal health care reforms enacted by President Obama and Democrats, including Senators Klobuchar and Franken. 

Since Republicans are so quick to take credit for the short-term surplus, I assume they will gladly take credit when a big deficit looms again next year since the new crop of “no-it-all” Republicans wouldn’t compromise this year?  Let’s hold them to that when it happens.  They are taking undeserved credit for the surplus, let’s give them the credit they deserve for the deficit.

Republicans may not care about the shutdown, but people with a conscience do

I predicted this would happen.  I said the shutdown would last a week or so and Republicans would start saying something to the effect that government is obviously not that big of a deal because most people are not feeling the effect.  It is the exact same reason Republicans will be able to take away people’s right to vote with a Voter ID Bill.  Because it does not affect a majority of people. 

The problem is that it is affecting people, and it is affecting them significantly.  It is obviously affecting people who receive benefits from the state to live and work, and it is obviously affecting the people that work to keep our state running and as great as it can be.  But that is a minority of people, and the people living in wealthy suburbs don’t have to deal with them on a daily basis.  Republicans have such contempt for people who can’t take care of themselves, never mind the circumstances.  And Republicans in Lakeville, Prior Lake and Eagan don’t really care about the fishing resort in Northern Minnesota who are losing guests from out of state because people can’t buy fishing licenses. 

Yeah, the Republicans are saying people don’t really care that the government is shutdown, but I’m saying even though it isn’t affecting me right now, I care.  And if Republicans cannot agree to cuts in government and tax increases on 7,700 people that make over one million dollars (that is $1,000,000.00, a one with six zeros after it) a year, then I say to hell with them.  What’s the point of trying to compromise?  Let’s just go back to the pioneer days of dirt roads and side arms.

This is hurting the state, it is hurting the economy, and it is hurting Minnesotans, even if you sit in your air conditioned family room watching cable news and eating the caviar you so richly deserve because you have proven you can pull yourself up by your bootstraps.  Thanks for working towards making Minnesota suck as a place to live.  Thanks for working to ruin everything that makes Minnesota better than every state around us.

A low tax on the rich does not make a state great.  Low government spending does not make a state great.  Highly educated people that come from great public schools and top notch universities make a state great.  Beautiful parks and clean lakes that draw visitors from around the country, and allow those of us to live here to enjoy weekend recreation make a state great.  The best healthcare and the ability to stay active and healthy make a state great.  Diversity in people, jobs and activities, cities and farms, open spaces and community gathering spots make a state great.  And the absence of extremist politics makes a state great.  How are the Republicans going to get any of that by spending less and making a few people richer?  People invested in making this state what it is.  Are we going to throw it away because a minority of people who are politically active and currently in power think the rest of us are worthless?

Seriously, let me know if you want to throw it all away…

Garofalo is not stealing taxpayer money, BUT THOMPSON AND HOLBERG ARE!

I came across a list of Minnesota legislators who refused their July 1 salary payments.  I was not surprised to see 36B Representative Pat Garofalo on the list.  He came out right from the beginning and said it would not be right to accept a paycheck during a government shutdown.

But what surprised me was that pro-shrink the government representative from 36A Mary Liz Holberg and outspoken Tea Partyish District 36 state Senator Dave Thompson were not on the list.  I just assumed that they would be a couple of legislators who were really willing to prove just how fiscally responsible they are to Minnesota taxpayers.

Dave Thompson and Mary Liz Holberg supporting Tom Emmer

Rep. Mary Liz Holberg is in a unique situation.  She can win elections by doing very little campaigning and by spending a small amount of money.  She has name recognition in the area.  She was a past local beauty queen and has served so many terms in the state House now that it is habitual for people to vote for her.  She can take her pay without it being much of a negative if she continues to run.

Sen. Dave Thompson is another story.  Sure he has the name recognition from his years as an extremist Republican radio show host on KSTP1500, and gets a lot of recognition because he is a great speaker, so he is always out front.  But he probably needs to get that taxpayer’s check.  I’m sure his degree to become a lawyer was expensive and he’s got to think about retirement because in “Dave Thompson’s perfect world” social security and Medicare will not exist.  Plus, he’s got two kids who need college paid for soon and grants are going away and tuition is going up thank to him and his Republican buddies.  Oh, and he has that big shiny maroon Mercedes-Benz that needs gas and car washes.  Yep, he needs that money.  Anyway, he has to deal with liberals, so it is not only need, it is deserved money from the taxpayers even if other state workers who are not as important as him don’t deserve paychecks.

Link to the list of legislators not taking pay: http://blogs.citypages.com/blotter/2011/07/minnesota_house_legislators_not_accepting_salary.php