Tag Archives: Taxes

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.

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Republicans are huge government spending hypocrites! We need to vote with compassion.

Did you read this story in the StarTribune about Chip Cravaack’s massive pay raises to his staff after he lost the election?

StarTribune 3/31/13: Lame-duck Cravaack handed out large raises to his staff

This is exactly why I vote for people who demonstrate love and compassion for people first. You cannot trust politicians when they say they will cut taxes or spending, or eliminate waste. But when a politician has demonstrated sincere concern for other humans, and cares how people and families live and survive, you know they will vote to make their lives better, even if they eventually fail on spending promises.

Chip Cravaack was a huge government spending hypocrite! He talked continuously about “what’s best for all Americans.” He attacked Oberstar and Nolan on trust, spending, and government waste. He was a TEA Partier, which should mean he is concerned about how our taxes are spent. And he voted to cut aid and college grants for many people who needed it. I think it is safe to say, he didn’t like “welfare.” But apparently that only applied to people he didn’t know personally. People who pledged an allegiance to him were fine getting welfare. When he lost the 2012 election, he gave his full-time staff and friends a 93% government pay raise for the final two months of their government employment. And worse yet, this government spending hawk, and welfare hater, admits he gave them government welfare. Cravaack said “at the end of the year, I maxed out everybody because I had no idea how long these guys would be out of work.” He gave them extra unemployment. If any of them claimed unemployment Americans paid them twice!

It wasn’t his money to dole out to his lackeys. This is the perfect example of why you shouldn’t trust politicians who care more about taxes than people. This is why I don’t trust politicians like Chip Cravaack, John Kline, Michelle Bachman, Tom Emmer, or Dave Thompson, whose solution to everything seems to be lower taxes and less government. I want politicians whose solution is to improve lives for the next several generations, not to give me an extra $50 at the end of the year. I believe these are self-righteous politicians who want control and prestige more than they really care about their ideals. If these politicians were Doctors rather than lawyers, they would have a God Complex, and a few that I’ve met might have that anyway. In the end, I think they will do what benefits themselves and their friends not what benefits the rest of us, despite what they say.

That’s why it is so unimaginable for me to vote for Republicans these days. I think at one time, there were Republicans who cared about the future and families, and still had plans for less spending. Now it seems caring about people is a bad thing in the Republican Party, and the world and those less fortunate are jokes to them. I can’t see myself voting for anybody other than a liberal in the near future. It is about compassion first, even if fiscal responsibility is second. That’s not happening on the right side of the aisle.

Perfect Communication Example That Illustrates Why The DFL Wins And Republicans Lose

MPR’s Tim Pugmire wrote an article yesterday about an overhaul of tax policy for Minnesota possibly being in the works to make taxes simpler and fairer.

In the article there were two distinct differences in how Republicans talk and how Democrats talk, and I believe they are prime examples of why Republicans lost the legislature this year, and have little hope of getting it back soon.

Ann Lenczewski, the DFL’s new chairwoman of the House Tax Committee said of policy changes:

“I would hate to think Democrats would view the confluence of the majorities with the governor’s office as an OK to not work with Republicans and all Minnesotans,” she said. “So, hopefully the conversation will be inclusive and varied. That means there will be strong disagreement, and that’s OK.”

On the other side of the aisle, outgoing Republican chairman of the House Tax Committee Greg Davids said:

“Well, anytime someone says ‘tax fairness,’ that means increased taxes on everyone, and that’s exactly what the proposal will be.”

So we have the DFLer saying we need to work together to solve problems and create a long-term solution to continuous budget problems.  And on the other side we have a grown man stomping his feet and saying he won’t! he won’t! he won’t! like it even though he has no idea what the proposals will actually be.

It’s like two little kid sitting at the table with a plate of Christmas lutefisk in front of them.  One is pouting and refusing to even try it, and the other is saying, if I try it and don’t like it can I still have some lefse? Maybe that is a bad example… I’ll change it to brussel sprouts.  So the kid says if I try the lutefisk and don’t like it can I still have some brussel sprouts? (Cue rim shot!)

I think locally and nationally people spoke out against pledges that prevent compromise when trying to get important work done, like the no tax pledges Grover Norquist and Phil Krinkie requires. And I think people spoke out about political leaders not working together, being overtly antagonistic, and completely unable to get things done for partisan reasons. David Gregs must not understand that, and my fear is that David Hann may be worse in the Minnesota senate.

I just hope DFLers don’t do what Congressional Democrats did from 2008 to 2010, and keep trying to get along with Republicans, to their own detriment. I hope if Greg Davids wants to sit on the floor, whining and crying, they just ignore him and go about the business of making Minnesota stronger without his or the rest of the Republican’s help.

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.

Chip Cravaack’s entire common-sense government frugality mantra is a lie

Two congressmen from Minnesota lease cars at taxpayer expense, Collin Peterson and Chip Cravaack.  Rep. Peterson leases two Ford Focuses, spending $652 a month in taxpayer money for his staff to use cars to travel the district.  Rep. Cravaack spends about $1,000 a month in taxpayer money for a Chevy Equinox.  It is “about $1,000” because even though the most recent report lists the car $1,700, a Cravaack spokesperson said that figure included lease startup costs so the true costs will be about $1,000 every month in taxpayer money.

It seems just a little bit hypocritical that Chip Cravaack who said “Congress must learn to do what families in Minnesota do every day, live within our means,” is the same Chip Cravaack who has a $1,000 a month car lease that very few Minnesotan families could afford, but who are still the taxpayers paying for his high lease when he is supposedly concerned about government living within its means. 

It also seems just a little bit hypocritical that the Chip Cravaack who has been painting a grim picture of the consequences of current government spending, who said at a May town hall meeting that if spending doesn’t change, the U.S. will end up facing the same economic issues as Greece and Portugal, is the same Chip Cravaack who is spending $1,000 a month in taxpayer money on a car lease, when he thinks government spending needs to change.

And I guess it seems still just a little bit more hypocritical that the Chip Cravaack who thinks the U.S. is so broke that we can’t afford to continue to fund something so basic, and crucial to our wellbeing as a nation like funding Medicare and Social Security, is the same Chip Cravaack that thinks it is different to spend $1,000 a month in taxpayer money on a Chevy Equinox SUV so his staff has a safe, roomy and reliable car to travel around the district in.  Did I mention at taxpayer expense?  That means government spending. 

In fact, Chip Cravaack’s entire common-sense government frugality mantra is nothing more than a lie to get voter’s who may not be paying really close attention to support him.  He and practically every other Republican don’t have an answer for what to cut or how to solve our financial problems.  They have a darn good slogan though.  It seems like the only money saving ideas they have are to cut services and benefits in the country as long as those services and benefits don’t affect their own services and benefits.  So they cut Medicare, Social Security, education, worker’s rights, gay rights, women’s rights, child labor laws, clean air laws, clean water laws and every other line item as long as it does not reduce their livelihood coming from big business, big oil, financial markets and military spending.

Here’s an idea Rep. Cravaack.  You could have gotten three of Collin Peterson’s Ford Focuses for $978, had your staff running around your district like hamsters in a habitrail, and still saved taxpayers $22 a month.  That’s a start toward changing government spending.  Here’s another idea, stop spending $15 billion a month on wars and let those countries govern themselves.