Senate: Chris Gerlach, David W. Hann (100%), Debbie J. Johnson, Michael J. Jungbauer, Amy T. Koch, Warren Limmer (100%), Julianne E. Ortmann, Ray Vandeveer.
House: Bruce Anderson, Michael Beard, Laura Brod, Mark Buesgens (100%) Matt Dean, Chris DeLaForest, Steve Drazkowski, Rob Eastlund, Tom Emmer, Sondra Erickson, Brad Finstad, Pat Garofalo, Tom Hackbarth (100%), Mary Liz Holberg, Joe Hoppe, Paul Kohls, Mark Olson (100%), Joyce Peppin, Marty Seifert, Ron Shimanski, Kurt Zellers. Honorable Mention: Bob Dettmer.
A â€œVictoryâ€ of Government Over the People
The 2008 legislative session ended with great fanfare and the legislators and the governor declared it a victory. But, from the perspective of LEA, it was a travesty. The legislature made pronouncements on how families should be organized, how their health should be managed, how the state should bail out loan failures, what children should be taught, how babies should be monitored, and why the DNA of everyone should be kept by the State. It was an assault on civil rights and liberties. It was a triumph of the state over its people, not a government of the people.
Legislation was enacted that ignored and circumvented established Constitutional checks and balances. By proposing specific taxes be made part of the Constitution, they evaded a veto by the governor. The new tax would provide a $200 million per year to newly appointed committees that would spend those funds on the arts and the environment. Legislation is increasingly directed at special interests, at the expense of taxpaying citizens. House File 1812, the Omnibus Budget Bill that got so heated it was dubbed the â€œwar of 1812,â€ made it through the legislature and was signed into law despite a challenge for violating the â€œsingle-subject rule.â€ The elites who expect money for their councils, their programs, their departments, and their corporations were the real winners. They got nearly everything they asked for in omnibus bills packed with enough pork to entice a majority vote. Individually, most of the items would not have passed on merit. The state budget increased 9.8% despite economic turmoil causing citizens to make personal budgetary cutbacks.
The legislators ignored warnings of an expected two billion dollar shortfall in 2009. Rather than developing a strategy of spending cuts they compounded the problem by spending a billion dollar surplus on new programs. Additionally, the state borrowed money to buy more parkland when a surplus of parks exists, and purchased equipment with loans that go beyond its life expectancy. Because bond interest doubles the cost of purchases, bonds should only be used to pay for facilities that will generate enough use to cover the costs. Irresponsible borrowing places burdens on future generations. Another tax burden became entrenched in a bill that requires the state to cover half the of the operating deficits of any light rail lines. This not only bails out a financially unsound transportation system, but taxes people who have no use for light rail. This is a characteristic of a socialist regime, not a republic, and is not in keeping with the credo of LEA.
We thank the governor for vetoing 32 bills and using the line item veto in two others, which is the most vetoes for a single year. Despite the vetoes however, the governor and legislature were complicit in approving special-interest-laden bonding and budget bills, and imposing costly new energy policies, making the 2008 session one of the more wasteful sessions in Minnesota history.
Full Report: 2008 Report (520kb .pdf file)