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Saturday, August 30, 2008

County Program Aid

Just as there is Local Government Aid (LGA) for cities, so there is County Program Aid. We have already reviewed the LGA for the ten cities in Chisago County. Now consider the state aid to Chisago County government. Statewide, for 2009 there is $42 million LGA and $28 million County Program Aid, for a grand total of $70 million for all 87 counties and 853 cities in the state.

Here are the historical amounts of state aid received by Chisago County. Data is taken from here and here.

Chisago County will receive $367,597 more County Program Aid in 2009 than in 2008 ($2,251,681 - $1,884,084). However, some of that was a projected increase under the old law. The County will receive a $259,826 increase in County Program Aid over the projected amount under the old law ($2,251,681 - $1,991,855).

The 2003 aid allocated to Chisago County under a 2002 Democrat controlled House was cut by the Republicans in 2003 to balance the $4.2 billion state deficit. It was reduced the following two years before it was increased.

The Dems controlled the House in 2007 and 2008, but provided only modest increases for the County. The projected increase for 2009 was significant, but greatly increased by the Democrats under new law.

They want you to believe they are very generous and the Republicans are stingy, but compare the current numbers to previous numbers. The 2009 amount of $2,251,681 still does not rise to the level of the certified aid in 2003 and just tops the level of what was paid in 2003.

Rep. Jeremy Kalin reports, ". . . the legislature increased state aid to Chisago County and area cities more than $425,000 to reduce property tax bills. We also added $25 million more for direct homeowner property tax rebates." So I take it he is saying there is a combined $450,000 more state aid to Chisago County government and its ten cities. Look at Chart 1.

If Kalin is using the 2008 aid figures, then he understated the amount of new aid by $217,000 ($667,000 - $450,000).

If Kalin is using the 2009 projected figures under the old law as a starting point, then he overstated the amount of new aid by $68,000 ($450,000 - $382,000), as illustrated in Chart 2.

In either case, combined, the County and cities receive more state aid. I point out the above disparity with Kalin’s stated figure to draw attention to the imprecision and lack of documentation in Kalin’s reports to his constituents. (I may be missing some aid numbers, but I do not know what they are.)

Undoubtedly, many of his readers are not interested in supporting details. However, many of us are. Simple footnotes or additional explanations would serve him well to provide supporting documentation for his assertions. There is plenty of space on his web site to do just that.

It appears he has understated the amount of new dollars in the case above. On the other hand, he may not want us to know about some of the details, as we have noted previously, because the new LGA law actually hurts several cities in the county.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Created Equal....the Pursuit of Life

Senator Obama’s position on infant human rights is well known. We analyzed his illogical declaration in support of abortion here. Senator Biden is pro-choice for women, but pro-death for potentially any of the unborn. Senator Pelosi is ardently pro-choice, anti-life, stating the beginning of human life cannot be known. Both Obama and Pelosi took paragraphs to give convoluted explanations that did not answer Pastor Rick Warren’s or Tom Brokaw’s simple question.

Senator John McCain, presumptive GOP presidential nominee, answered Pastor Rick Warren’s question, "At what point is a baby entitled to human rights?" with a quick, short, decisive response, "At the moment of conception."

Senator McCain’s love and respect for life wears shoes in his daily life, in the person of his adopted daughter.

"John and his wife, Cindy, have an adopted daughter named Bridget. Cindy found Bridget at Mother Theresa's orphanage in Bangladesh, brought her to the United States for medical treatment, and the family ultimately adopted her."

And nominee McCain’s selected VP running mate, Governor Sarah Palin, respects equality and the life of the unborn as well.

"Four months into her most recent pregnancy, Palin learned the child would have Down syndrome, and she said she never had any doubts about whether she would have the baby.

"We understand that every innocent life has wonderful potential," Palin told AP earlier this year in describing what she and her husband had confronted. Trig, her fifth child, was born in April."

The contrast between the Democrat and Republican presidential/vice presidential ticket cannot be sharper. One provides no hope for the unborn and possible terminal change. The other provides hope, dignity, respect, equality and the opportunity to pursue life. McCain and Palin value life, not just of the born, but of the pre-born.

I would never argue a president should be elected on the basis of one issue. But this year, there is a very stark contrast between the two contenders on this basic human right.

The McCain/Palin team, which recognizes equality and chooses life and the pursuit of life for all, can be trusted to provide national security which is the fundamental framework we need for the pursuit of happiness in post-natal life.

Sarah Palin Named GOP VP

In a wise move that, aside from easing a lot of conservative concerns, also makes good sense, Presidential nominee John McCain has chosen Alaska Governer Sarah Palin to be his running mate. Palin is a first-term governor and a 44 year old mother of five from Wasilla, Alaska. She is strongly pro-life and also fiscally conservative. While the Obama camp is already playing down her role and her importance, and liberal bloggers have taken the charge to post repeatedly on the internet that "McCain thinks women are stupid enough to vote for him just cuz he picks a woman", many educated conservatives understand that the Republican party has repeatedly proven to be the party of fairness, the party of equality, and the party of rights. The difference between the GOP and the Democratic party is that we understand that there are actually women and minorities that have the experience to top a party ticket. Our biggest crime, in their eyes, is not selling people of any gender, economic, or racial class short. Gov Sarah Palin will make a fine VP next January and a fine first woman President in the future.

For more info check out any news page on the internet or tv, or go to www.foxnews.com or www.abcnews.com.

(and while you're at the abcnews page, don't forget to watch the video of the police in Denver shoving the ABC reporter through traffic across the street while manhandling him. Freedom of the press? Not if you're filming lobbyists and corporate interests at a Democratic convention)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Pelosi and Conception

Isn’t it amazing that a professor of constitutional law cannot articulate a coherent argument to state when he believes a baby receives human rights? Almost any professor is well enough versed in his studies to articulate fundamental statements about crucial concepts in his field of teaching. Yet Professor Obama cannot do that.

The Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, cannot do it either. Tom Brokaw asked, "Help me out here, Madame Speaker, when does life begin?" She responded,
I would say that, as an ardent practicing Catholic, this is an issue that I have studied for a long time. And what I know is, over the centuries, the doctors of the Church have not been able to make that definition. And St. Augustine said at three months. We don’t know. The point is, is that it shouldn’t have impact on a woman’s right to choose. Roe v. Wade talks about very clear definitions of when the child, first trimester, certain considerations second trimester, not so third trimester, there’s very clear distinct, this isn’t about abortion on demand, it’s about a careful, careful consideration of all factors that a woman has to make with her doctor and her God. And so I don’t think anybody can tell you when life begins, human life begins. As a [sic] say, Catholic Church, for centuries, has been discussing this, and there are those who have decided-
While it is above Obama’s paygrade to answer a question about infant human rights either theologically or scientifically, Pelosi, as a studied and practicing Catholic, believes it cannot be answered from dogmatic or historical theology.

Her studied answer is that ". . . the doctors of the Church have not been able to make that definition (i.e. when life begins)." Many in the Catholic Church have refuted Pelosi, showing that the official church position is that life begins at conception. For Pelosi, since it cannot be determined by the Catholic Church, then it cannot be theologically determined—"And so I don’t think anybody can tell you when life begins, human life begins."

In fact, theology should not be considered, says Pelosi, "The point is, is that it [when life begins] shouldn’t have impact on a woman’s right to choose."

For Pelosi, the uncertainties of theology are many, but the specificity and precision of Roe v. Wade is very clear. Just as Obama thinks he can answer the question legally, so does Pelosi. Pelosi is willing to accept the ex cathedra pronouncement of the Supreme Court of the United States of America in Roe v. Wade, but she cannot endure the ex cathedra pronouncement of the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church.

On what grounds does Pelosi accept the one and not the other? She states none, for she has none. Hers is simply an appeal to authority, which is a logical fallacy. She hasn’t answered anything. Appealing to law does not make it right.

While she wants abortion legal, she knows what is legal is not necessarily moral. So ". . . it’s about a careful, careful consideration of all factors that a woman has to make with her doctor and her God."

Pelosi says, ". . . it is also true that God has given us, each of us, a free will and responsibility to answer for our actions. And we want abortions to be safe, rare and reduce the number of abortions."

And she declares, ". . . we have to handle this as respectfully, this is sacred ground. We have to handle it very respectfully, and not politicize it as it has been."

The woman has no idea that she politicized the sacred ground by appealing to the Supreme Court of the United States, rejecting the Supreme Court of her own church. For Pelosi, God, the Ultimate Lawgiver and Judge, must take Roe v. Wade into consideration when a woman contemplates an abortion with her doctor, for that is a woman’s unalienable right.


Democrats for years and years have told the people - the public - that the DFL Party is for "the 'little guy'!" And of course most everyone humbly thinks that he, himself, fits that mythical "little guy" mold so the campaign slogan has served the DFL well for decades.

But that "myth" certainly doesn't fit the "mold" in the matter of protection-of-life issues. Here is the response record of Minnesota DFL incumbent legislators seeking reelection as they responded to a Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life survey* concerning the least among us - the truly "little guys" - the unborn infants!

Folks, they don't get any "littler" than pre-born "little guys!" and here - legislative District by legislative District - is the DFL legislators' response in those districts to the survey. With "friends" like these DFL legislators "little guys" don't need enemies! The record speaks:

District 1b - NO RESPONSE
2a - NR
2b - NR
3a - NR
3b - NR
4a - NR
4b - NR
5a - NR
5b - NR
7a - NR
7b - NR
8a - NR
8b - NR
9a - NR
10b - NR
12b - NR
15a - NR
16a - NR
17a - NR
18a - NR
18b - NR
19a - NR
19b - NR
20a - NR
21a - NR
23a - NR
23b - NR
24a - NR
24b - NR
25b - NR
26a - NR
27a - NR
27b - NR
28a - NR
28b - NR
29a - NR
29b - NR
30a - NR
30b - NR
31b - NR
32a - NR
32b - NR
33a - NR
33b - NR
34a - NR
34b - NR
35a - NR
35b - NR
36a - NR
36b - NR
37a - NR
37b - NR
38a - NR
38b - NR
39a - NR
39b - NR
40a - NR
40b - NR
41a - NR
41b - NR
42a - NR
42b - NR
43a - NR
43b - NR
44a - NR
44b - NR
45a - NR
45b - NR
46a - NR
46b - NR
47a - NR
47b - NR
48a - NR
48b - NR
49a - NR
49b - NR
50a - NR
50b - NR
51a - NR
51b - NR
52a - NR
52b - NR
53a - NR
53b - NR
54a - NR
54b - NR
55a - NR
55b - NR
56a - NR
56b - NR
57a - NR
57b - NR
58a - NR
58b - NR
59a - NR
59b - NR
60a - NR
60b - NR
61a - NR
62a - NR
62b - NR
63a - NR
63b - NR
64a - NR
64b - NR
65a - NR
65b - NR
66a - NR
66b - NR
67a - NR
67b - NR

* Source: MCCL NEWS - August-September 2008; pp. 5,6,7

** Clearly, clearly, CLEARLY Rep. Kalin has put POLITICS BEFORE PEOPLE on this one. If you can't trust his judgment and veracity here (fill in your own words).

NR = NO RESPONSE - which, by reasonable interpretation, means that the legislator wishes to keep the constituency confused or in the dark about the legislator's real views upon the subject.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

"HATE-SPEECH" raised to the N-th degree!!

TALK ABOUT "HATE-SPEECH" - ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

Did you see or listen to the Democrat national convention?

The speakers were filled with vile, vicious, venomous, vituperative raging hate-speech bordering on mental illness. No foreign adversaries could speak more viciously against the United States and its leadership than these have done.

Pack-dog killer political ferocity prevailed to a degree that one might find exhibited only in those filled with the insane anger of incarcerated-for-life hardened criminals.

Disagree politically, philosophically?


One is embarrassed on behalf of these pathetic extremists who do not possess the insight to recognize the extent of their extremity of hate but deem themselves mainstream rational citizens exercising their political freedoms.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

More on LGA for Chisago County Cities

The state takes taxpayer dollars and provides Local Government Aid (LGA) to cities. The data in the charts below is found here and here and comments on it in a previous post.

The new LGA law provides $299,687 more to the ten cities than the 2008 certified amounts. This is a 15.6% gain over 2008 LGA, a significant gain. Together, Chisago County cities will receive 0.71% of the new $42 million statewide LGA.

The 15.6% gain of $299,687 LGA looks impressive when considered as a combined group of cities. However, while six cities have LGA gains, three cities break even and one city goes in the hole. The significant gains are concentrated on three cities (Stacy, North Branch and Rush City).

Column C in chart 2 lists the projections for 2009 that would have been the case under the old LGA law compared to the 2008 LGA.

If the old LGA law were carried into 2009, there would have been less money distributed, but eight cities would have gained LGA and two Chisago County cities would have lost LGA. The old formula made a more equitable distribution of LGA to more cities in Chisago County.

Chart 3 compares the new 2009 LGA amounts for each city to the amounts that were projected under the old 2008 LGA law for 2009.

The new LGA law provides $122,093 more dollars (299,687 - 177,594) to the ten cities than was projected under the old 2008 LGA law for 2009.

Chisago County cities will receive 0.71% of the new $42 million statewide LGA. Under the old law, the cities would have received 0.42% of the new $42 million statewide LGA. So the new law gains 0.29% more of the $42 million.

However, the new LGA law takes away money from six cities that would have been gained under the old LGA law. Six cities fared better under the old law (Chart 3). Three cities (Stacy, North Branch and Rush City) fare significantly better under the new law (Chart 1). Four cities (Harris, Taylors Falls, Wyoming and Shafer) are significantly hurt under the new law (Charts 1 & 3).

The old law was more equitable to more of the cities in Chisago County. Even though the new law provides more money, the distribution of that LGA is significantly inequitable.

Rep. Jeremy Kalin (D-17B) has touted his accomplishments in property tax reform. While he was part of securing $42 million LGA money statewide, he failed to make sure that the distribution formula was equitable to all ten cities that he represents. His vote for the new LGA distribution formula significantly helped three cities and significantly hurt four cities. That is nothing to brag about.

Furthermore, Kalin has locked these cities into this mode for the next two years. The new LGA formula provides a 2% increase for 2010 and a 4% increase the next year (see page 1 here). Consider these projections in Chart 4.

In 2010, both North Branch and Lindstrom will receive at least as much LGA as projected for 2009 under the old LGA law.

But even after the scheduled increases through 2011, Harris, Taylors Falls, Wyoming and Shafer will still not have received as much LGA as projected for 2009 under the old LGA law. These are the cities most hurt by Kalin’s vote for the new LGA distribution formula. It certainly appears that the old Republican distribution formula was much more equitable to the cities in Chisago County than the new Democrat distribution formula.

Where Are the Clowns?

According to the lead editorial, page 4, August 6, 2008 Post Review, Mr. Olseen and Mr. Kalin, our local legislators, label their joint appearances before "county board and city councils" as "traveling road shows."

Since theirs is apparently a self-denominated "road show" is it permissible then to ask them - "Where are the clowns?" Or do we just assume the answer?

Legislators No Longer Representatives of the People - Rather They Are the Hired Hands of the Bureaucrats

It may come as a surprise to the naive and innocent but State legislators, in large part, are not truly the representatives of the people any more!

Rather, legislators have become in effect and to a large extent, in fact, the "hired hands" of the permanent bureaucracy or the "special interest" monied groups.

The only things that "save" the people (that's you and me - the voters back home) are the honesty and integrity and sound judgment of the ones we "elect" to serve us in the legislature. And that is what makes our election choices so important!

The bureaucrats who, through the security of the civil service system or organizational dues have their jobs permanently, "use" ("buy" might be an even more accurate word) the elected legislators this way: The bureaucrats or agents of organizations - literally in many cases -hand to the legislators the legislation the bureaucrats want passed and the legislators stick their names on the Bills and call themselves the Chief Author or Co-Author of a particular Bill.

Further, the bureaucrats make themselves available to offer testimony at hearings or actually provide the legislators the testimony they want the legislator to use in committee meetings, hearings and floor debate. That way the bureaucrats get what the bureaucrats want and the legislator gets the credit in news releases for "back home" consumption!

Legislators who do the bidding of their "bosses" receive bureaucratic or organization support. Those who don't, get neither funding nor support and encounter vigorous organizational opposition at the next election.

Want to know who your Representative (or Senator) really represents? Follow his funding. It is a matter of public record.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

A Keen Sense of Morality

The Democrats have suddenly developed a keen sense of morality. John Edwards has been banned from making a speech at the Democrat National Convention for having an affair and lying about it.

In his place, Bill Clinton will be speaking!!

More Property Tax Relief

Picking up from the previous post, we shall consider another point about the 2007 Property Tax Relief Bill that Governor Pawlenty vetoed, which Kalin bemoans in his recent letter to the editor. We have already noted that the bill would have raised $452 million in income taxes to pay for the proposed property tax relief.

Gov. Pawlenty vetoed the bill because it would have created a new 4th tier of individual income taxes at a 9% rate. This would have given Minnesota the third highest tax rate in the nation.

In a rare moment of honest explanation, back on April 30, 2007, Kalin wrote:

"I promised in the campaign to put people before politics. As you may have read, our property tax cuts are financed by a 4th tier income tax at $431,000 for married couples filing jointly."

How can anyone put those two sentences adjacent to each other?!! He actually revealed that the touted property tax relief for the many would be funded by a new income tax on the few. As he thought about it before he voted for this tax increase, he says,

". . . I kept returning to this simple fact: only 61 households in Chisago County would be affected by the top tier income tax rate and nearly every homeowner and Main Street business owner in Chisago County will see real property tax cuts from the Property Tax Relief bill."

Kalin’s belief in socialistic redistribution of wealth genuinely shines through his honesty. It was not too much to ask those making $431,000 to pay extra for the vast majority of us who make less, so our property taxes could be reduced.

He was willing to sacrifice 61 households to a heavier tax load ". . . to put people before politics." I guess those people in the 61 households aren’t people.

As a typical socialist, Kalin desperately wants to be the Sugar Daddy to his constituents by spending someone else’s money. Oh those liberals are generous——with the money of others, not their own.

Kalin, being a poor economist, failed to recognize that those with this income level are a major driving force in the development of jobs in the state. The higher tax rate would put the state at a competitive disadvantage, which are some of the reasons why the Governor vetoed the bill.

In this case, Kalin’s tax relief for us was tax intensification for relatively few—$452 million worth. See our comments on this issue one year ago. When a rookie legislator tells us the above, it is wise to make sure he never becomes a veteran legislator. He is a danger to all of us economically.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Property Tax Relief

In Rep. Jeremy Kalin’s (D-17B) recent letter to the editor at the Post Review (considered here), he wrote about one of his favorite subjects—property tax reform and relief. He wrote,

"I campaigned on property tax reform in 2006. Unfortunately, the Governor vetoed the 2007 Property Tax Relief Bill that would have meant an actual cut in property taxes for more than 90% of Chisago County."

That one sentence, without any details, sounds generous on Kalin’s part and stingy on the Governor’s. Probably few who read it now remember much, if anything, about that vetoed bill. Kalin is counting on that lack of recollection to sound magnanimous.

Notice he doesn’t provide any web links to the bill he voted for or the Governor’s veto so we can conveniently refresh our memories about the details.

It sounds grand that 90% of Chisago County property taxpayers would have an actual cut in property taxes. How would that happen? The money needed to reduce the property tax load must come from somewhere. If that 2007 bill would cut property taxes, that same 2007 bill also provided the money to pay for those cuts. It’s funny how that works!

So the 2007 Property Tax Relief Bill could also be known as the 2007 Offsetting Tax Increase Bill. But that title just doesn’t sound good because the state that giveth also taketh away. It is so much better to emphasize the giveth part and ignore the taketh part.

What Kalin refused to write is that the bill raised state income taxes by $452 million to pay for the property tax relief and that’s why the Governor vetoed it. Put this figure in perspective. In the 2008 LGA bill, local government aid is increased for 2009 by $42 million (with a pittance for cities in Chisago County). The 2007 bill would have increased income taxes by ten times that amount to pay for property tax relief in 2008, a very significant amount.

Kalin wants to be known as the Giver and not the Taker, but he can’t be the Giver without being the Taker. And he did not want you to know how much he was going to take from taxpayers’ left pockets to slip it into their right pockets and make everyone feel wonderful.

If it sounds too good to be true, it is.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Correcting the [Accurate] Record

In an August 20 letter to the editor in the Post Review, Rep. Jeremy Kalin (D-17B) wrote a loser of an editorial. A response from Flambeau correctly identifies that columnist Pat Tepoorten had nailed it in his column.

Kalin agreed Tepoorten was accurate, but wrote, "However, I feel compelled to correct the record on a couple of items," which as stated, implies he is correcting Tepoorten’s record. He didn’t correct Tepoorten’s record. Rather, Kalin used Tepoorten as a springboard to talk more about tax relief.

Kalin has every right to write about tax relief. In fact, I want him to write more. What I don’t like is he used Tepoorten to try to "correct the record" as if Tepoorten were wrong. That is being dishonest and damaging to an accurate columnist. Tepoorten addressed one point in his column, that is, who should be credited/blamed for the property tax cap of 3.9%, showing that Kalin and Olseen were taking credit for it and blaming the Governor, depending on who their audience was.

So often when Kalin writes (and Wade Vitalis, for example, these comments at the end of Tepoorten's column) he muddies the water. Little is stated clearly. Nothing is documented so it can be checked. And it is stated in such brief fashion that important points that would make it understandable are left out.

Most importantly, when a legislator frequently takes to writing letters to the editor (for example two recent ones, here and here), he is on the defensive. Explaining legislation in a defensive mode is a losing battle.

A legislator has the bully pulpit from which to expound whatever he wishes. Local papers give weekly column space for legislators. He has his own web page to explain everything in detail. He has state legislative web space available to him as well. He doesn’t need space in letters to the editor. That should be reserved for the citizens who do not have a bully pulpit.

But Kalin has a problem no matter what he writes. The more he writes, the more he tries to explains things, the worse it gets. So we won’t get detailed explanations. He will continue his hit and run communications, fashioned after the model of the leftist drive-by media that Rush Limbaugh loves.



Columnist Pat Tepoorten takes Kalin to task for Kalin's abuse of Tepoorten.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Kalin & Olseen Both Holding Back Information

A legislator votes dozens of times - no, hundreds and hundreds of times - in the course of a two year legislative Session.

Every legislator is assigned to Committees and Sub-Committees as well as the full House or Senate, if a Representative or a Senator, and votes are taken in each of these venues and all of these votes are part of the cumulative process of defeating, amending or advancing every piece of legislation introduced by the 201 Members of the Minnesota legislature.

Hundreds and hundreds of Bills are introduced that either become law or fail of passage and every legislator is an integral part of that process. That's why we send Legislators to St. Paul - to act on our behalf!

There is not a vote that a legislator casts that does not directly affect you and me of the constituency. Legislators are in the "business" of advancing our freedom, restricting our freedom, increasing or lowering our taxes.

Senator Olseen and Representative Kalin have both seriously failed to keep the constituency well informed about the legislation they have supported and opposed.

Instead Mr. Kalin and Mr. Olseen have, in large part, chosen to carp about partisanship or gubernatorial failures or to be silent or to write only about irrelevant things like the weather and hometown activities. We don't need coaching about things like that.

Mr. Olseen and Mr. Kalin are fortunate to have had a friendly press at their disposal which they have not utilized to inform the public and it takes on the appearance that they want to keep the lid on things that may relate to the next election. This does not reflect favorably on the assertion that Mr. Olseen and Mr. Kalin are motivated to "put people above politics."

Monday, August 18, 2008

Above His Pay Grade

At the Saddleback Civil Forum on the Presidency, Rev. Rick Warren asked Senator Barack Obama and Senator John McCain to give answers to his questions. The following transcript is taken from here and the whole transcript is available here.

Rev. Rick Warren: "Now, let’s deal with abortion. Forty million abortions since Roe v. Wade. You know, as a pastor, I have to deal with this all of the time. All of the pain and all of the conflicts. I know this is a very complex issue. Forty million abortions. At what point does a baby get human rights in your view?"

Barack Obama: "Well, I think that whether you’re looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity, you know, is above my pay grade."

Obama said, ". . . answering that question. . . . is above my pay grade." And this man wants to be president! Almost all presidential decisions are above the presidential pay grade which is small compared to the business world. We don’t pay presidents for their decisions. We elect them to make decisions.

Pastor Warren’s salary would be small in comparison also, yet he said he has to deal with this all of the time. So by self-declaration, Obama could not be the pastor of a church because he doesn’t get paid enough to answer that question. How unpresidential!

Obama said he can’t answer it from a scientific perspective and didn’t try. He said he can’t answer it from a theological perspective and didn’t. But he said there is a moral and ethical perspective to abortion.

"But let me just speak more generally about the issue of abortion because this is something obviously the country wrestles with. One thing that I'm absolutely convinced of is there is a moral and ethical content to this issue. So I think that anybody who tries to deny the moral difficulties and gravity of the abortion issue I think is not paying attention. So that would be point number one."

OK, there’s a moral and ethical perspective to abortion, but what is it? No answer from Obama.

Obama continued: "But point number two, I am pro-choice. I believe in Roe v. Wade. . ."

Ah, there’s a legal perspective that Obama believes in. Now how does Obama come to his legal decision?

Obama: I ". . . come to that [legal] conclusion not because I'm pro abortion, but because ultimately I don't think women make these decisions casually. They wrestle with these things in profound ways. In consultation with their pastors or spouses or their doctors and their family members."

So Obama makes his legal decision by observing that women don’t make these decisions casually, that is, that his legal conclusion is based on the grave process of other people making decisions. Wow, that is solid legal reasoning that would pass any Supreme Court test!

Obama continues: "And so for me, the goal right now should be— and this is where I think we can find common ground (and by the way I have now inserted this into the Democrat Party platform) is how do we reduce the number of abortions because the fact is that although we've had a president who is opposed to abortions over the last eight years, abortions have not gone down."

So let’s all have common ground around Obama's legal perspective which really is a social perspective of reducing the number of abortions, which hasn’t happened under President Bush, but evidently it will under President Obama.

With his logic, because a person wrestled hard while deciding to embezzle and reduced the amount of intended embezzlement for social reasons, the embezzlement is legal. Or because a person really struggled with bumping off a family and reduced the number of victims for social reasons, the killings were legal.

Answering that question about the baby is truly above Obama’s pay grade. And he thinks Justice Clarence Thomas was unqualified!

Obama camp cries 'foul!'

Well it didn’t take long for the Obama camp to begin yelling ‘foul’ after the ‘Civil Forum on the Presidency’ concluded Saturday evening. NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell reported on air yesterday that some aides of Obama thought that McCain might have been able to listen to Obama and Reverend Warren during the first half of the forum, explaining why he outperformed Obama at the forum.

This is the typical behavior of the left wing. The Clintons had that ‘Right Wing Conspiracy’ theory of theirs that they liked to blame for all of Bill’s ‘shortcomings.’ Now the Obama camp cries foul when their candidate fails to perform even close to the level expected during the forum. ‘He (McCain) must have had a television or something in that room’ was the claim.

It was later discovered that John McCain was not even yet in the building and was in fact still on his way to the forum in his motorcade during the first half.

The long and short of it is this; John McCain was clear, decisive, and on point regarding every issue brought by Pastor Warren. There was little indecision from Senator McCain, he drew from his experience as a leader to answer each and every question with conviction and passion.

Senator Obama answered the questions with ramblings like someone unfamiliar with normal conversation. There were many instances when Obama was clearly uncomfortable with the question asked by Reverend Warren, his answers were vague and he actually avoided directly answering several. It was very clear that if Obama does not have time to rehearse his speech or answers in advance, he rattles on as best he can with little confidence.

This forum was great and if you didn’t get a chance to view it, I encourage you to find it on the internet and enjoy.

Once you see it, you will have little problem deciding who you want leading this country. John McCain is someone who will stand up for democracy on the world stage and will not allow allies like the Republic of Georgia to be bullied by the likes of Russia.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Hamilton and the North Branch Bridge

So what does Rep. Rod Hamilton’s experience say about the I35 bridge in North Branch?

Rep. Kalin (D-17B) has been working to get the North Branch highway 95 bridge over the freeway replaced, as well he should (press releases 3/19/2007, 2/8/2008 and 2/22/2008. Kalin has removed most of his communications from his own web site.). Roads and bridges are part of his work for the district he represents.

He claims to have secured the funding for it in the T bill passed in February 2008, stating

"We enacted the historic 2008 Transportation Bill to bring $15.5 million in new state funds to fix Chisago County’s roads, to replace the North Branch bridge, and start new commuter bus service."

It’s too early for Kalin to crow. He is not home free yet! It’s not over until the fat lady sings. Just remember Rep. Hamilton!

Kalin worked to get that bridge approved in 2007, but the Governor vetoed the bill. That should not have surprised Kalin because Pawlenty had given ample warning that he would do so if the Dems included the poison pill (raising the gas tax) in the legislation. Kalin and the Dems could have worked with the Governor, but they went for broke and the T bill was vetoed. Kalin and the Dems love to blame Pawlenty for that, but they are at fault for not heeding his warning. Sometime a person must take less than what is desired or one will lose it all. Kalin threw it to the wind and lost in 2007.

Kalin threw it to the wind again in 2008, only this time the T bill was passed, was vetoed and was overridden because six Republicans voted with the Dems, Rep. Hamilton included, who may not get what he was promised in the bill.

Will Kalin get his bridge? The transportation bill does not have specific language in it to replace the North Branch bridge because the language attempts to avoid the perception of earmarks. In reality, Kalin isn’t assured of anything because Mn/DOT will work with the legislative language and its ever-updated status on all Minnesota bridges. The North Branch bridge could be bumped out by many other bridges that need replacement.

On February 22, 2008, Kalin provided a press release, but did not state any thing about a new I-35 bridge in North Branch as a result of the T bill passage.

In March, Kalin said Mn/DOT had penciled in the bridge replacement for 2012 although he didn't give any documentation for that. He also said the City of North Branch had secured funding from Congress for it.

On April 11, 2008, Kalin stated "Passage of this [HF 2800] bill likely will allow the North Branch Bridge design to begin in 2008 with construction to follow soon after" (my emphasis).

Later in April Kalin wrote, "Because of partisan politics in previous years, the only major impediment to building a new bridge in North Branch was lack of state funds. The bipartisan 2008 Transportation Bill changed all that. Design on the new North Branch bridge should begin this year, with construction likely in 2009." North Branch city engineer, Julie Dresel, suggested 2010.

Was Kalin correct that all he needed was state money to build the bridge? No, because Rep. James Oberstar then announced there is federal money to the tune of "$7,120,745 for the design and construction of a new bridge on Highway 95 in North Branch." Without Oberstar and federal money, Kalin’s state financing was only a piece of the puzzle. The federal dollars came out of money left over from projects in the 2005 federal transportation bill. Oberstar pulled the strings for his buddy Kalin.

So it is stretching the truth to say as Kalin did above, "the only major impediment to building a new bridge in North Branch was lack of state funds." Kalin is just plain lucky that there were left over federal funds and that a Minnesotan is head of the federal Transportation Committee. Without those two factors, the bridge would still not be built before 2012.

But even with all these ducks in a row, will the North Branch bridge be built in 2009? The language in the bill does not bind Mn/DOT to replace it on Kalin’s desired schedule. Other bridges could easily outrank it, just as the Blatnik bridge in Duluth and the Hastings bridge did. Projects like the highway 23 bridge in St. Cloud or the Winona bridge have a way of upsetting well-intentioned schedules. Any day we could hear of the next bridge crisis. Will a local, safe, but functionally inadequate, bridge such as ours be bumped ahead of bridges ranked worse in safety?

If the bridge is actually replaced in 2009, doesn’t that imply that some other bridge in Minnesota had to wait? Some other taxpayers were bumped. Kalin just might be out of office before anything happens on the North Branch bridge.
    • Other runners are competing for the same prize money.
    • Sometimes the legislated rules are vague.
    • Some runners will trip you.
    • Some bridges on the course do fall down!
    • Some bridges on the course are constricted so you have to wait your turn.
    • You are one runner on the relay team. Without the others, you will not win.
    • You are running because you were selected and can be unselected very quickly.
    • You volunteered to run.
    • You are paid to run.
    • You can seize the prize only at the expense of all spectators who are taxed at the local, county, state and federal level to pay for the prize.
    • You pay a very small amount for the prize.
    • The spectators pay for the prize even if they don’t want it, don't use it or can’t afford it.
    • Don’t hot dog it before you get to the finish line.
    • If you get there, act like you have been there before even if you haven’t.
    • Tomorrow you have to start all over.

    Rod Hamilton Feels Duped

    Rod Hamilton (R-22B, Mountain Lake) is one of six Republicans who voted to override the Governor’s veto of the 2008 Transportation Bill, otherwise known as the largest tax increase in state history. Hamilton had agreed with the Democrats to vote for the bill because he believed they had promised to fund the reconstruction of a portion of highway 60 in his district. Now Mn/DOT says his project was not included in the bill and Hamilton feels he was duped into voting for the bill. Read about it in the Strib.

    Back on February 21, just days before the vote on the T bill, Minnesota Public Radio reported,

    ". . . [T]here are signs that deals are being made. A provision has been added to the bill that would expand Highway 60 in southern Minnesota. That highway is in Rep. Rod Hamilton's district, and construction companies have been lobbying him to support the bill."

    That provision was not in the second engrossment of the bill on February 19, 2008, but was inserted into the third engrossment of the bill on February 20 in the form of 22 lines of text found at lines 9.21-10.7, which was adopted in the fourth and final engrossment. That text is as follows:

    9.21 (e) Of the total appropriation under this
    9.22 subdivision provided to the Department of
    9.23 Transportation's district 7, the commissioner
    9.24 shall first expend funds as necessary to
    9.25 accelerate all projects that (1) are on a trunk
    9.26 highway classified as a medium priority
    9.27 interregional corridor, (2) are included in the
    9.28 district's long-range transportation plan, but
    9.29 are not included in the state transportation
    9.30 improvement program or the ten-year
    9.31 highway work plan, and (3) expand capacity
    9.32 from a two-lane highway to a freeway
    9.33 or expressway, as defined in Minnesota
    9.34 Statutes, section 160.02, subdivision 19. The
    9.35 commissioner shall establish as the highest
    10.1 priority under this paragraph any project that
    10.2 currently has a final environmental impact
    10.3 statement completed. The requirement
    10.4 under this paragraph does not change the
    10.5 department's funding allocation process
    10.6 or the amount otherwise allocated to each
    10.7 transportation district.

    The practice in the state legislature is to avoid written earmarks, at least making a show of avoiding it. The verbage allocating tax dollars for a project does not read "twenty-three miles of four lanes of highway 60 between St. James and Windom." That specificity is avoided. Instead the convoluted language of the quoted text above is used. Aside from the fact that District 7 is specified, one would need to know the identity of the project in order to identify it in the text of the law.

    So Hamilton thought the language was clear. The DFL party leadership inserted it into the bill which was approved, vetoed and overridden. Senator Jim Vickerman (DFL-Tracy) called for a public hearing, thinking it is clear (reports on the public hearing here and here).

    But House Transportation Committee Chair, DFL Rep. Bernie Lieder, said, ". . . [T]here was never an intention to give the highway special status in return for Hamilton's vote." I wonder what all the arm twisting was about then (see this commentary).

    And now Mn/DOT says that language does not clearly identify Hamilton’s desired project and that it would be short of funds to do the work, but promises to make a decision in the next month.

    All this may be resolved in Hamilton’s favor yet, but don’t bet on it. Meanwhile, Hamilton feels hung-out-to-dry by Mn/DOT and the DFL which twisted his arm to support the bill which he was willing to do to gain his desired/needed road improvement.

    Making deals is dangerous. As part of the Override Six, he lost his positions in the Republican Caucus. After the Dems had his vote to override the Governor’s veto and get what they wanted, Lieder can withhold a reward for Hamilton’s needed help. Who says politics doesn’t come before people?!

    I bet "Bipartisan" DFL Kalin doesn’t support Republican Hamilton against DFL Lieder! Kalin won't go against the DFL and lose support for his I35 bridge. Furthermore, Hamilton's road cost would encroach on Kalin's bridge cost.

    Read some additional commentary on this here, here, here, here and here.

    Saturday, August 16, 2008

    Representative Kalin is a fiscal conservative - NOT!!

    Representative Jeremy Kalin (and of the same political-DNA is Senator Rick Olseen) has told the people that he is a "fiscal conservative." Kalin has said that in print - we are not putting words in Kalin's mouth.

    But the facts clearly are otherwise!

    We turn to the TAXPAYERS LEAGUE*, a known fiscal conservative organization, which has named the "2007 Best Friends of the Taxpayer" and listed alphabetically they are:

    Rep. Bruce Anderson (19A)
    Rep. Mark Buesgens (35B)
    Rep. Chris DeLaForest (49A)
    Rep. Tom Emmer (19B)
    Rep. MaryLiz Holberg (36A)
    Rep. Paul Kohls (34A)
    Rep. Mark Olson (16B)
    Rep. Ron Shimanski (18A)
    Rep. Kurt Zellers (32B)

    Based on their taxpayer-friendly votes the above nine persons in the Minnesota House of Representatives - received a rating of 100 per cent.

    Based on exactly the same criteria (the record of his votes on the same issues as the above Representatives were judged and rated) guess what score our "fiscal conservative" Representative Jeremy Kalin received: A FLAT OUT ZERO! (Incidentally Olseen received a zero rating on the Senate issues that he voted on as listed by the Taxpayers League).

    The moment of truth has arrived dear citizens of this legislative District. Is it Representative Jeremy Kalin's voice (that which he tells you) or his vote (that he casts in the Capitol) that is telling the truth?

    *The above information is from a current publication of the Taxpayers League, which see.

    Here's an Assignment for Kalin and Olseen

    Since the illustrious and ambitious team of Kalin and Olseen are so busy working on behalf of Chisago county that Kalin wears out dozens of shoes - oh, that's right, that was while he was campaigning (we don't hear how Olseen is faring in the shoes category!) - we could task them with the responsibility to make a personal inspection of the North Branch/95 bridge to see what freeway hazards may currently exist and report back to the public because even a casual look at the bridge while driving over it suggests real deterioration of the concrete deck and support and there could be a hazard for freeway drivers from pieces or chunks of concrete that could fall. And could we have that report before the election so due credit is afforded?

    Friday, August 15, 2008


    This is in response to "anonymous" who declares without citing the source of his certainty that "I am sure that most of the public would consider referring to individuals as kooks because you disagree with their policies as personal attacks."

    Cite the source of your certainty. Have you polled "most of the public" to get such a certain answer that you rely on in your angered disagreement?

    Or are you engaging in hyperbole?

    Or worse, would you now seek to censor us from using even a simple acronym derived from listing Kalin, Olseen, Oberstar, Klobuchar and Swanson as the top leaders of the DFL (another acronym!) for this District and the State?

    Look up the dictionary definition of an acronym and be informed!

    Wherein are we dishonest? Wherein are we untruthful?


    You cannot cite it because, friend, it is not there!

    Lack of Documentation

    Rep. Jeremy Kalin (D-17B) wrote his most recent editorial, taking an earlier letter writer to task. In it he appealed to an editorial by the Pioneer Press, attempting to refute that writer. However, he did not provide any documentation so his readers could examine that Pioneer Press piece.

    He talked about ". . . $1.6 billion in property taxes spent last year on state highway projects." He has mentioned this figure several times, but has never offered documentation. He failed to point his constituents to the source for this assertion so we can study it for ourselves.

    He wrote, "Without the new funding in the Transportation Bill, North Branch would have been forced to ask city residents to pay the $4.5 million (earlier he said $4.2 million) funding gap from property taxes. . ." Again, Kalin failed to give his source for this claim. Certainly the taxpayers of North Branch would benefit by looking at the numbers for themselves.

    Kalin defended himself, claiming, "But to say that a bill was drafted to take advantage of the tragedy is mere mud-throwing not supported by facts." He didn’t offer any facts to disprove this just as he claimed the letter writer ". . . relied on personal attacks and absurd exaggerations of fact" without offering any proof of his charge. His mere pronouncement is apparently sufficient in his mind.

    In previous pieces he has written about $15 million coming to Chisago County for roads and bridges, but never provides his source for his postulate. He claims to have secured property tax relief, but never gives the numbers or the documentation for those numbers.

    Some time ago he claimed, "According to MnDOT's own projections, Minnesota is $2.4 billion behind every year in keeping up our current system." We looked at that here. He threw it out there without directing us to any source. If Mn/DOT truly made those projections, then he should be able to link to documents on their web site.

    Some time ago, he declared, "HF2800 [the recently passed transportation bill] will allow MnDOT to repair or replace all of the 13 bridges in worse structural condition than the I35W Bridge." We looked at that statement here and asked for documentation. He did not identify those 13 bridges nor provide his sources.

    Examples could be multiplied, but this is sufficient to show he doesn’t think his readers need anything more than his word.

    Kalin wants us to work with the ". . . real facts. . ." But he has little or no interest in giving the sources of those "facts." As a representative of Chisago County downtown, he needs to tell us the facts and provide the Internet links and documentation to support his claims. While many readers are unconcerned about evidence and are willing to accept his claims without proof, many of us are not. My high school teachers would have given him a failing grade on a report that did not provide documentation. I hereby give him an F for his failure to document his assertions in his communications with us.

    Wednesday, August 13, 2008


    Representative Jeremy Kalin has morphed into a political "bawl-baby" who cries out in the media with letters-to-the-editor alleging that he is the victim of "personal attack" yet he does not cite valid specific substantiation of his "victimhood" while he tries to use the dodge as a clever device to "shame" people for having the temerity to disagree in the media with his votes and viewpoints. I cite Kalin's letter in the ECM Post Review for Wednesday, August 13, 2008.

    In short, if you disagree with Jeremy Kalin he claims you indulge in "personal attack." Nice try Jeremy Kalin but that is a bunch of baloney! There is a world of difference between "personal attack" and "vigorous disagreement" with your political viewpoints, votes and ideas. And you know it! And we know it! And we will not be silenced when you are wrong!

    Tuesday, August 12, 2008

    An Empty Hand and a Lid

    Rep. Kalin claims on his web site on August 12, 2008,
    ". . . [W]e took significant steps toward Property Tax Reform, limiting property tax levy increases to just 3.9% a year, and increasing the direct property tax rebate fund by $25 million."
    With his vaunted property tax reform, Kalin came to the 10 Chisago County cities with an almost empty hand, bringing a mere $122,093 more LGA for all 10 cities.

    Six of the cities, Harris, Lindstrom, North Branch, Shafer, Taylors Falls and Wyoming, will lose LGA under the new 2008 LGA law, because Kalin’s empty hand swooped in and swiped money from these municipalities.

    But that is not all he did. He then voted to clamp a 3.9% lid on local levy increases. So now those 6 cities that lost some LGA, are limited to a 3.9% levy increase for 2009, 2010 and 2011. Talk about a straight jacket! Taxpayers may like the imposed levy cap to keep their tax load down, but it could be tough for a city to fund needed projects, effectively causing taxes to mushroom after the 3 years.

    Kalin calls this scenario property tax reform. He doesn’t trust local elected council members to hold the line on property taxes, so he thinks the state legislature should dictate their actions. Kalin and Olseen substituted their decisions for every elected official and every citizen who attends Truth in Taxation hearings to hold a council accountable for its proposed budget.

    Kalin can vote to spend $6.6 billion on transportation (and raise taxes the same amount), but he can’t trust locals to make a responsible levy.

    He can brag about giving Chisago County $15 million for roads and bridges, but then hog tie local governments so they may be restricted from doing street reconstruction.

    He tells us how wonderful he’s been to give out $42 million in LGA (and tax us for that money) and then tells locals they have a lid on how much property tax they can raise.

    Kalin’s version of property tax reform is you pay property taxes and you kick in other taxes to the state so he can give it back to you as a wonderful gift called LGA which was reduced for 6 cities in Chisago County.

    This rookie legislator has demonstrated his ardent belief in statism and socialism—depend on the state to redistribute wealth and don’t trust the locals with their own money. In his desperate attempt to foster state control, he ended up hurting those whom he represents by swiping LGA and then slamming a lid on our own ability to raise our own local taxes.

    This is not the actions of a fiscal or responsible conservative. It’s time to replace him with a true conservative, Don Taylor.

    A Distinction Without a Difference


    Monday, August 11, 2008

    Property Tax Relief: Kalin Style

    One of Rep. Jeremy Kalin’s (D-17B) legislative goals was to secure property tax relief. Looking at his literature, updates and press releases reveals property tax relief and property tax reform is a dominant theme, for example, here, here, here and currently, where he says:
    "And we took significant steps toward Property Tax Reform, limiting property tax levy increases to just 3.9% a year, and increasing the direct property tax rebate fund by $25 million."
    His own campaign manager exulted in finally gaining property tax relief through Kalin’s efforts. The new 2008 local government aid (LGA) law provides $42 million more for Minnesota cities that will be payable in 2009. $42 million is a significant amount. Why, to hear Kalin and Vitalis tell it, Kalin gave us RELIEF!!

    But that relief is not all what it is cracked up to be, as we have previously noted. In that post we noted that 4 cities in Chisago County gained LGA while 6 cities lost LGA for a combined gain county-wide of $121,093. That’s not much relief!

    So what is the 10 Chisago County cities’ share of the new LGA? Our 10 cities will receive $121,093 of the $42,000,000. That is 0.29% of the total increase in LGA. That’s not much relief! That’s not worth writing home about. That’s not any cause for celebration. That’s not worth all the hoopla from Kalin’s campaign manager.

    Kalin and Olseen did not bring home the bacon. The Sugar Daddy didn’t come through. And Vitalis is crowing about little or nothing.

    And don’t forget—all the $42,000,000 classified as "tax relief" is paid by you, the taxpayer. Kalin takes your money and hands it back to you as if the state paid for it. And then Vitalis crows that Kalin gave you "tax relief." Some deal!

    Thursday, August 07, 2008

    Does This Make His Followers "Airheads?"

    B Obama "blows" into town to inform us of his "energy policy" which consists of "adding air to our tires!"

    Come to think of it, hot air does make things rise so after that "uplifting" message Obama's gas guzzling entourage zooms him away with several million dollars gathered, we assume with tongue in cheek, from the local "little guys" who have always been the object of DFL concern!

    But, sadly, the old saying still applies: "A fool and his money are soon parted." And that saying is valid in this instance too for you, my DFL friend, have been played for "the fool" and Obama has "parted" you from your money!

    LESSON TO BE LEARNED? A smart person changes his mind - a fool never!!

    On the local legislative level you have choices to make too - "hot air" promises made by campaigning officeholders will try to fool you into letting the same bee sting you twice!"

    Monday, August 04, 2008


    When a Legislator is criticized publicly and cannot defend the votes he makes in the legislature some Legislators resort to the old tricky tactic of complaining that his critics are launching a personal attack.

    Mr. Kalin, you totally kid yourself if you think the blistering criticism you (and Senator Olseen) are receiving from the constituency about your vote for the terrible transportation bill is a personal attack - it is most certainly a vigorous and considered disagreement with your vote for a bill that became law which clearly does not serve the best interests of the people of 17b.

    Sunday, August 03, 2008

    It Could Not Have Been Said Better!

    "As usual, Jeremy Kalin has no answer other than to raise taxes and blame the Governor."

    "Jeremy, gas is already costing my family enough - thank you for the extra tax."

    ----Signed - "Todd" in a letter-to-the-editor, ECMPost Review newspaper, July 27, 2008

    Get a real job Mr. Kalin!

    'In Minnesota, members of the Legislature are "citizen legislators" and most have jobs outside the Legislature.'

    This is taken directly from the Minnesota State Legislature web site. There exists certain provisions that protect the jobs of our 'citizen representatives' while they serve us at the capital so they can act as 'citizen legislators' and go back to their career jobs after the work at the capital has been completed.

    Mr. Kalin does not need these provisions since his full time job is that of a member of the State House. He even lists this as his job on his blog site among other places.

    When I asked Mr. Kalin about this last week when he knocked on my door asking for my support this fall, he became very defensive and actually beligerant as he stormed off down the sidewalk. He did admit that he hasn't collected a paycheck other than that paid by us to him as a member of the state legislature since becoming elected over two years ago.

    I for one am tired of career politicians like Mr. Kalin and others, it is time to send these types packing and take great care in those that we select to serve as our elected representatives. We as the GOP in this district need to take great care to vett our prospective candidates both now and in the future.

    We need to assure that we have good candidates like Don Taylor, a candidate who knows what it is like to hold a job, someone who knows what it feels like to pay property taxes in this district, and someone that will go to St. Paul to represent this district, get the job done in the best interest of the taxpayers of this district and the State of Minnesota, and then go back to his regular job when the work is done.

    I am suspect of anyone who wants to be a politician so bad that they put getting elected before a real career. Politics was never supposed to be a career and too many have made careers of it. It is time for these career politicians to hear our call, it is time for you to get a real job!

    LGA--Democrat Style

    In a letter to the editor, Kalin’s campaign manager, Wade Vitalis, asked and answered a question and made an assertion,

    What happened when they [former Republican legislatures] voted to cut local government aid (LGA) to our cities? You got it – our property taxes went up and up and up.

    That was then – this is now.

    The Democratic legislature has increased LGA to our cities. . . Finally – property tax relief.

    Did former Republican legislatures vote to cut local government aid (LGA)? Look at the statewide totals found here on page 30 of the state document for a history from 2002 to 2007.

    Cert. 2002 LGA.....Cert. 2003 LGA.....Paid 2003 LGA

    Cert. 2004 LGA.....Cert. 2005 LGA.....Cert. 2006 LGA

    Cert. 2007 LGA

    The 2003 LGA was certified by a Dem controlled legislature, if I remember correctly. The paid 2003 LGA was greatly reduced by a Rep controlled legislature to help offset the $4.6 billion deficit inherited from the Dems.

    The Republicans pulled the state back from a deficit to a reserve, which is also reflected in the 2004 and '05 numbers. This was wise stewardship. Then the Republicans increased LGA for 2006 and '07. If Vitalis wanted a fatter LGA check for cities in this time period, then the state’s financial house would have been much poorer.

    So yes the Republicans cut LGA to rescue the state from the $4.6 billion deficit that the Dems helped create by overspending.

    The above is for the statewide LGA figures. Click here for the LGA certified to each of the 10 cities in Chisago County between 2002 and 2007. Some cities lost and some cities gained. Click here for the history of any city during this time period.

    Next Vitalis claims the 2007-2008 Democrat controlled legislature has increased LGA to the cities and thus given property tax relief. Is this true? Yes it is (see page 25 here). The total statewide LGA was raised from $484,148,487 for 2009 to $526,148,487 which is still short of the $586,848,950 LGA for 2003 certified by a Dem controlled legislature.

    So how did the 10 cities of Chisago County fare under Kalin’s and the Dem’s new 2008 LGA law which provided for increased LGA statewide?

    ..................2008....2009 projected..2009 new law
    Center City....$46,226......$42,999.........$46,226
    Chisago City...$111,816.....$69,501....... $124,501
    North Branch..$349,538.....$431,592.......$429,229
    Rush City.......$518,419.....$562,892.......$674,075
    Taylors Falls...$195,970.....$211,708........$195,970
    Wyoming......$22,560....... $22,584........$0

    Center City, Chisago City, Rush City and Stacy gained a combined $212,626 from the Dem’s new LGA law. All the rest of the cities lost a combined $90,533 of LGA money compared to the 2009 projections based on the old law.

    This is nothing to brag about. Vitalis’ unqualified "yes" is disingenuous. Kalin and Olseen did not "bring home the bacon" for all the cities they represent. They lost for the majority of the cities in Chisago County, while gaining a total of $122,093 county-wide. For all the work the Dems did on the new LGA law, this is nothing for Kalin and Olseen to write home about.

    Meanwhile, Vitalis will not be paying state aid money from his left pocketbook to his right property tax pocketbook because he did not benefit from the new LGA law. In the end, he still didn’t get relief! What a shame!

    Plop, Plop, Fizz, Fizz, Oh, What a Relief It Is

    In the Post Review, Kalin’s campaign chair, Wade Vitalis, declares he has relief! Let’s celebrate with him!

    He doesn’t like his property taxes going up. He likes state gas tax increases and increased LGA payments from the state because they offset his property tax increases.

    Let’s not tell him since he has relief, but the rest of us know he is paying for his property tax and his gas tax and kicking into LGA as well (to keep his property tax down). It must feel good to him that his left pocket book pays to reduce the taxes his right pocket book pays.

    This is an example of the Dem’s propensity to support statism. Keep the local government decisions funded by local tax dollars and we will actually reduce taxes in many cases, because there will be far more accountability.

    Another Response to the Editor

    A July 24, 2008 letter to the editor of the Chisago County Press (not available online) is posted here on this blog. The editor of the Chisago County Press responded to the original letter writer who made an excellent response to the editor on July 31 (posted here).

    Here is an additional thought. The Chisago County Press editor complained that the state aid for road construction and maintenance in North Branch barely increased in 10 years. This was blamed in part on the merging of townships and cities resulting in a population of at least 5,000, making them qualified for state aid for roads. The Press editor argued the solution is to increase the gas tax. Consider another angle on this.

    The state Constitution was amended in 1954 to give 9% of the gas tax to cities of 5,000 or more people (See MN Constitution, Article XIV, Section 5). Conditions have changed in the last fifty years. Perhaps the 5,000 number should be revisited and be changed to limit the number of cities receiving state aid or the state aid eliminated all together.

    Cities smaller than 5,000 must pay for their local streets through property taxes, not the gas tax, even though they pay the gas tax just like those in cities over 5,000. What is fair about this arrangement? If a smaller city can and must pay for its local roads through property taxes, then why cannot it pay for them when its population exceeds 5,000? What is magical about that number?

    Consider a city and a neighboring township. Residential development occurs in both. In each case, plats with streets are constructed at the expense of the developer. Maintenance, repair and replacement of those streets eventually become the responsibility of the local government, which pays for it through property taxes.

    When these two entities merge and exceed 5,000 in population, why cannot the street work continue to be paid through property taxes without state aid? The street length stays the same. The tax base is still there. Why should the larger, merged entity now receive state aid for city streets?

    I suspect some politician(s) back in the 1950s saw the opportunity to get state money for cities. People voted for the constitutional amendment without thinking about the consequences, believing that state aid is always a good thing. More importantly, the people thought it would not cost them—afterall, the state pays for it (not realizing the state has money only because we taxpayers give it to them). Furthermore, over time, more and more demands are placed on the tax arrangement that those voting for the constitutional amendment did not envision.

    Now the state aid program is expected. Larger cities are addicted to it. Then when the state fund is cut into smaller pie slices, cities complain there is not enough to go around, which is a driving factor in raising the state gas tax, to fund the share that some cities receive.

    The lesson? Keep funding as close to the local level as possible. Whether it comes from your property taxes or from the state gas tax, it is your money, but there are strings attached to the state’s money. Fight statism. Keep government as local as possible. That is a foundational principle of Republicanism.

    Saturday, August 02, 2008


    The Chisago County Press editor quoted N.B. city engineer favorable comments on the Transportation bill supported by Kalin.

    It is accepted and understood that CC Press editor wishes to shelter Kalin and Olseen but substantively any bill should be judged by its total impact rather than finding one single favorable item and ignoring the negative remainder.

    On balance one "cannot make a silk purse out of a sow's ear" from the bad legislation called the Transportation bill and both Olseen and Kalin are justifiably severely reprimanded by the voters of this district for supporting this kind of legislation.