Today in Bachmannia: In a not unexpected development, FoxNews has a preview of Our Favorite Congresswoman long-awaited “memoir.” Among key take-aways, George W. Bush was too much of a “socialist” for her. James Rosen writes: “A new memoir to be published later this month by Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann faults President George W. Bush for having come to embrace, late in his second term in the White House, ‘a kind of ‘bailout socialism.’ … Elsewhere the three-term Republican castigates President Obama for presiding over a ‘gangster government’ marked by ‘Beltway arrogance, economic incompetence, and … the self-indulgence of the ruling class.’ She accuses the Obama administration of launching a ‘wide-ranging assault on our constitutional system’ of government and driving America towards a ‘third world lifestyle.’ Writing about the battle over the $787 [billion] stimulus program the president signed into law in February 2009, Bachmann argues the president and his advisers cared less about the ultimate uses of the money than about its systematic disbursement. ‘Those in the Obama administration didn’t care where the stimulus money was going,’ she wrote, adding, ‘what really mattered was spreading money to their friends and political allies — the big-city liberal mayors, the Saul Alinksy nostalgists, the ACORN activists, the taxpayer-subsidy-dependent green-jobs propagandists, and all the other moochers, hustlers and rent seekers demanding ‘a place at the table’ when liberals control the White House.’ ” Personally, I’d like to see someone in the next GOP debate ask her who Saul Alinsky was.
Latest on the government-spending hit list … Minnesota’s state-operated tree nurseries. Stephanie Hemphill at MPR reports: “Although the state nurseries run by the Department of Natural Resources recently celebrated their billionth tree planted, the Legislature directed them to stop selling to private buyers. That worries customers, who fear that private nurseries may not step up to fill the void. … For years, legislators have tried to close the nurseries entirely, arguing that the state shouldn’t be in the business of raising trees. State Rep. Denny McNamara, R-Hastings, is among the nurseries’ biggest critics. He said if the state wants to subsidize tree-planting, it should pay landowners, not run a nursery. ‘Call it what it is, we’re going to pay people to plant windbreaks on their property, and we’re going to offer you a subsidy to do that,’ said McNamara, a retired landscaper and nurseryman. ‘Let the market decide how that’s going to be, but don’t subsidize an operation that arguably they’re not doing a good job at.’ McNamara said his business, now run by his son, won’t benefit from the change because it only raises bigger trees, not the kind planted in forests.” Well, if he says he has no skin in this one …
Contrary to “myths” perpetuated by “the media,” property taxes are not increasing as a result of GOP budgeting pressures. Sen Julianne Ortmann says so in a commentary in the Chanhassen Villager: “The real question we grappled with all session was this: Just how much can the State afford to provide in subsidy payments to some cities and counties? These subsidies represent almost 10% of our State’s General Fund spending ($3.5 billion). And what a tangled web! The State collects sales taxes and income taxes from residents and businesses in every community and across the entire state, only to turn around and make subsidy payments to local governments to offset property taxes for property owners in selected cities, and not to others. Over half of all cities do not qualify for LGA, yet the State will spend $1.18 billion on LGA and County Program Aid in fiscal year 2012/13 — and even more problematic is the fact that these property tax aids get sent to the cities and counties, and not to taxpayers. This is an important principle of the GOP-led property tax reform: property tax relief should be made directly to property taxpayers and not to cities and counties. This will strengthen the relationship between local voters and local leaders, by improving transparency.” Exactly. Then everyone can see there’s less money.
More or less simultaneously, the House Tax Committee chairman, GOP Rep. Greg Davids, is promising property tax relief. Heather Carlson, in the Rochester Post-Bulletin writes: “Davids unveiled an $80 million proposal on Monday to slash property taxes for businesses and some homeowners. Davids, R-Preston, is proposing to exclude the first $100,000 in value for commercial/industrial properties from the statewide property tax. His plan calls for eventually phasing out the $800 million tax over 20 years. He says that this change will give businesses in the state a much-needed boost. ‘I happen to believe that what is going to get us out of these economic woes is creating private-sector jobs. The private sector creates wealth. The government does not,’ he said. … At this point, Davids said he does not have a specific plan to pay for the tax breaks. He said the idea would be to identify savings that could be found in state government to pay for it.”
While Minnesota legislators battle over the reasons to have a special session for a new football stadium, the Grand Forks Herald reports that our neighbors up there have other priorities. Says Ryan Johnson: “North Dakota could become one of the first states in the country to implement a key provision of the 2010 federal health care reform legislation if lawmakers approve a bill during this week’s special session. … North Dakota’s exchange is expected to cost $39.6 million to implement, which would be covered by federal funds. All state exchanges would be required to be self-sustaining by 2015. Sharp said the plan under HB 1474 would assess a tax on insurance companies to pay for the exchange, which is projected to cost an additional $10.2 million per biennium to cover additional staffing and technology expenses. North Dakota’s system would be administered by a newly created health benefit exchange division of the OMB. … A 13-member board made up of health insurance, small business, health care and consumer representatives would establish the policy of the exchange, which would be operational by Oct. 1, 2013.”
Meanwhile, just down the road … the AP is saying, “Reality television star JWOWW says on her official Twitter account that she was ‘treated like a criminal’ Sunday when she was singled out for a security pat down at a North Dakota airport. Jenni Farley of the MTV series ‘Jersey Shore’ says in multiple tweets that her selection while boarding seemed ‘odd and deliberate,’ as she earlier saw a TSA officer pointing at her while she was getting coffee at Fargo’s Hector International Airport. … Farley was leaving the North Dakota city after a Saturday night appearance at The Hub, a Fargo night club.” Patted down by TSA after night-clubbing Fargo. That gal is living the dream.
Maybe all that fresh air has something to do with it. Andy Birkey of the Minnesota Independent reports: “The North Star chapter of the Sierra Club is the latest statewide group to come out against a 2012 ballot question that would add a ban on same-sex marriage to the Minnesota Constitution. The influential lobby for the environment said Friday that it was jumping into the same-sex marriage debate because of its commitment to social justice.”
Did I say “stadium”? If you’re among the few watching tonight’s Vikings-Packers game, be prepared for pro-stadium ads. Paul Walsh of the Strib writes: “The ads’ scripts do not explicitly push for the Vikings’ preferred site, Arden Hills, although it shows for a few seconds an artist’s rendering of what a stadium at that Ramsey County locale might look like. Instead, with a narrator’s deep and textured voice-over, the ads emphasizes how the Vikings foster community spirit, how the stadium could be used for concerts and other sports events and how building a new stadium would be a shot in the arm for the state’s economy. ‘Preserve the legend in Minnesota,’ reads the ad’s closing. ‘Contact your legislators …’ “
At least one Target employee is getting brave/foolish and protesting the company’s midnight opening on Black Friday. Says Wendy Lee at the Strib: “A Target employee is protesting the Minneapolis-based retailer’s decision to open its doors at midnight on Thanksgiving, saying the demand on its employees is going a step too far. Target said it would open its doors five hours earlier this year for Black Friday shoppers, eager to hunt for discounted gifts. But Target employee Anthony Hardwick says that’s unfair to employees who want to celebrate Thanksgiving with their families. By mid-day Monday, more than 43,000 people had signed his petition on advocacy website Change.org, calling for Target to reverse its decision. Hardwick, who works for Target in Nebraska, hopes to get 50,000 signatures. He had just 6,700 signatures Monday morning.” We will be watching Mr. Hardwick’s career trajectory with great interest.