FFM Bulletin 3/1/12

Unions continue fight against Robbinsdale school district plan to outsource bus service

Not even increased efficiency and directing money back into the classroom can satisfy the unions.

Last week, we discussed the local SEIU chapter’s fight with the Robbinsdale school district to do just that. Now, with a March 5 vote looming by the school board, the unions are ramping up their opposition against the proposal that would privatize the district’s bussing and save upwards of $1.4 million per year in school district operating costs.

The Star Tribune reported that after going out to bid late last year, First Student Inc—a private company—submitted the lowest bid for the school district’s transportation plans. They also note that the district’s contract with the union expired last year and has yet to be renewed. Union leaders claim the outsourcing is a strong-arm tactic to force contract settlement. But maybe, as school representatives suggest, it’s actually about efficiency and saving taxpayer dollars.

The district has also addressed the concern raised by some that the current bus drivers are members of the community and know many of the students personally. They say that switching to a private company would jeopardize that connection. Indeed, Robbinsdale’s director of business services says First Student, Inc is interested in hiring many of the district’s current drivers.

So what does this really come down to? Money and power for the unions. Hopefully school board members will see through the scare tactics and make their decision on what is best for taxpayers, parents, and students. This time it really is “for the kids.”

Study: Minnesota ranks in bottom third for corporate taxes--MN State News

Minnesota’s business tax costs are higher than two-thirds of the states in the US, according to a new comprehensive report released Wednesday by the non-partisan Tax Foundation. The state is ranked 39th and 35th in the two vital categories in the 50 state report, “Location Matters: A Comparative Analysis of State Tax Costs on Business.”

The report creates a measurement of the “bottom-line tax liability a firm would face doing business in each of the fifty states.” The tax differences between companies in various industries are measured and categorized between new  and existing companies. In those two categories, Minnesota ranks 39th and 35th, respectively.

Continue reading this article on mnstatenews.com.

City of Monticello Telecom Loses Millions of Taxpayer Dollars as Customers Find a Better Deal

When the local mayor says the city “shouldn’t be in the telecommunications business at all”, you know you have a serious case of government getting involved where it shouldn’t.

Advocates for municipal telecom network often cite FiberNet as a model project. Unfortunately, those days seem to be nearing an end. Financial documents filed for bondholders on February 15, 2012 show the city ran a $2.6 million loss in 2011 and is projecting a $3.5 million shortfall in 2012. The network’s customer base also declined last year, still far short of their optimistic projections.

Read more about the FiberNet’s failure at the expense of Monticello taxpayers in our recent Accountability Alert. 

Unions Receive Vast Majority of Federal Health Care Waivers in Minnesota--Accountability Alert

Minnesota labor unions are the state’s biggest recipient of federal health care waivers, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services records. The waivers release employers from complying with some of the most onerous provisions in the Affordable Care Act. Critics have previously accused the Obama Administration of using waivers to reward well-connected political allies, including local units of government and labor unions, while other employers are forced to operate under the law’s strict rules. The latest round of waivers from HHS provides additional fodder for critics.

Fifteen Minnesota-based labor unions with more than 90,000 workers were exempted from paying for a key requirement of the health care reform law.

Read the entire piece on our website.

A new low for the global warming movement thanks to one man
The Heartland Institute posed this scenario in their latest newsletter:

Why would a prominent scientist/global warming activist commit acts of fraud and theft against global warming skeptics and then send to the media a forged document containing fictitious, over-the-top schemes that would embarrass skeptics? Answer: Because global warming activists cannot muster sufficient credible science to win the debate.

Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened to our fellow conservatives at the Heartland Institute. The scandal now known as “Fakegate” marks a new low for the extreme-environmental movement that could land Peter Gleick, aka the disgraced global warming scientist, in jail. This man was so desperate to validate his movement that he decided to commit fraud and identity theft instead of relying on facts and data. We’re glad we have the latter on our side.

More on Fakegate can be found here.


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