FFM Bulletin 3/8/12

The Freedom Foundation of Minnesota proudly welcomes special guest John Stossel on April 17

Emmy Award-winning journalist and bestselling author John Stossel will headline the Freedom Foundation of Minnesota’s annual dinner on Tuesday, April 17.  The topic of Stossel’s remarks will be “Why Government Fails, but Individuals Succeed,” which is also the title of his new book. The event will feature a private dinner, a general reception and, of course, his speech.

For details on the event, please visit our website or stosselatffm.eventbrite.com to reserve your seats!

Update: Robbinsdale school board votes to privatize bus service, saving taxpayers as much as $1.3 million

In an effort to bring greater efficiency and direct taxpayer funds back into the classroom, the Robbinsdale school board voted 5-2 on Monday to privatize the district’s bussing service, projecting a savings upwards of $1.3 million in school district operating costs. The district had been targeted by local unions who organized opposition to the cost-saving proposal. Not only is this a big win for taxpayers, parents and students, but also for the school district that did not succumb to union pressure and scare tactics.

Accountability Alert: Unions Receive Vast Majority of Health Care Waivers in MN

Minnesota labor unions are the state’s biggest recipient of federal health care waivers, according to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) records. The waivers release employers from complying with some of the onerous provisions contained 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.

Read the rest of our latest Accountability Alert here.

Minneapolis ranked #1 for nation's highest meal tax

A recent study by the Tax Foundation, a DC-based, non-partisan, educational organization, showed Minneapolis topping a list of cities withthe highest meal taxes in the nation, even higher than Chicago and New York City. The state’s largest city led the country with its 7.775 percent sales tax and additional meal tax of 3 percent, resulting in a combined tax on downtown meals of 10.775 percent.

How’s that for Minnesota nice?

Bill aims to increase oversight, curb fraud in small-town Iowa | IowaPolitics.com
MN State News featured a story this week from IowaPolitics.com about a handful of city clerks in small Iowa communities that have used taxpayer dollars to buy liquor, laptops, and other various products solely intended for personal use. According to the Iowa State Auditor, the number of fraud cases in Iowa cities with less than 700 residents has increased by 357 percent from 2000-2005 to 2006-2011. Legislation to curb these abuses will likely be introduced in the state Government Oversight Committee.

From the article:

“That’s some temptation for a person who’s doing one of these jobs. There’s very little pay in those jobs and there’s very little gratification,” said Sen. Thomas Courtney, D-Burlington, co-chairman of the Government Oversight Committee. “All of a sudden, you’re in there handling a lot of money. Maybe it’s tempting. Well, maybe if you know the state might be taking a look over your shoulder next year, maybe you’ll say, ‘You know, I’m just going to play it straight.’”

Read more on our website.

Freedom Foundation of Minnesota internships available!
The Freedom Foundation of Minnesota is looking for part-time interns this spring and summer to assist with research and communications projects. Interns will work with FFM's government transparency and accountability initiative, research government waste and abuse, and help maintain the FFM website. We can also work with applicants who are interested in earning college credit for the internship. Interested applicants should send a resume to FFM Development Director Christina Pajak or call 612-354-2160.


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