FFM Bulletin 4/20/10

FFM hosts capacity crowd for Romney and Pawlenty

A capacity crowd of nearly 500 guests joined the Freedom Foundation of Minnesota (FFM) earlier this month for an evening with Governor Mitt Romney and special guest Governor Tim Pawlenty. At the close of Governor Romney's inspirational speech - entitled "The Case for American Greatness" - he was greeted with a standing ovation. Here's why: "It is that love of this land, that love all that is American that convinces me that we will do the right thing at this critical time. We've got work to do. It's a challenging time. We're up to it. The work's going to be fun, and we're going to do whatever it takes to make sure that America remains, as it has always been, the hope of the earth."

Following the event, Governor Romney signed hundreds of copies of his new book. You can read more about the event and the governors’ remarks 
here and here.

Do as we say, not as we do: 100+ MN congressional staffers exempt from health care reform mandates


More than 100 staff members appointed by three powerful Minnesota congressmen, who serve as chairman or ranking member on key House committees, appear to be exempt from a key requirement in the controversial health care reform bill recently signed into law.  According to FFM's review of the state congressional delegation’s committee assignments, it appears that 115 committee staff of Representatives James Oberstar, Collin Peterson and John Kline may be able to opt out of the requirement to purchase their health insurance through new state-run insurance exchanges.

A Congressional Research Service (CRS) analysis obtained by FFM and distributed to Members of Congress and staff raises the exemption issue. The 13-page document, titled "The Patient Protection and Affordability Care Act, and Its Potential Impact on Members of Congress and Congressional Staff", says the bill's vague wording apparently leaves out committee staff and party leaders' staff, as well as other capitol employees. The bottom line: the committee and political staff in the House and Senate who crafted the h
ealth care reform legislation can evidently keep their personal health care plans.

"Forcing millions of Americans into government-run exchanges while exempting high-level staffers is the height of Washington arrogance," Congressman John Kline told FFM. "If it’s good enough for Americans on Main Street, it ought to be good enough for Democrats’ favored staff members."

Read
 more at FFM's website.


Minnesota congressional delegation racks up more than 200 earmark requests


A Freedom Foundation of Minnesota analysis indicates the state's congressional delegation has compiled 216 earmark requests, amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars in potential spending. It's a long list of pork requests, especially considering three members of Minnesota's congressional delegation – Representatives Kline, Paulson, and Bachmann – no longer seek any earmarks at all. The list also doesn't include Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, who will add their earmarks in coming weeks and months.

FFM recently distributed this "top ten list" of dubious pork barrel spending requests.


 



Potential Recipient



Amount Requested



Project Description



10.



MN Association of Townships



$2 million



Road sign replacement--Federal tax dollars for local government to replace good street signs with more reflective street signs now required by federal government overregulation. Enough to give taxpayers road sign rage.



9.



Ramsey County



$4 million



Interstate 94 Transit Study--Millions for consultants for a stacked study of congestion on I-94 that excludes the option of adding more car lanes and concludes the only solution is a transit corridor. Who needs consultants?



8.



City of Minneapolis



$750,000



Employment and Training Services for Ex-Offenders--Why does having a criminal background make you eligible for your own career counseling program? Ex-offenders should enroll in existing job training programs. A true crime against the taxpayers.



7.



Preservation Alliance of Minnesota



$100,000



Historic Building Trades Job Training and Mentoring Program--Tax dollars to teach a “new generation of workers” not high tech essentials for the new economy but retro skills for “historic structures.” Taxpayers should nail this earmark.



6.



Fit City Duluth



$368,000



Fit City Duluth Healthy Communities Transportation Program--Fiscally fit might be one thing, but $368,000 for an investment to get citizens more active is bloated and overweight.



5.



American Swedish Institute



$500,000



Swedish Institute Remodel--Half a million dollars to renovate Swan Turnblad’s south Minneapolis house? Not with so much of our infrastructure in need of repair. Uff da!



4.



Met Council & MnDOT



$13 million



Three More Heavily Subsidized Rail Projects--Taxpayers are being light, commuter and high speed-railroaded again: Whether it’s extending Northstar commuter rail ($5 million) that taxpayers already subsidize at $90 per round trip ticket, or studying Minneapolis to Chicago high speed rail ($5 million) that would cost more and take longer than flying, or promoting a southwest suburban rail line ($3 million) that will require millions per year in operating subsidies.



3.



Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board



$500,000



Grand Rounds Scenic Byway plank road replacement--The city can’t keep up with filling all the fresh potholes in Minneapolis, but wants to use your tax dollars to pave a street with wood.



2.



City of  Eagan



$650,000



“Green” Hybrid Fire Trucks--When the fire alarm goes off, does it really matter if the fire truck consumes less fuel while idling at potentially life and death calls?



1.



Children’s Theatre Co. & School



$202,874



Early Bridges/Arts Learners--This request to provide day care drama and pre-school theater arts classes for kids 2-5 should be sent back(stage).


Read more about Minnesota’s earmark requests at FFM’s website.



FFM seeking tech interns for summer



We have big plans at FFM to ramp up our online presence and video projects, and we’re looking for some energetic help!  This internship would allow you to assist our investigative research team in bringing eye-opening stories to the public, as well as creating a better user experience for our thousands of website viewers.  Experience with video editing software, joomla!, and basic knowledge of html and css is preferred. If you or someone you know is interested, email a resume to Jonathan Blake.


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