Posts Tagged ‘state spending’

Where’s the Truth in the Budget Debate?

Written by Jeff Johnson on June 22nd, 2011. Posted in General

No one is proposing a spending cut

How is it that the debate over the Minnesota budget has become so blatantly dishonest over the past couple months?

All I hear and read is that our choices are between an “all cuts” budget from the Republican legislature that slashes spending and cuts to the bone versus a “balanced approach” from Governor Dayton that combines deep spending cuts with increases in taxes on the wealthy.

The analysis is simply false…It’s a lie.

In reality, both the Republican proposal and the Governor’s proposal would increase the budget in the coming biennium over the past biennium, it’s just that Dayton’s proposal would increase the budget exponentially more than the Republicans.

“Hey, Pukebreath…”

Written by Jeff Johnson on September 29th, 2010. Posted in General

My Golden Hydrant last week to the county policy requiring we spend big money on art in libraries (which, if nothing changes, will total in excess of $1 million over the next few years) has stirred up great interest and emotion.

I’ve kept some of the nastiest emails/letters I’ve received over the years just so I can fondly reminisce over them on occasion.  I received one last week that will permanently find a place in my Top Ten.  The salutation:  “Hey Pukebreath.”  The author also unfavorably compared me to Adolph Hitler and noted that I’m a “buttlicking moron.”  Pukebreath, Adolph Hitler, buttlicking moron.  I hit the trifecta!

Tom Hauser did a nice story on the issue last week as well.  You can see it here.

Also, the Star Tribune ran a story yesterday written by Laurie Blake that I thought addressed the issue fairly:

Artwork on the way for 2 new libraries
LAURIE BLAKE, Star Tribune

Sculpture, stained glass and textiles will ornament the newly opened Plymouth and Maple Grove libraries next year, over the protest of a Hennepin County commissioner who says it’s no time to be spending money on artwork.

GAMC “Fix” is Needed

Written by Jeff Johnson on February 16th, 2010. Posted in General

Cost of Healthcare for the Indigent is Falling Disproportionately on Hennepin County Taxpayers

We’ve heard a lot of talk over the past few months about the scheduled elimination of the General Assistance Medical Care (“GAMC”) program. GAMC is a state program providing health care coverage to the very poor in Minnesota who are not covered by other state or federal programs. GAMC served over 35,000 Minnesotans in 2009, many of them mentally ill, disabled or chemically dependent.

Governor Pawlenty unalotted GAMC last year after proposing reforms to the program that the legislature failed to consider. Funding for the program is scheduled to end on April 1, 2010.

The largest percentage of GAMC patients in Minnesota use Hennepin County Medical Center (“HCMC”) for their care. HCMC is a public safety-net hospital that is subsidized by the taxpayers of Hennepin County. If the Governor and legislature do not find a way to restore a part of GAMC funding this session, HCMC will receive about $43 million less in state funding in 2010 than it did in 2009.

The Hennepin County Board has already promised $18 million of taxpayer money from the 2010 property tax increase to fill part of that hole. HCMC plans changes in its service delivery and operations to fill another portion. There will still, however, be a gap.

Home Sweet Wet Home

Written by Jeff Johnson on July 30th, 2009. Posted in Golden Hydrant

goldenhydrantTaxpayers fund “wet housing” for alcoholics where they’re allowed to continue drinking

Hennepin County (and government in general) spends a great deal of money on treatment programs for individuals addicted to drugs and alcohol. In my opinion, much of this money is well-spent.

I learned last week, however, of a housing program receiving Hennepin County funding that takes a unique (and I would argue ridiculous) approach to taxpayer-funded “treatment” for chronic alcoholics. The program is referred to as a “wet house” or “non-sober house” in which chronic inebriates are provided housing and other government services on a long-term basis – and are allowed to continue drinking!

Hennepin County’s wet house funding is receiving the newest Golden Fire Hydrant award.


Written by Jeff Johnson on July 22nd, 2009. Posted in General

We should all thank Pawlenty for axing the Political Contribution Refund program

Last month, Governor Pawlenty killed the Minnesota political contribution refund (“PCR”) program as part of his budget-balancing unallotment.  Although I used that program quite effectively for six years as a candidate for both the Minnesota House and Attorney General, I’m happy to see it go.

Unfortunately, there are already groups attempting to revive this program in the upcoming legislative session.

The PCR law provided that every Minnesota taxpayer could give $50 to the state office-seeker or political party of his or her choice and be fully reimbursed by the state.  All you had to do was write your check, mail in a receipt from the recipient of your contribution and you would soon receive a reimbursement check from the State of  Minnesota.  In other words, you chose who received a $50 contribution and the rest of Minnesota’s taxpayers would ante up for that choice.