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From Most Minnesota GOP House Reps: We Get Nothing

Category: Transportation
Posted: 02/22/08 07:06, Edited: 02/22/08 07:12

by Dave Mindeman

Reading some of the quotes from yesterday's transportation bill debates and commentary, looks like a case study in denial.

Republicans got their scaled down bill. The Chamber of Commerce endorsed the bill. The Legislative Auditor's report outlined the needs in gruesome detail. And yet, here we sit, looking at another veto pen from Governor Pothole -- and everything depending on the actions of a bunch of excuse makers.

I mean listen to some of this:

Dennis Ozment, R-Rosemount: ?It?s got some earmarks and stuff in there that makes it very disturbing for me ? I don?t like legislation that I feel people bought off on,? said Ozment, speaking off the House floor.

How long have you been in the legislature, Dennis? 20 plus years? And you have never seen special projects used to make a bill more palatable to the wavering? C'mon! I used to have some respect for our representative from Rosemount, but that was the lamest excuse, yet. I guess you can move on to your retirement with yet another "non-accomplishment" on your wall.

Ozment made another comment: "It doesn?t smell right to me,? he said, adding he would support the governor?s veto should the House attempt an override.

Smells like bailing out on your constituents to me.

Denny McNamara, R-Hastings: McNamara has one of the most controversial bridges in Minnesota in his district, the Hastings bridge. ?I wanted the referendum,? said McNamara. ?I wanted the sales tax to have a vote of the people,? he said.
?There was a lot of things I liked about it (the bill) ? my citizens know I support the gas tax and I support the license tab tax ? it was the sales tax without a referendum,? said McNamara of the final straw.

Sure, big guy, it all hinged on that sales tax vote for you. I hope your Hastings Bridge commuters will buy that one. Good luck explaining that one in November. Hey, Denny, our bridge still isn't fixed? Oh, sorry, I'm still waiting for referendum language. Right, McNamara, maybe you can pull a "Brooklyn Bridge" number on somebody, too.

Mary Liz Holberg, R-Lakeville: Former House Transportation Finance Committee Chairwoman Mary Liz Holberg, R-Lakeville, argued the bill was at cross-purposes, though thought the Chamber endorsement was meaningful. She didn?t know whether there would be enough votes for an override, she opined.

The key words here are "former Transportation Finance Committee Chairwoman"... We have a transportation mess largely because Holberg's committee never fixed, or moved, on anything... they kept passing the responsibility on.

The Chamber had never supported a funding bill for transportation by Democrats before. Holberg says its "meaningful"? And what does "cross purposes" mean? More double talk? Holberg has always been a coward on revenue.... no change here.

I should say that there were a few acts of courage yesterday. Rep. Jim Abeler, R-Anoka, put himself completely on the line. But when he looked at the final vote, he could only "burn the House carpet" as he watched many of his colleagues lose their nerve.

All he could say...."Why did forty-five Chamber endorsees ? why didn?t they pay attention (to the Chamber),? he said of the almost exclusive list of Republicans voting against the bill. ?I thought for sure we would pick up ? I just thought there?d be more (votes),? he said.

We know why, Rep. Abeler.

In the words of author Elbert Hubbard:

To avoid criticism do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.

From our Republican representatives that is what we get.
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Minnesota Transportation Bill is Getting Sliced Up As We Speak

Category: Transportation
Posted: 02/21/08 17:56, Edited: 02/21/08 17:57

by Dave Mindeman

Any of you conservative Republicans who try to spin the transportation bill as a "no compromise" railroading.... well, your full of you know what.

This transportation bill has been sliced up again. First it was going to raise $8.4 billion...then indexing was removed and we went down to about $7.8 billion....and now the 1/2 cent metro sales tax has been cut in half to 1/4 cent. We are now looking at $6.6 billion.

And you know what? It won't be enough...none of it.

If Republicans can't support this bill for Minnesota's infrastructure, then they are not representatives.... they are wasted space.

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For Minnesota GOP House Members: Only One Pledge Matters

Category: Transportation
Posted: 02/21/08 01:27, Edited: 02/21/08 11:40

by Dave Mindeman

I'm beginning to wonder if legislators can vote on the merits of a bill anymore. It is just not allowed.

After the release of the Legislative Auditor's report, can there really be any doubt that we need revenue help in state transportation?

The Republicans know it...at least intellectually. They still want somebody else to pay for it, but they do know more money is needed. At least, that seemed to be the point of that scarecrow of a bill they offered as an alternative to the DFL Transportation Bill. Really?... more borrowing and deeper cuts to programs for the poor? Really? That's your answer... your alternative?

After that insult was dispensed with, they got back to the partisan wrangling. A few Republicans actually had the audacity to consider their constituents needs when making a decision about the bill. My Gosh, no..no..no, not allowed. Bring out the pledge cards... (after all they have worked so well in the past).

It would seem Rep. Urdahl will need to find some "undisclosed" locations for lunch in the future....ssshhhh, he's being followed. I think you need to stick to the cheaper diners, Rep. Urdahl... no self-respecting Conservative blogger will come within a mile of those places.. (gives them heartburn, you know).

The desperation is showing. Marty boy, is putting up a brave front as he quietly counts heads....and Pawlenty is holding group hug sessions. But some of those GOP legislators have to wonder, how much longer can we keep saying no.

This isn't one of those defensive tax stands where we can have long debates about whether or not the money is needed. It is desperately needed. There are construction jobs waiting and maintenance projects backing up. You legislators can make all the pledges you want to the Taxpayer's League or to the Governor or to Marty the Malaprop, but in the end, there is only one pledge that matters.

The pledge to do what is best for the State of Minnesota... to what is needed for your constituents....and to simply do the right thing.

Governor Pawlenty wants the Republican caucus to do his bidding... with the possible risk of an election year appearance of doing nothing on transportation. You GOPers can stick with that Governor of yours, but T-Paw isn't facing the voters this year and has bigger and glitzier plans in the works.

And he won't be taking you with him......
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