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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Tim Burke -Farmington School Board Member and Creditor

Category: Society
Posted: 08/02/11 00:35

by Dave Mindeman

Over in Farmington, School Board Member Tim Burke thinks he should be reimbursed by the district for legal fees. About $5,000 worth to be exact.

Burke is a deficit hawk. He hammered former Superintendent Brad Meeks relentlessly....about district spending and about Meeks' personal contract.

Burke has a very abrasive style. A style he freely admits to as this personal letter on his blog says:

I understand that my style is abrasive and confrontational. I do this for a reason?it gets people to pay attention. It causes people to talk about the issues. It even causes some people to take action. It caused you to write an email to get off an email list. So, I don?t apologize for my tactics and I understand if some people find it offensive. More people are offended by the how this school district and city are run. But I don?t seek to offend for no good reason. It?s people?s livelihoods I?m messing with, but its people?s kids and taxes they mess with.

That style caused numerous confrontations within the school board and caused turmoil in the district. This led to a number of issues that escalated into complaints being filed with the County. Probably an unnecessary escalation if Burke had been willing to talk it out, but that's not his style.

So now the self appointed district watchdog and fiscal hawk wants the district to reimburse him for legal fees. Personal legal fees which were caused by an individual who pursues confrontation and feels no need to apologize about anything.

He wants the district to use taxpayer funds to pay his legal fees. (for which it should be noted he set up a personal legal defense fund -- has he reported the money from that?)

Really, should the district pay for this? He incurred these issues by his own behavior, so why should the district pay?

Next time he rants about "wasteful" district spending it is going to sound a tad hypocritical.
comments (0) permalink

MN HHS Bill - We Have Yet Another Gimmick

Category: Health Care
Posted: 08/01/11 18:58

by Dave Mindeman

The Minnesota budget is still being figured out. Especially in Health and Human Services where complications can by myriad. However, as Politics in Minnesota examines the basics, this stands out:

On the spreadsheet outlining the details of Minnesota?s $11 billion health and human services budget, ?Managed Care Contracting Reform? is booked for a savings of $135 million in the current biennium. That amounts to more than 10 percent of the $1.2 billion in cuts....So what exactly constitutes ?Managed Care Contracting Reform?? It simply means delaying a $135 million payment to the state?s health plans by one month. In other words, it?s not actually saving the state a dime, but rather postponing part of the financial hit until the next biennium.

Let's define it properly. It is a gimmick. A kick the can. A monetary sleight of hand. Another IOU. Really, it is just plain irresponsible.

It is no wonder that Moody's has put Minnesota on a negative watch. It's not budgeting -- it is a scam.

There is plenty of pain in the HHS bill...no mistake about that. But it is getting insulting to watch the GOP gimmick there way into saying they are fiscally responsible.

They aren't.
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The Next Line in the Sand

Category: GOP Politics
Posted: 08/01/11 03:50

by Dave Mindeman

There is a deal. Let the headaches begin.

You have to hand it to the House Republicans. They were determined to hold the debt ceiling hostage until they could move their agenda forward. A willingness to bring down the world economy in order to win a political victory is a difficult thing to fathom, but it happened.

And, although, economic collapse may be diverted...for now, the consequences of what has been agreed to will soon be impacting all of us.

Republicans tell us of the dangers of mounting debt....and there is no doubt that it is a serious problem. But there are really only two ways to fix that -- spending cuts or revenue increases. The basic truth is that in a fragile economy, spending cuts and tax increases will both take money out of the economy. Money that is needed to fuel growth. Republicans tell us that tax increases are much worse than cuts, but the reality is that the opposite is true.

A large number of economists have reasoned that selective tax increases can be less burdensome than massive cutting. A combination of the two would be the most logical method of meeting budgetary balance. But that was rejected from the outset in the current impasse.

The Republicans drew that proverbial line in the sand and they prevailed this time. The cuts will happen and the states will need to prepare for the next round of massive budget deficits.

For progressives, this has been a big disappointment. But it will have to be dealt with. The cuts are there but it is now time for Democrats and Progressives to draw their own line in the sand. Our line has a deadline as well. It is December 31st, 2012. And the encouraging thing about this deadline is that all we have to do is to get Congress to do what it does best -- nothing.

December 31st, 2012 will end the Bush tax cuts forever. The main reason for our budgetary woes in the first place will be eliminated.

And the true irony is this.....if the Bush tax cuts are allowed to expire, our budget deficits will soon be gone as well. The major spending cuts, in this deal, might have happened anyway. Maybe not on the scale that is proposed but in some form anyway. But if our conservatvie friends are really, really concerned about deficits, then the end of the Bush tax cut era should be a high priority for them as well.

The Tea Party crowd got their way this time using dangerous leverage. But the next round is a progressive line in the sand and this time, Democrats need to all be on the same stalwart page.

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