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Saturday, February 09, 2008

Representative Kate Knuth and Senator Satveer Chaudhary - A Couple of Zeroes

The Taxpayers League of Minnesota has released their scorecard for the 2007 legislative session and, as we in District 50B have grown used to (but weary of), our Senate and House representation have failed us miserably once again.

Both Representative Kate Knuth and Senator Satveer Chaudhary compiled a score of 0 (as in "zero", "nothing", "total failure") in the scorecard. The score reflects the percentage of times a legislator votes in the interest of the taxpayers on twelve issues that the Taxpayers League deems important. In fairness, Senator Chaudhary has amassed a lifetime score of 20 (Representative Knuth's lifetime score is zero being that this was her first session).

Since the House and Senate vote on different bills each had their own set of criteria for the scorecard.

The votes in the House that Kate the Clueless scored her dismal 0-for-12 performance on are as follows (from the scorecard linked above):
1. GOVERNOR’S VETO OF TAX INCREASES UPHELD (HJ 7571) The taxpayer-friendly vote was to sustain the Governor’s veto of the transportation bill, which included billions of dollars in tax increases that would have raised taxes up to $500 on a family of four. (override attempt failed 83-50)

2. REJECT TAX INCREASES (HJ 7575) The taxpayer-friendly vote was to reject the final tax bill which included tax increases, increased welfare to local units of government (LGA) and mandated automatic spending increases. (passed 82-48, vetoed by the Governor)

3. REJECT INCREASED SALES TAXES (HJ 7263) The taxpayer-friendly vote was to reject a proposed constitutional amendment to increase the sales tax with dedicated funding for arts, entertainment, parks and public broadcasting. (bill passed 86-46)

4. REJECT STATEWIDE TAKEOVER OF SCHOOL HEALTH INSURANCE (HJ 7538) The taxpayer friendly vote was to reject this plan to create a statewide school employee’s insurance pool, penalizing school districts who have managed their health care costs well by making them subsidize districts which have not. (passed 83-51, vetoed by Governor)

5. REJECT ANOTHER BLOATED TRANSPORTATION BILL (HJ 6640) The taxpayer-friendly vote was to reject the final version of the transportation bill, which would have raised taxes by up $500 a year for a family of four. (passed 90-43, vetoed by the Governor)

6. THE THIRD HIGHEST INCOME TAX RATE IN THE NATION? (HJ 6556) The taxpayer-friendly vote was to reject this version of the tax bill which included massive tax increases; including mposing the third highest income tax rate in the nation. (bill passed 73-58, vetoed by the Governor)

7. DON’T TURN THE CLOCK BACK ON WELFARE REFORM (HJ 6112) The taxpayer-friendly vote was to reject the Health and Human Services Finance bill, which would have reversed many welfare reforms and increased welfare spending in Minnesota. (conference report passed 82-44, vetoed by the Governor)

8. REJECT HIGHER ENERGY COSTS (HJ 446) The taxpayer-friendly vote was to reject mandating that 25% of Minnesota’s energy come from unproven renewable resources by 2025, increasing costs to consumers. (bill passed 123-10)

9. RESTRICT BONDING BILL TO EMERGENCY SPENDING (HJ 2222) The taxpayer-friendly vote was to restrict the 2007 bonding bill to $8 million in emergency spending only. (amendment failed 39-90)

10. NO MORE PORK-BARREL SPENDING (HJ 2227) The taxpayer-friendly vote was to reject the $334 million bonding bill which included millions of dollars in pork-barrel spending above the Governor’s recommendations. (bill passed 84-45, vetoed by the Governor)

11. REJECT THE HOUSE TRANSPORTATION BILL VOTE #1 (HJ 2016) The taxpayer-friendly vote was to reject billions of dollars in tax increases, including a 50% increase in the gas tax, a wheelage tax, new sales taxes and higher license tab fees. (bill passed 83-46)

12. SUPERMAJORITY TO RAISE TAXES (HJ 586) The taxpayer-friendly vote was to adopt a rule that would require a 60% vote of the House to raise taxes. (amendment failed 47-86)
Senator Chaudhary's abysmal 0-12 score was based on the following:
1. NO AUTOMATIC SPENDING INCREASES. (SJ 6325) The taxpayer-friendly vote was to reject automatic spending increases for government programs. (amendment failed 22-43)

2. REJECT TAX INCREASES. (SJ 6325) The taxpayer-friendly vote was to reject the final tax bill which included tax increases, increased welfare to local units of government (LGA) and mandated automatic spending increases. (passed 53-13, vetoed by the Governor)

3. REJECT INCREASED SALES TAXES. (SJ 5922) The taxpayer-friendly vote was to reject a proposed constitutional amendment to increase the state sales tax with dedicated funding for arts, entertainment, parks and public broadcasting. (passed 50-12)

4. THE THIRD HIGHEST INCOME TAX RATE IN THE NATION? (SJ 3935) The taxpayer-friendly
vote was to reject this version of the tax bill which included massive tax increases; including imposing the third highest income tax rate in the nation. (passed 35-31, vetoed by the Governor)

5. DON’T TURN BACK THE CLOCK ON WELFARE REFORM (SJ 3710) The taxpayer-friendly vote was to reject the Health and Human Services Finance bill, which would have reversed many welfare reforms and increased welfare spending in Minnesota. (passed 47-19, vetoed by the Governor)

6. NO MINIMUM WAGE INCREASES (SJ 2459) The taxpayer-friendly vote was to reject an
increase in the minimum wage, which hurts small business and less-skilled workers by reducing employment opportunities. (passed 40-23)

7. REJECT NEW TAX BRACKET (SJ 1927) The taxpayer-friendly vote was to reject the Senate Education bill which would have imposed massive tax increases and created a 4th income tax bracket at the highest rate in the nation. (passed 35-29)

8. REJECT HIGHER BUSINESS PROPERTY TAXES (SJ 1821) The taxpayer-friendly vote was to reject this $400 million increase in business property taxes. (passed 38-28)

9. NO MORE PORK-BARREL SPENDING (SJ 1454) The taxpayer-friendly vote was to reject the $334 million bonding bill which included millions of dollars in pork-barrel spending above the Governor’s recommendations. (passed 56-9, vetoed by the Governor)

10. REJECT THE SENATE TRANSPORTATION BILL VOTE #1 (SJ 1294) The taxpayer-friendly vote was to reject billions of dollars in tax increases, including a 50% increase in the gas tax, a wheelage tax, new sales taxes and higher license tab fees. (passed 42-24)

11. REJECT ANOTHER BLOATED TRANSPORTATION BILL (SJ 4141) The taxpayer-friendly vote was to reject the final version of the transportation bill, which would have raised taxes by up $500 a year for a family of four. (passed 47-17, vetoed by the Governor)

12. REJECT LEGISLATOR PAY RAISE (SJ 428) The taxpayer-friendly vote was to reject the 45% increase in legislator per diem from $66 a day to $96 a day. (passed 59-7)

Is your budget up to supporting the expensive taste for big government that Knuth and Chaudhary seem to have?

There's nothing we can do about Chaudhary for three more excruciating years, but once the 2008 session is done we have the opportunity to correct the horrendous mistake the voters made in 2006 and this November send Knuth back to her academic cloister where her goofy and dangerous ideas will not directly impact those of us who work for a living.

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11 Comments:

Blogger Mark said...

Excellent analysis, as always. Kate has to go and I think Gina Bauman is just the person to send Kate packing.

2/09/2008 6:15 PM  
Anonymous Right Fielder said...

Go Gina!

2/10/2008 1:02 PM  
Anonymous Long Time NB Resident said...

Go Gina indeed!

As a senior on a fixed income I appreciate the way Gina Bauman has stood up for residents to keep our property taxes under at least some control.

Of the other candidates for Knuth's seat I can't comment on the young man running other than he seems very thoughtful as I know nothing about him other than from his handout at the caucus.

I am familiar with Lori Grivna. Although she would be better than Knuth she is not as up for the job as Bauman. Grivna was on the school board for a couple of terms and went along with levy increases that I and my fellow retirees just couldn't afford. I also think she ran a weak campaign last time and the showed poor judgement in mailings that gave Knuth the opening to pontificate about negative campaigning.

Nothing personal against Grivna, I will vote for her if she is the candidate this fall, but I do feel Gina Bauman is better for the job and has the moxie to show Kate for what she is at the candidate forums.

2/11/2008 10:25 AM  
Blogger Right Hook said...

Although Gina Bauman is also my first preference to oppose Knuth, in fairness to Lori Grivna I don't believe she had much, if any at all, control over the campaign mail pieces as they came from the state party.

Although the pieces were actually pretty accurate I think the state party exercised poor judgment in the tone and content given the make-up of the New Brighton voters and the propensity of the Knuth campaign to portray Kate as being picked on. In general, the state party did not do a good job supporting our candidates state wide last time around and probably ended up actually hurting some of their chances as was the case with Lori.

I also don't know much about Nick other than briefly speaking to him at the caucus, but he seems like he really does have his conservative act together and will do his homework and stick to his principles. Even if he doesn't get the nomination this time I think he has the potential to do the Conservative cause some real good in the future or in a run for another office. Just from my brief introduction to him it is obvious that he is intellectually head and shoulders above Knuth as one of her age-group peers.

I will support whoever comes away with the nomination as I know that either Gina or Lori would do a fine job representing us and strongly feel Nick also would (nothing against him, I just don't know him well enough yet to make an absolute statement).

We can't lose if any of our three candidates end up replacing Knuth. Making that happen will require a lot of hard work by all of us to support whichever of the three gets the endorsement.

2/11/2008 10:56 AM  
Blogger Thrifty Scot said...

I concur with Right Hook - I kept all of the mailings from the 2006 50B race (what's wrong with me?) and those sent out from the Grivna campaign are all positive. The hit pieces on Knuth came from the state party.

2/11/2008 11:17 AM  
Blogger G-Man said...

Grivna had NOTHING to do with the so-called negative pieces on Knuth.

But, I fail to see what was wrong with them. Knuth was touting herself as born and raised in New Brighton, yet most her adult life was in Chicago or overseas.

These "negative" pieces let voters know that 25 year-old "long time New Brighton" resident never voted in New Brighton until 2005, the year she started her campaign for the house. She claimed to be devoted to her home town, but her voting record failed to back up that claim.

These same pieces informed the voter about Knuth's residence. She filed for candidacy using the address of her parents. On lit pieces, she used the address of her treasurer (or was it her campaign manager?). Further, it was not evident that she had ever held a full time job. Knuth was seeking the right to raise everyone else's taxes – taxes she had little or no record of paying herself.

Meanwhile, there were truly negative pieces sent that attacked Grivna. What's the difference? These pieces were misrepresenting the facts about Grivna's school board experience.

Funny thing about campaigns. When a Republican accurately cites a Democrat's record or qualifications, it's negative advertising. (I would argue that it is the Democrat's record that is negative.) But, when a Democrat lies about a Republican, nobody notices.

2/11/2008 9:46 PM  
Blogger Right Hook said...

If anything the mail pieces were too soft on Kate the Clueless as far as I'm concerned. The problem is that there is a huge double standard of political correctness and that as a practical matter the mainstream media will play the "attack ad" card against a Republican or Conservative with very little actual justification.

Paulie "The Weasel" Wellstone was a master at this. His campaign constantly pushed the envelope with negative ads that were often less than factual and then screamed bloody murder when his opponent responded in kind.

The double standard sucks, but in the real world one has to deal with it.

2/12/2008 12:00 AM  
Blogger Force50 said...

I also have to come to the defense of Lori Grivna on mailings. First, Lori had absolutely nothing to do with those state party mailings, no control at all -- and that's got to be frustrating for any candidate. They might have been true, but as I recall they looked tacky and did not fit in with Lori's overall dignified campaign. If there could be a do over, and if the truth about Knuth were vital it would have to have been introduced early in the campaign and in a more dignified manner. The state Republican party did a hack job, and the timing was poor.

2/12/2008 10:21 AM  
Blogger Right Hook said...

Although Lori Grivna was not personally responsible for the so-called negative ads, I can't blame her loss on them. I think a greater factor in the loss to Knuth was her taking the concept of a "dignified campaign" too far and not distinguishing herself from Knuth from the perspective of voters who don't pay a lot of attention until the election draws near.

The Knuth campaign was/is well funded and connected and will play hardball without getting Kate's fingerprints on the ball. This is why I am supporting Gina Bauman as my first choice for our candidate.

I believe Gina will run a much more effective campaign. She also has a more publicly visible Conservative track record as an office holder and does not have the baggage of association with the School Board and support of levy referendums which, whether fair or not, raises red flags with many voters.

Bottom line for me: Lori would be a fine representative, but Gina would be just as good and has a better chance of defeating Knuth.

In any case, Kate must go and I will support whoever comes out with the endorsement.

2/12/2008 11:20 AM  
Anonymous Ted said...

Minnesota Fishing Communities Discuss Dedicated Funding and its Potential Impacts

(I-Newswire) - Minnesota Anglers are sharing mixed feelings regarding the proposed Dedicated Funding Amendment due on the ballot on November 4. The bill calls for a constitutional amendment raising the sales tax 3/8th of 1 percent and dedicate the $276 million in annual revenue to wildlife habitat, clean water, parks and the arts.

After a long 10 year battle the bill has finally found the legs to make its way to the ballot. While initially excited, some outdoor enthusiasts are critical of the spending proposal. Many remember the legislation passed for the state lottery in 1990 to be the miracle fix for the environment. Profits generated by the lottery were to fund the Game and Fish Fund, Natural Resources Fund and the Environmental Fund. Much of the lottery profit has been directed away from its intended environmental funds and Minnesotans are leary that history may repeat itself with the Dedicated Funding Bill.

The fishing community has gathered to discuss the issue in recent posts on My Fishing Pals' message forum, a local Minnesota website dedicated to the free exchange of ideas on fishing related topics. While most support the bill, all want governmental accountability. While Minnesotans strive to be good stewards of the land, they hope the government becomes good stewards of their tax dollars.

My Fishing Pals ( www.myfishingpals.com ) originated in 2003 as a hobby-fishing site that welcomes Minnesota fishermen to share fishing reports, information, and other items related to fishing. In 2005 a controversial forum was created on the site so that Minnesota fishermen could address fishing and hunting issues. These controversial forums have become an avenue for hunters and fishermen to voice their opinions and concerns and, at times, defend traditional Minnesota values.

3/07/2008 10:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While I agree taxes need to stay under control, I also know that we need major improvements in our schools, streets and bridges, law enforement and more. What do you think pays for these things? It is taxes. And while the state isn't directly increasing taxes, they are forcing counties and cities to look for ways to be able to maintain their current budgets, not increase but maintain, without losing services. This does all trickle down.

6/20/2009 5:29 PM  

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