Wednesday, December 28, 2011

SD-24 : Rosen's Goal Does Not Meet Our Needs

In the backdrop of the embarrassing spectacle of electing a new Majority Leader for the Minnesota Senate, the Mankato Free Press engaged a few of the Republican Senators that represent the area for their assessment.

Al DeKruif (SD-25) presented a somber tone of the day "When you have something like that happen in mid-term, you have a lot to talk about. ... We had some healing to do."
The MFP wrote
DeKruif, a freshman, said Koch’s downfall made for a difficult two weeks for rank-and-file members of the Senate. “It started out very confusing,” he said of Koch’s resignation as majority leader. “It went from confusing to disbelief. We went through a grieving process, and today we went through some healing.

Julie Rosen, my Senator, offered a discouraging angle ... one that suggested that it was best just to quickly sweep this event under the table ....
We’ll keep (the session) short and sweet and get out there campaigning,” Rosen said.

"Get out there campaigning” ... NO, Senator Rosen, the JOB you were elected to was to participate in GOVERNING - not to be in perpetual campaign mode. Senator Rosen's frankness and honesty was surprising and disappointing. Senator Rosen did not face a challenger in 2010 and most voters will not pay attention to the 2012 Minnesota Legislature elections until after the competitors have been finalized.

Senator Rosen should be focusing more the citizens' needs and the decisions that were made last session.

The Rochester Post-Bulletin printed an OpEd from Tina Liebling, (D-House District 30A) in which she smartly reminds the voters of what happened :

The Republican-controlled legislature’s recently enacted budget pays for operating expenses with money we don’t have — for the first time in Minnesota’s history. The “party of fiscal responsibility” proposed and enacted a budget that borrows $640 million dollars for operating expenses, a debt that will grow to about $1.2 billion by the time we pay it back. This borrowing scheme (which may be unconstitutional) was originally proposed by Governor Pawlenty and rejected by then-DFL legislative majorities. But this year, Tea Party Republicans in control of the legislature were so determined not to raise the income taxes of the wealthiest Minnesotans that they took out a high-interest loan instead.

That’s not all. The Republican majority delayed more payments to Minnesota’s schools with no solid plan to pay them back. This forced two-thirds of Minnesota schools to borrow money to cover operating costs. California — the poster state for fiscal crisis — is the only other state using school payment shifts to finance state deficits.

Despite our current short-term surplus, Minnesota now carries a $4.2 billion debt — to our schools and to investors. And that surplus only includes this two-year budget cycle: When the time comes to set the next budget, costs are again expected to exceed revenues by $1.3 billion, even if we don’t pay back the schools. (That figure doesn’t even include the effect of inflation on costs. If it did, the shortfall would be $2.6 billion.)

Representative Liebling is focused on the JOB that needs to be addressed.

Three credit rating agencies — Fitch, Moody’s and Standard and Poors -- have officially downgraded Minnesota’s credit rating.

The reduction in credit rating has not only a financial impact on the view of the state’s ability to repay loans (albeit at a higher interest rate) but also influences decision-makers on creating, relocating or sustaining jobs in Minnesota. Ultimately the inability to maintain jobs and the tax revenues produced from jobs, will mean lower infrastructure investment, reduced public support for education, and fewer jobs.

To make matter worse, the economic fact is that interest rates tend to move in sync with other interest rates. The downgrade in the state’s rating, therefore, does not just increase the interest rate on Minnesota’s government bonds but also impacts Minnesota families other loan needs — student loans, auto loans, and home mortgages

Majority Leader Amy Koch resignation was her choice but it did expose an area of government spending that was unknown to virtually every taxpayer. Michael Brodkorb was being paid in excess of $90,000 to be a spokesman for the Senate Republicans ... help me out here, but isn't Senator Rosen's salary $31,140 per year ... yet they pay their spokesman almost triple that amount ? ? ? ?

Last January, the Star-Tribune ran a story asking the question whether spokesman Brodkorb was "A man of many jobs, but do any of them conflict?" The article pointed out that his state payroll data beyond his base salary is not public, it is nearly impossible to determine when Brodkorb is operating as a Republican official or a state-paid employee and that "At the Capitol, his salary was less than $54,000 when he was the Senate Republican communications director. When he added the duties as executive assistant to the majority leader, his pay rose to $94,000

Considering how many voters feel that they are TaxedEnoughAlready, focusing on "campaigning" should include explaining the bad decisions that have already been made and what Senator Rosen did to correct them.

While Senator Rosen may want to focus on a new stadium for an extremely profitable business, the next session needs to address how Minnesota's credit rating can be improved.


dog gone said...

I was not aware our credit rating was lowered.

This has gone under the radar of the wider media, and deserves much more attention.

In the larger picture of Republican financial irresponsiblity it should be highlighted.

They have REALLY screwed up.

Given how far in debt they are - is there going to BE all that much campaigning going on? How do they plan to pay for that - because given their financial disaster, I don't see a lot of business rushing to front them money for signage, bumper stickers, media advertizing etc.

Minnesota Central said...

Hi Dog Gone,
Thanks for reading and offering your comment.

Actually, in my region, there probably won't be much need for signage or campaigning. Julie Rosen ran unapposed in 2010 and right now, the DFL still does not have a candidate ... nor does Tony Cornish in his district. Conversely, the Mankato area is dominated by three DFLers ... and the MN-GOP is having trouble fielding candidates as the redrawn districts have helped the incumbents.