Saturday, August 04, 2007

Bridge collapses in Minneapolis; it must be the republicans and Bush's fault!

U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash) blamed the Bush Administration for the Minneapolis bridge collapse because they have not supported Democrat efforts to increase spending on critical infrastructure.

Of course this is the same Senator that praised Osama Bin Ladin in December of 2004.

Then we have journalist Nick Coleman from the Minneapolis- St. Paul Star Tribune. He says the collapse would have never happened if it wasn’t for Governor Tim Pawlenty’s refusal to raise taxes. Pawlenty is of course one of those evil republicans.

Coleman writes:: "For half a dozen years, the motto of state government and particularly that of Gov. Tim Pawlenty has been No New Taxes. It's been popular with a lot of voters and it has mostly prevailed. So much so that Pawlenty vetoed a 5-cent gas tax increase - the first in 20 years - last spring and millions were lost that might have gone to road repair. And yes, it would have fallen even if the gas tax had gone through, because we are years behind a dangerous curve when it comes to the replacement of infrastructure that everyone but wingnuts in coonskin caps agree is one of the basic duties of government."

Agreed, road construction and infrastructure repairs are the basic duties of government, but let’s take a look and see just how desperately the State of Minnesota needed higher taxes to have the money.

What Coleman fails to report is at the time Gov. Pawlenty vetoed this 5 cent gas tax increase, the State of Minnesota already had 2.1 billion dollars in budget surplus from overtaxation!
Coleman also makes it seem no money was added for road or bridge repairs, but that is just not the case. Around the same time Pawlenty vetoed the gas tax, the state legislature passed an amendment to spend all, rather than half, of the motor vehicle tax revenue on transportation. This added 60 million bucks a year with the anticipation of doubling in 5 years to road, bridge and transit spending.

Coleman and Sen. Murray would like us to believe that higher taxes and more money would have prevented that bridge from collapsing and that it is republican’s and President George W. Bush’s fault for not raising taxes or approving increased spending. That is just not the case; there was enough money in the Minnesota legislature to fix that bridge twice, probably more. The problem was fiscal responsibility, not low taxes.

Let’s take a look into the state legislatures spending habits and look at the Citizens for Government Waste's "The Pig Booklet" for the state of Minnesota for the year 2006. Take a look at all of the "pork" projects. Here are my favorite worthless projects:

The state bailout of the Minneapolis Teacher's Retirement Fund, which puts state taxpayers on the hook for $972 million in unfunded liabilities

A new $776 million Twins Stadium to be paid for with a Hennepin County sales tax increase -- (approved by state legislators with no voter referendum)

$97.5 million for the Northstar Commuter Rail line

$34 million in subsidies to ethanol producers that have seen a 300 percent increase in profits in the last year

$30 million for bear exhibits at the Minnesota and Como Zoos

$12 million to renovate the Shubert Theater in downtown Minneapolis

$1 million for a replica Vikings ship in Moorhead

$500,000 for a skating rink in Roseville

$310,000 for a Shakespeare festival in Winona

$129,000 for state art grants for North Dakota museums and theaters

Now that adds up to a whopping $1,923,439,000 and that is not even the whole list. This tax money was spent on vote buying projects while that bridge remained un-repaired, but we are told the problem is taxes were not high enough. Give me a break, the problem was the lack of government responsibility and fiscal responsibility.

If the politicians in Minnesota had been more concerned with actually doing their duties of a government and ensuring roads and bridges were safe instead of spending money on a baseball stadium to buy votes for re-election we wouldn’t have these problems.

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