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BLOG: What Does the Taxpayers League of Minnesota Have to Say About Your State Representative?

candidate for Minnesota House 52B goes on the record...

In my blog post yesterday Why is Joe Atkins Wrong on Taxes?, I challenged the voters of Inver Grove Heights to do a little research and to make an informed vote on November 6th when I said:

“When Joe Atkins tells you he supports small businesses and keeping your property taxes low, you should look to see if his rhetoric matches his record.”

I want to continue to look at Representative Atkins’s record on taxes again today. I am not the only one who is paying attention to Joe’s voting record.

The Taxpayers League of Minnesota looks at each Minnesota legislators voting record each session and puts together a scorecard for you. Joe received a 0% rating from them in 2012 and 2011. He earned a 7% in 2010 and holds an 8% lifetime rating. But don’t take my word for it, please take a look at Joe’s annual scorecards here: http://www.taxpayersleague.org/scorecards.html.

In 2011, Joe voted against HF20 which provided direct tax relief for homeowners, farms and small businesses. Why doesn’t Joe trust you with your own money?

I believe we need a Representative who will actually stand up for you, the taxpayer. We need government off our backs so the economy can grow.

The Taxpayers League rating is a record Joe doesn’t want you to know about. When someone represents themselves as a fiscal conservative, they must put their vote where their mouth is. A true representative fights to keep government out of your wallet.

When government continues to grow year after year, it needs to be fed—with your hard-earned money. As your Representative I will put government on a much needed diet.

When government learns to live within its means, ‘We the People’ are freer. Don’t throw your vote away on November 6 by continuing to believe in empty promises, and poor performance. When we have lower taxes, we have more freedom. 

We live better when we live free. 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Joe Atkins October 06, 2012 at 12:40 PM
Paul, you really need to check your facts a little more closely. HF20, which you say was a tax relief bill I voted against, actually dealt with environmental impact statements, and it never came up for a vote. The Taxpayers League, which you cite as some sort of authority, is, as you know, run by Republican legislator Phil Krinkie and supports Republicans. I'd suggest you take a look at where the organization gets its funding. Finally, you conveniently neglected to cite my votes to provide property tax relief, keep the Renter's Credit, keep the Homestead Tax Credit, reduce taxes on small businesses, and streamline regulations, let alone my record as mayor of reducing IGH's property tax rates to the 3rd lowest in Minnesota for communities of 30,000 people or more. Why would leave that stuff out?
Ben Dally October 06, 2012 at 03:43 PM
Hey, Joe. As I'm sure you know, there were two HF20 bills in 2011, due to the special session being called by Governor Dayton. When a special session is called, the bill numbers start over at HF1. Here is a link to the bill referred to in Paul's post above. It just goes to show, you know we have too many bills and too much legislation each session when even the legislators can't keep track of it all! :) https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bin/bldbill.php?bill=H0020.0.html&session_year=2011&session_number=1
Joe, I appreciate your willingness to respond to this criticism of your vote in such a timely manner. As someone who has been involved in politics for many years now, I certainly would not expect that you would be able to memorize every single bill. With that said, here is the link to the roll call vote for HF20 (which you voted "Nay" on), which is the bill referenced in the above blog post: http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/votes/votes.asp?ls_year=87&session_number=1&year=2011&id=7 Your insistence that Paul "check his facts" is a very important one and something that we encourage you to do as well. After all, it is your own voting record that is being discussed.
Pat October 06, 2012 at 07:40 PM
Representative Atkins, it is my understanding that the Taxpayers League of MN is a non-partisan fiscal conservative group, not a Republican organization. Something I believe even many Democrats believe in. In fact many Democratic legislators get at least a semi-respectable rating, and certainly not all Republicans receive high ratings. I do find it rather telling, that despite your claims to be a fiscal champion, nearly every legislator, Republican or Democrat, receive a much higher rating than you.
Mark J. Westpfahl October 07, 2012 at 01:22 AM
Paul Tuschy stated that "In 2011, Joe voted against HF20 which provided direct tax relief for homeowners, farms and small businesses. Why doesn’t Joe trust you with your own money?" in his article located at http://invergroveheights.patch.com/blog_posts/blog-what-does-the-taxpayers-league-of-minnesota-have-to-say-about-your-state-representative Joe Atkins however responded to Paul Tuschy by stating "Paul, you really need to check your facts a little more closely. HF20, which you say was a tax relief bill I voted against, actually dealt with environmental impact statements, and it never came up for a vote." However, maybe Rep. Atkins needs to look a little closer and check HIS facts. The HF20 that Paul Tuschy is referring to is HF20 which came up in the House special Session in 2011. The bill can be found here, and yes Joe Atkins, it IS a bill "relating to the financing of state and local government; making changes to individual income, corporate franchise, estate, property, aids, credits, payments, refunds, sales and use, minerals, local, tax increment financing, insurance, and other taxes and tax-related provisions; authorizing local taxes" Joe can certainly be reminded of this bill be going to the following link: https://www.revisor.mn.gov/revisor/pages/search_status/status_detail.php?b=house&f=HF20&ssn=1&y=2011 Part 1 of 2 Part Post
Mark J. Westpfahl October 07, 2012 at 01:23 AM
Part 2 of 2 Joe Atkins can be reminded of his NO VOTE on HF20... which was eventually signed into law by Governor Dayton by clicking here: http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/votes/votes.asp?ls_year=87&session_number=1&year=2011&id=7 So, maybe an apology is in order from Joe Atkins to Paul Tuschy for calling Paul a liar on Patch. More appropriately, I think Joe needs to apologize to his constituents in HD52B for misleading his record on he issue and for effectively raising taxes on his hard working constituents. Joe, you asked Paul Tuschy "Why would leave that stuff out?" I think the voters in HD52B would like to ask YOU the same thing.
Jeff Roberts (Editor) October 07, 2012 at 04:37 AM
OK folks, here's a tip. Relax. For those of you who accused Patch of "moderating" this discussion by not publishing comments, relax. For those who ordered Patch to "get this site up and running," relax. The settings to allow comments for today were just incorrect. There are greater tragedies.
Pat October 07, 2012 at 05:06 AM
Interesting. Things were "correctly" set at 9:18 this morning. And then they were changed to be "incorrectly" set for the rest of the day?
Jeff Roberts (Editor) October 07, 2012 at 03:29 PM
You really want to go down this path, Pat? Not that I need to justify it but here's the situation. At 9:18 yesterday morning I was sitting at my computer and manually approved the comments. Then, considering it was Saturday and I had several things I wanted to do, I set the comments to auto-approve for the rest of the day. That setting didn't take. Simple as that. Anything else you'd like me to explain to you about how Patch works or the content management system we use? I thought so. Keep your comments to the stories. I'll handle the website.
Jeff, surely you understand why this comment issue has taken criticism. Joe attempted to discredit this blog and his incorrect "correction" spend 14 hours as the only comment showing on the blog. Readers who saw the blog, which was featured all day at the top of the IGH Patch, came to believe that Paul's blog were led to believe that Representative Atkins had "caught him" in a mistake or even a flat-out lie. While, as you said, there are "greater tragedies," Paul and his volunteers are working tirelessly on the campaign. I appreciate that it is not your job to worry about getting candidates elected, but you please understand the implications that every public discussion - even this blog - has on the election.
Jeff Roberts (Editor) October 07, 2012 at 06:22 PM
Fair enough, Nick.

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