"The Enron people are outside. They're putting together an all-star team, and they've already got Tom Petters lined up and Denny Hecker," Atkins said. "And this bill they want to put on part of their all-star team. This is terrible accounting."
This is a reaction from Representative Joe Atkins, as quoted by MPR on March 16, regarding passage of a bill partially paying back the amount owed to K-12 schools previously held back in order to balance the budget.
Talk like this isn't a very good way to work together to address our state government’s problems. Representative Atkins likes to talk about all the bipartisan legislation he supports. I find it disturbing that the cooperative work he has done in the past so often does not relate to the real problems in Minnesota.
There are two big hurdles the State of Minnesota puts in front of small businesses who wish to start up, move to Minnesota or expand: taxes and regulations. The very first bill introduced on 1/10/2011 (HF1), began to work to help cut some of the 'red tape' that government puts on businesses by streamlining the permitting process for businesses. This was a bill which would help to create jobs and improve Minnesota's economy.
Joe Atkins voted against it.
Governor Dayton, whose family certainly knows something about business in this state, signed the bill into law on March 3rd, 2011. “We agree," Dayton wrote, “That too many possible business expansions have been delayed unnecessarily in recent years. Minnesota needs, as my Commissioner of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency says, ‘Permitting at the speed of commerce.’ ”
Why would Representative Atkins vote against a bill which helps improve the Minnesota economy, which even the highest ranking member of the DFL agreed is “good for business?”
On his campaign website, Atkins implies he helped to wipe out the budget deficit Minnesota faced when he took office and is still offering solutions to provide stability to our financial outlook.
What are these new ideas?
Do they include voting to DOUBLE the amount of debt held by the state since he took office? That doesn't sound like a solution which brings “structural soundness to the state’s finances.” It sounds like someone who doesn't show fiscal restraint.
The 2012 Outdoor Entertainment Fund is a great example of irresponsible spending that Atkins supported. Special interest spending wasn't limited to sports this session; a “Legacy Bill” containing nearly $100 million worth of taxpayer-funded projects, was also passed and signed into law—again supported by Atkins’ “aye” vote.
The “Arts and Entertainment” bill gives $600,000 to the Minnesota Film and TV Board to subsidize film production in Minnesota as well as millions of dollars to other unnecessary projects. There are more responsible ways to spend the money within the guidelines of this constitutionally dedicated tax.
Joe claims to offer solutions to our fiscal problems. His solutions seem to be passing Omnibus Bonding Bills which have DOUBLED our state debt in his 10 years in office. He has watched the state budget nearly DOUBLE during his tenure in St. Paul as well. Joe’s solutions to there being too much state debt and government spending seem to be more state debt and more government spending!
This fiscal insanity has to stop.
Mr. Atkins has had 10 years to put all of his “solutions” and “bipartisan legislation” to work. We are seeing the results. We have state shutdowns, businesses leaving Minnesota for other states and other countries and a legislature that borrows money on the state credit card from the Tobacco Settlement Fund, or from our public schools in order to whitewash their lust for more big government.
What will I do to change the direction we have been on during the past decade?
- Champion a ballot initiative to amend the Minnesota Constitution to eliminate the practice of enacting massive "omnibus" bills that package multiple proposals into single piece of legislation.
- Support Representative Banaian's zero-based budgeting proposal. This will require us to to examine every program to see if it is effective, cost efficient, ensure it is not redundant and to prioritize every tax dollar spent.
- Ask the people to amend Minnesota's Constitution to provide Minnesotans and Minnesota employers with a Constitutional right to purchase the private health insurance and care of their choosing - not what is mandated by a federal bureaucrat.
- Oppose all tax increases: Minnesotans face one of the highest tax burdens in the United States. We must re-invent the way government delivers services and reduce spending. We must reduce corporate tax rates to compete with neighboring states who are attracting companies and growing jobs.
Bipartisan legislation means something very different to me.
I believe in building coalitions with people based on principles. I will work with those who believe in protecting your personal and economic freedom. I will NEVER compromise my principles by growing government or increasing our debt. We have had too much bipartisan legislation that goes against those principals during the past 10 years.
It is time “We the People” stand up and say, “Enough is enough.”
When we live free, we live better. We must free ourselves from a government that taxes too much, spends too much and borrows too much.
If you would like to help me in this quest to downsize St. Paul, please feel free to RSVP for a fundraiser being held this Saturday in Inver Grove Heights with former candidate for Governor, Tom Emmer. You can read all about it on my website http://paultuschy.com/.
You may see Tom and me at your door on Saturday afternoon as we will be out door knocking and listening to your solutions to runaway government.