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BLOG: What Does Bipartisan Really Mean?

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

"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.

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.

L. Randall October 11, 2012 at 01:02 PM
Mr. Tuschy, I’ve been doing some fact-checking, and your blog left out some important points. #1. The legislation that borrowed $2.5 billion from Minnesota’s schools to balance the state budget was your Party’s plan. If you would not have supported that huge amount of borrowing, what would you have done differently? #2. Your Republican Party’s plan to pay back $430 million of the $2.5 billion loan taken from Minnesota’s schools would have (a) bankrupted the state’s reserve account, (b) possibly prevented the state from meeting cash flow needs and paying bills on time, and (c) further jeopardized the state’s financial rating. As you noted, Atkins vigorously opposed that irresponsible plan. Would you have actually voted for such a reckless approach?
Joe Atkins October 11, 2012 at 01:41 PM
Thanks for your blog on bipartisanship, Paul. Even though I have passed more bipartisan legislation the past five years than any other state representative, you correctly note that I am not always bipartisan. For example: I strongly opposed the House Republican plan to borrow $2.7 billion from Minnesota’s schools to balance the state budget. As you noted in your second paragraph, I also opposed the House Republican legislation that would have paid back $430 million of the $2.7 billion borrowed from our schools, because it would have exhausted the state’s modest reserve, resulting in even MORE borrowing just to pay the State’s monthly bills. I wouldn’t run my law firm that way, and I would hope you wouldn’t run your band’s finances that way, either.
Joe Atkins October 11, 2012 at 02:15 PM
As my previous post above notes, I am not always bipartisan. But I do pass more bipartisan legislation than any other state representative. Here are some examples. 1. FIRE SAFETY. Passed the most significant advances in the past 30 years, according Chief Nyle Zikmund of the MN Fire Chiefs, saving an estimated 15-20 lives each year. 2. STREAMLINING REGULATIONS. Repealed outdated laws that stood in the way of business expansion. For an example, go to http://invergroveheights.patch.com/blog_posts/surly-company-a-new-law-helps-craft-beer-maker-brew-up-jobs 3. PROTECTING RETIREMENT ACCOUNTS. Worked with Minnesota’s Certified Public Accountants to better protect mutual funds, stocks and bonds. 4. PREVENTING SENIOR SCAMS. Worked with law enforcement, MoneyGram and Western Union to help prevent scams targeting Minnesota’s senior citizens. 5. ORGAN DONATION. Worked with then State Rep. Erik Paulsen to pass a law to make the process of organ donation easier. 6. KELSEY’S LAW. This law helps police find missing children, by making cell phone location records available sooner when there is a threat of imminent harm.
Joe Atkins October 11, 2012 at 02:16 PM
7. MORE RIGOROUS K-12 COURSES. Helps schools offer tougher courses, so Minnesota’s students are better able to compete for jobs. 8. AUTO DEALER JOBS LAW. Helped save Fury Motors and dozens of other Minnesota auto dealers, and the thousands of jobs that come with them, when they were targeted for closure by manufacturers. These dealers are now doing record sales, employing more people, and are a big part of Minnesota’s improving economy. 9. METH LAW. The “Atkins Amendment” to Minnesota’s methamphetamine law made it the toughest in the country. When the law went into effect, meth labs dropped 75% statewide and a whopping 96% in Dakota County. 10. HEALTH INSURANCE FLEXIBILITY. Lauded by the National Federation of Independent Businesses, this law allowed for more flexible, affordable health insurance options for small businesses, individuals and entrepreneurs.
Eric Goodrich October 11, 2012 at 05:35 PM
When a legislator gets to office, he or she doesn't always start on a blank slate. Because of the irresponsible spending that has occurred while Mr. Atkins and others have been in office, Paul and other freshman legislators will have to work twice as hard to not only lead us down the right path for the future, but to make up for mistakes of the past. If legislators are only willing to stand around and point fingers at one another, rather than address the problems, we will never get out of this hole. Governor Dayton could have vetoed this legislation and chose not to. Both sides of the aisle were wrong on this. But no matter who is to blame for the original problem, it does not change the fact that this money needs to be paid back. Plenty of the legislators who supported paying back the schools were not a part of the original vote to borrow the money. Also, claiming that the state has a "reserve" when it owes $2.7 Billion to schools is a little insincere, isn't it? Paul is truly bipartisan in that his principles go much deeper than party lines. While Joe wants to make claims that it's the "Republicans' fault" for introducing legislation to borrow the money in the first place, he's missing the point -- wrong is wrong. It was wrong to grow government by borrowing money from schools and it's wrong not to pay that money back.
L. Randall October 11, 2012 at 06:32 PM
Eric, does Mr. Tuschy ever respond to questions himself? You and his campaign manager seem to answer the questions for him when he blogs. Do you happen to know if Mr. Tuschy has a job? Based on what his campaign manager wrote a few days ago, it sounds like Mr. Tuschy just passes out flyers all day. I read that he is also a drummer in a heavy metal band. Does he do that for a living?
William 'Bill' DeBerg October 11, 2012 at 06:57 PM
L. Randall, from what i've seen Paul is out knocking doors every day, doing the hard work to learn what the people in this area have to say on the issues. He isnt just taking a poll on his website then not voting with what the people say in the poll. I am happy that someone is FINALLY going door to door and listening for a change!! Not just listening to what his party leaders tell him to do! And I dont know what Pauls job is but I dont see what it has to do with anything. Let me guess youre a supporter of Joe's. Well lets just say that I would rather have an every day citizen representing me than a lawyer who probably benefits from all the laws he makes!!
L. Randall October 11, 2012 at 07:07 PM
Wow, Bill, I was just curious about what Paul does for a living. You said it doesn't matter, but I think knowing someone's background is an important factor in determining what skills he or she can bring to the job. So, Eric, do you know if Paul has a job other than drumming in a rock band?
Trent L. October 11, 2012 at 07:11 PM
I notice none of those bi-partisan bills that Joe listed has anything to do with the budget and run-away spending and government takeover of our lives. I'm a little tired of politicians and their one or two phrase campaigns.. "Bi-Partisan" and Surly. How about how you cut spending and reduce taxes? And how about a bonding cycle that doesn't go longer than your term limit, so the debt isn't passed on to future generations?
Al Tate October 11, 2012 at 07:24 PM
I'd also like to hear from Mr. Tuschy as well. I asked some questions about his business and what industries they were in but that wasn't answered. Joe Atkins answers, how come Paul doesn't?
William 'Bill' DeBerg October 11, 2012 at 07:27 PM
What skills does take to steal other peoples money? The ears to listen to party leadership telling you to vote red or green and eyes to tell the difference between the colors? You are right attorney Atkins is probably more qualified to steal money than Paul is.
Pat October 11, 2012 at 07:44 PM
Thanks for sharing your bi-partisan votes, Rep. Atkins. They are all well intentioned, and nice things. But here is the problem I have with most of them. When your house is about to collapse, you save your wife and kids first. Then maybe the dog. The china, and even family portraits shouldn't get the lion's share of your energy. Stablizing, then improving our state's economy should be front and center.
William 'Bill' DeBerg October 11, 2012 at 08:01 PM
probably because he's out knocking doors and meeting people not spending time to respond to questions that dont have anything to do with being in the Minnesota house. Maybe he would respond if you asked a question about an issue or something that matters. As the internet says DON'T FEED THE TROLLS and Id say that Mr. Tuschy is doing a good job of talking about issues and not responding to trolls
William 'Bill' DeBerg October 11, 2012 at 08:19 PM
Joe when it comes to spending and taxes you have mostly been a rubber stamp for the dems. Finding missing children is good and no one in his right mind would oppose helpig find missing children but anyone could have brought that bill to the table though. I did some research on this and it started in Kansas and is a law in other states. It is an idea that Joe took from another state not an idea he came up with. Give credit where credit is due! I look at this list and its all fluff! It doesnt address the biggest problems we have in the state and why the government had to shut down! We the voters are looking for someone who will work against even his own party when they are WRONG!!!
Al Tate October 11, 2012 at 08:41 PM
Really William? Asking serious questions about what type of business/industry he is in is trolling? So, he's really knocking on doors 24 hours a day? Campaigning is more than just knocking on doors. If he can post, use social media and reach out to people this way, via online methods, he surely can respond to valid questions. I'd like to know what businesses he is in. I don't need to know if it's Paul's Pickle Parlor, or Tuschy Benucci, I was just curious to what type of work the businesses he owns do. I want to get to know what makes him tick, other than politically. If that's called trolling Willy Billy, then so be it, but these are all fair questions. Him being a business owner has a lot to what he would do in office. Obviously he is going to fight for business owners, stand up for business owners and do what's best for the small business owner. How is this trolling?
William 'Bill' DeBerg October 11, 2012 at 09:04 PM
"Obviously he is going to fight for business owners, stand up for business owners and do what's best for the small business owner. " so what more do you need to know then exactly?
Al Tate October 11, 2012 at 09:14 PM
William, I would like to have that conversation with Paul, not you. Thanks for answering Paul's questions for him, but Paul's who I want to hear from. He's a big boy I am sure he doesn't need you making him look bad either.
Mark J. Westpfahl October 14, 2012 at 12:48 AM
Al, while Paul is out meeting folks throughout the district to share his ideas for how the district should be represented, and to listen to their concrns, etc., he leaves every house after dropping off a piece of literature describing the values that he will stand up for. I suggest, if you have not yet seen on at your door or have not yet received one of his many lit pieces, I suggest you contact him. Although his number is on his website, lit pieces, registered with the secretary of state and many other places, including the candidate information page on Patch, I will provid it for you again. I would suggest you give him a call and ask him all of the pressing things that you would like to know. You don't like how others on this page judge without doing their homework...well, I am helping you out a little and providing you with some resources for you to do some release to complete your homework assignment. Paul Tuschy for Minnesota House Phone: (612) 382-2638 Paul Tuschy for Minnesota House website: http://paultuschy.com/ Paul Tuschy for Minnesota House Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/Tuschy4MNhouse?fref=ts Paul Tuschy for Minnesota House Twitter: https://twitter.com/PaulTuschy Paul Tuschy for Minnesota House Patch Article Archive: http://invergroveheights.patch.com/users/paul-tuschy/blog_posts
Lee Randall October 14, 2012 at 11:36 AM
Mark, what does Mr. Tuschy do for a living? I went to each of the websites you listed, and nowhere does he say if he has a job or what he actually does. I did find a Facebook page and videos for Mr. Tuschy's heavy metal band: http://www.facebook.com/smilingpolitelyband. He is the drummer.
Pat October 19, 2012 at 03:03 AM
Lee, somehow you have missed a recent blog from Paul entitled "Who is Paul Tuschy and Why Does He Want to be Your Representative". It can be found at http://invergroveheights.patch.com/blog_posts/blog-who-is-paul-tuschy-and-why-does-he-want-to-be-your-representative

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