I was going to write about how wrong-headed, misguided, stubborn, racist, and, frankly, idiotic the House and Senate Republicans are being, but that will have to wait. I have something more pressing on my mind, and I am sure the Republicans in the United States Congress will be just as stupid tomorrow as they are today.
Instead, I want to talk about Minnesotan Governor, Ratface Pawlenty and his budget proposal. Granted, he will be just as stupid tomorrow as well, but this is a bit more personal since it’s local. Now, I will be upfront and say that I haven’t read the entire proposal. Most of what I know stems from what I have heard today on MPR. Gary Aichten, Midday show’s host, had on Rep. Marty Seifert, House Minority Leader, and Sen. Tarryl Clark, Assistant Majority Leader, to discuss the budget. I was late to the game, and I could tell within minutes who was the Republican and who was the Democrat.
First of all, it was really hard for me to hear what they were saying because the entire time they were talking, indeed, the entire time Pawlenty has been blathering about everyone having to sacrifice, all I could hear was, “Stadiums, stadiums, stadiums!” roaring in my ears. The cry grew louder with each platitude Rep. Seifert spouted.
For those who don’t know, the Minnesota Legislature passed a bill last year to increase the taxes on only one county in Minnesota to pay for the Twins new stadium, known from henceforth as Hennepin County Taxpayers’ Stadium. In addition, the citizens of MN will be paying half of the cost of a new stadium for the U of M football team, known henceforth as MN Taxpayers’ Stadium.
Before the bill passed, Governor Pawlenty was emotional about how we weren’t going to lose the Twins, not on his watch. So, even though he promised no new taxes in his regime, well, this didn’t count exactly since he personally wasn’t passing the tax. Of course, the state congress passed the bill because it didn’t affect anyone outside of Hennepin County. So, the Hennepin County Taxpayers are on the hook for nearly $300 million dollars, and I’m sure it will increase because stadiums never come under budget.
As for the Gophers stadium, we are on the hook for roughly $150 million dollars. The total state deficit for the past year is around $450 million. Do you see where I’m going with this?
To add insult to injury, we HAD an outdoor stadium for the Twins–it was called the Met. We tore it down because of the weather factor and turned it into the Mall of America. Now, the new stadium will not have a retractable roof, which means that we’re going to have to deal with the weather factor once again.
In addition, the U DID have its own football stadium, but then it wanted to use the Metrodome when it first got built, so the U got rid of their stadium as well. Then, they used the fact that the campus didn’t have its own stadium as a detractor in recruiting in the Big Ten. I’m not disputing it’s true, but couldn’t they have seen that coming before they moved into the Dome?
I am beyond angry that despite the majority of Minnesotans saying they didn’t want their tax money to go to building stadiums, the congress ignored said majority and forced these legislations through. I am furious that the governor is talking about fiscal responsibility and how everyone is going to feel the pain. Well, apparently, not businesses, because he has proposed to cut corporate taxes from eight percent to two percent. I am outraged that no one has even mentioned the stadiums fiasco in all this talk about how we’re so fucked. I mean, if the state can put a hold on the Lowry Bridge construction mid-construction because of lack of funds, surely they can put a hold on the obscenity that is the Hennepin County Taxpayers’ Stadium?
Rep. Seifert was saying how everyone would have to chip in during this budget crisis. He talked about unnecessary duplication in jobs at a county, city, state level and suggested eliminating the lower echelons. He also wants cities to have pay freezes on their employees. There was a definite sneer in his voice as he talked about getting rid of various arts projects and social services. In other words, he was talking like a typical Republican.
Rep. Seifert, here is my proposal to you. Since you believe that everyone should have to pitch in and feel the pinch, why don’t you set the example and take a paycut of your own? I think congress (and the guv) should voluntarily take a 30% paycut because that would definitely be a sacrifice on your part.
In addition, any congressperson who voted for giving corporate welfare to the Twins should have his/her healthcare taken away and given to a person in Hennepin County.
In other words, put your goddamn money where your mouth is. Don’t sit there and spew about how we all have to sacrifice if you aren’t willing to do the same.