MNGOP House members are in a quandary: how to cut taxes and give all the surplus back, cut spending, and increase spending on working family priorities like education and transportation (which we all know are popular in Minnesota). The truth is Republicans just want to mask the fact that they’re salivating at the thought of cutting government by making it seem like they care about responsibly funding education, transportation, and senior care. Their solution, predictably, is a big old hypocritical mess.
Here are your top 10 MNGOP hypocrites.
10. MNGOP Chair Keith Downey
Prior to becoming the MNGOP Chairman, Keith Downey was a state representative running for the Minnesota Senate. Rep. Downey super opposed what he called “accounting gimmicks,” according to a campaign email from November 3, 2012.
I don’t like the shift. I never have. It is an accounting gimmick, which allows the state to avoid dealing with its own unsustainable spending.
Downey’s tune has changed, apparently, since two years ago. Two days ago, the MNGOP Party (which Downey now leads) praised the House GOP transportation “plan,” which is nothing more than shifts, gimmicks, and borrowing.
Rep. Lohmer is caught in the same trap as Downey: while our progressive leaders were in charge, Lohmer lambasted “borrowing before we budget” and claimed that “bonding is essentially borrowing money from our children and grandchildren.” [Lohmer Constituent Updates, 05/17/13; 02/27/14]
Lohmer both vehemently opposes spending and supports spending more. She called Dayton “the kid in the candy store with a nickel burning a hole in his pocket.” That would be fine, except she herself wants to buy, supporting increases for seniors and tax breaks for business. Not sure how she’s going to balance both of those stances… [Lohmer Constituent Updates, 01/30/15; 01/23/15]
In traditional extreme conservative spirit, Dale Lueck claims we have a spending problem.
We must stop mortgaging the future of our children and grandchildren.
That’s a nice sentiment, if you actually mean it; however, rather than increase funding to solve our $6 billion transportation problem, Lueck praised borrowing existing state revenue and just shifting it into another account.
That sounds like continuing to mortgage, not stopping.
Not sure how he’s going to do that while he’s spending money on big business, education, health care, seniors, and more breaks for the rich. [West Central Tribune, 05/30/14; Baker Constituent Update, 02/20/15; West Central Tribune, 01/25/14]
6. Rep. Jeff Backer
Rep. Jeff Backer is super proud of the cuts he made in local government. He also cautions against borrowing because “it presumes on the future being more favorable than the present circumstances.”
Another great one from Rep. Backer:
Rep. Hancock made his return to the legislature this year, after being defeated in 2012. He returned with a vengeance, stating in no uncertain terms that we need to reduce government spending. Especially on transportation, where Hancock claimed, “We’re already, I think, spending more than is necessary.”
Just pretend like you didn’t when you’re showing off your conservative credentials.
Sen. Pederson is a returning player, so you’d think he’d know how not to sound like a giant hypocrite. But nope.
Pederson talks a lot about controlled spending and holding spending increases. He even makes this outrageous claim:
If our state legislature would have had the discipline to maintain our state budget at the same levels as the growth in inflation and population our state budget would be around $20 billion.
Pederson, however, somehow also believes in increasing government spending. He wants to spend on education, special education, seniors, tax cuts, and transportation. [Pederson Constituent Update, 02/06/15]
Bennett, according to herself, is a constitutional conservative who will strive to promote fiscal discipline and sensible government spending. She believes government needs to go on a diet. [Post-Bulletin, 06/03/14]
That doesn’t seem like that big of a diet to me.
Rep. Roz Peterson is a freshman GOP legislator, but that doesn’t mean she’s taking it easy. Peterson promises on her campaign website to exercise fiscal restraint and limit government spending. Government, Peterson says, must live within its means. One stark example of Peterson’s anti-investments in working class priorities stance is the fact that she actually opposes fully funding all day pre-K for every four-year-old in Minnesota.
Peterson’s in a pretty sticky situation on education, honestly. Last month, she claimed that a general fund increase of 1% a year for education could result in budget cuts. The GOP budget, which Peterson supports, increases education funding by less than that. Oops.
Rep. Knoblach is our #1 hypocrite, not just because of his double-sided priorities, but also because he has become a leader and voice for the House GOP Caucus. He said himself that his job is to “make sure the numbers all add up” in the GOP budget, and we’re taking his word for it.
First of all, Knoblach criticized Gov. Dayton for spending the surplus, then released GOP budget targets that do the same. Guess that means Rep. Knoblach and the Republicans are “just plain wrong” as well.
Knoblach has said the House budget would be smaller than Dayton’s, that no one should assume funding was on autopilot, that he would look at all programs (presumably for budget cuts), and even actually promised budget cuts.
This is a guy who would never propose increased government spending, right? A guy who could have been in the Not A Penny More Caucus? Not so fast.
The problem with his claim that state-supported colleges and universities should be properly funded? The GOP budget he helped craft would only freeze tuition at either the U of M or MnSCU system, not both.