Friday, August 20, 2010

Rep. John Kline's Self Promotion Cost Local Communities More Money

Since Rep. John Kline (MN-R-02) has been in office the dollar amounts being spent by local governments in his district searching for more federal dollars has grown. Kline's stance on earmarks has lead to other Representatives having to request necessary funding for projects in his district like transportion and roads. It has also led to an increase in spending by local mayors and county commissioners in an effort to bring federal dollars back home. As Kline's Democratic opponent and candidate for Congress Shelley Madore cites:
For every Federal tax dollar paid in our Congressional District, only 35 cents is spent here in our community.[verses 77 cents in other Minnesota districts] At the same time, John Kline voted for the bill that included the 'Bridge to Nowhere' in Alaska, among many other bills that included earmarks for other states."
One of the biggest spenders in search of federal dollars is Scott County which falls in Kline's district. According to the Pioneer Press, so far in 2010 Scott County has spent $60,000 looking for additional federal funding. Their total expenditures for Federal lobbying since 2006 has been $815,000!

The practice of local governments lobbying for dollars is not new. In 2009, local, state and territorial governments spent more than $83.5 million of taxpayer money lobbying federal lawmakers and public officials. It would stand to reason that the amounts would rise as the needs increase. But it is interesting to note that Scott County is at the top of the list with significant spending even over the metro areas of Minneapolis and St. Paul, and the counties of Hennepin, Anoka, and Stearns combined!

Scott County has a greater need than other districts to replace the federal funds that Rep. John Kline won't bring home. John Kline's anti earmark stance has eliminated any chance for federal funding of projects for local city and country governements for transportation, bridge and road repair and other critical projects.
"In a visit with the Scott County board, he defended his decision to no longer seek special funding for pet projects -- even those that benefit his district. Board members offered sympathy, but they also voiced frustration."
Earmark spending doesn't change the amount of money Congress just determines where that money will go and what it will be spent on. As Representative Tim Walz states
“Any funds not reserved for specific projects through the Congressional earmark process would instead be left for federal bureaucrats in Washington to distribute, in accordance with federal law, as they see fit.”
John Kline's practice to eschew earmarks doesn't mean less money is spent, it just means the money isn't spent in his district. While ignoring the immense needs of his local area, Kline has transferred our federal tax money to other states. His refusal to bring federal funding back to Minnesota has caused local city and county governments like Scott County to spend more in lobbying for critical federal dollars

With the economy still slow, unemployment numbers still up and the need for federal aid persistent, the stakes are high for municipalities seeking help -- particularly after Kline's self promoting stance of 'no earmarks' which make up less than 1% of the total budget! John Kline is hurting local communities, costing family safety, business adequate infrastructure and ultimately costing local taxpayers more dollars while cities and county's try to replace the missing earmarks needed to fund necessary projects.

1 comment:

Minnesota Central said...

There is another advantage that Mr. Kline gets by rejecting "earmarks" ... he doesn't have to meet with local officials.

For example, one of the major highways that feeds into the Second District is Highway 14 that runs across the southern part from Wisconsin to South Dakota with supplylines using I-35 and Hwy-169. It is one of the deadliest highways - a single lane road that is not a divided highway ... and just this week Senator Al Franken spent time traveling the road from Mankato to New Ulm ... and then meeting with local businesses and government officials. Is this important --- YES. For example, Wal*Mart wants to build a distribution center in North Mankato ... if Hwy 14 is not improved, it will mean the loss of that facility ... and the jobs that come with it. Senator Franken and Congressman Walz are active in the project ... would Mr. Kline get involved with a project like this ? Just ask the officials in LeSueur that need improvements at the Hwy-169 turnoff for an industrial site ...

And speaking of Sen. Franken ... he also spent time this past Monday in Luverne meeting with MinWind energy officials ... does Mr. Kline think that wind stops at the edges of the Second District .... based on his votes against renewable energy, you would think so.