I won’t delete the material below, left over from my 2012 campaign for the state House, but from here above are my other, random thoughts that won’t really work on my Twitter accounts, or Facebook. So call this a hard break, and find above this anything I felt like putting to Tumblr. Also, gives me a way to read some more Lileks.
This is Irina, winner of the FAIM Saver of the Year award, who used her savings to finance earning a degree in accounting. FAIM, or Family Assets for Independence in Minnesota, provides financial literacy and career guidance to individuals of modest incomes who want to save for an education, a house or to start a new business. My bill HF 2062 helped restore funding to this important program so that more people like Irina can get a new start.
She’s looking for an accounting job, by the way, so if you have a lead on a tax preparation job for 2013, let me know and I’ll put you in touch. She’s doing some bookkeeping in the meantime.
I would like to share my appreciation with the following groups for their notice of my work at the Legislature this last session. Links are provided for some of these endorsements, though not all groups put their endorsements online.
National Federation of Independent Businesses’ Guardian of Small Business 2012
Minnesotans for Jobs and Economic Growth
Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life
Every candidate will talk about jobs. Jobs come from finding someone with a skill set and finding someone else with a way to productively and profitably use those skills. Supply and demand are a pair of scissors: You must have each working to bring a high level of employment to Minnesota at good wages.
We have had a strong 2012 in St. Cloud so far, but there’s more to do. We are faced with labor shortages from declining demographics for younger workers and from competition for labor from North Dakota. We need both to create conditions for successful entrepreneurship that leads to increased demand for workers and to boost the supply of human capital in skilled labor. King’s ideas move both.
Yesterday some people started to call me on a mailer they received. There are many mailed pieces in this race: Some are positive for me; some negative for me; some positive for my opponent; some negative for my opponent.
This one is from Alliance for a Better Minnesota, a group you may have heard about before. It is a progressive group funded in large part by Alida Rockefeller Messenger, the ex-wife of Governor Dayton. She has said she wants to deliver a DFL majority for her ex-husband to work with, so defeating me is a goal, and it’s her right to pursue it.
What isn’t her right is to mislead voters about my record.
So here is the mailer ABM sent. (Link takes you to our Flickr page.)
It makes three points. The first simply describes the Homestead Tax Credit. The second part says “The Legislature eliminated the Property Tax Credit.” This is true; we voted to replace it with an exclusion (which the mailer conveniently ignores.) Read here for how the Property Tax Credit was replaced by a Property Tax Exclusion; read in particular the second and third paragraphs, as prepared by non-partisan House Research, to understand the mechanics.
Governor Dayton signed that bill. If ABM doesn’t like what happened, that’s fine — we can debate the merits of a credit versus an exclusion.
But ABM couldn’t just stop there.
It claims in point 3 that “Property taxes will go up for 95% of Minnesota homeowners.” As I noted on Facebook last week, this claim was found to be “misleading” by both WCCO and MPR. The latter reported:
PoliGraph ran that statement by three of the state’s leading authorities on property taxes - Steve Hinze with the Minnesota House Research Office, Jeff Van Wychen with Gov. Mark Dayton’s office, and Eric Willette at the Minnesota Department of Revenue - and all three agreed in their assessment: ABM’s claim only tells part of the story.
It’s true that the old credit applied to 95 percent of Minnesota homeowners. But that doesn’t take into account the effects of the new exclusion, which was meant to keep property taxes low for many of those same people. (Emphasis added.)
What particularly galls about this piece is that ABM wishes to assert the 95% claim is a fact, which they do by putting a footnote, numbered 7, next to it. You think “oh, they have evidence for this.” And yet nowhere on the piece can you find a footnote 7. Down the side after the third panel are footnotes 2-6 (the first footnote 1 is on the other side.) Here are those footnotes:
See? No footnote 7. Not only is the claim misleading, but so too is putting a footnote on a claim to represent it as verified fact.
Shame on ABM for trying to fool the voters of HD 14B with facts they don’t substantiate, and which independent media have already shown to be misleading. They’ll send you more mailers before the election season ends. Be sure to read the fine print.
There are primaries in many races today, though not in mine. There will be county commissioners, federal offices and others. So you will want to vote. The link above takes you to the Poll Finder software provided by the Minnesota Secretary of State. You can use it to find out where your polling place is and the identity of your new precinct if it changed. (Many of ours in city of St. Cloud did. Click here for the new precinct map.)
Textbooks add significantly to the cost of higher education. Financial aid forms now include a line for adding the cost of textbooks to the total price of a year of college. Recently the Minnesota State University Students Association conducted a survey of its members seeking information on the impact of textbooks on student finances. A third of the 1,231 students responding said “textbook costs greatly impacted their ability to fund their education.”
Two in five students are paying more than $450 a semester for their books; 8% paid more than $600 per semester for their course materials. (The Government Accountability Office reported in 2005 that textbooks averaged $900 a year. Many of our students take summer classes — in essence, 3 semesters.)
There was significant concerns over “bundling” where a textbook is paired with ancillary materials like study guides, subscriptions to magazines or, more ominously, access codes to websites used for homework. That bundling cuts off the ability of the student to use a previous edition of a book, or to rent a book, or buy it in a used book market — all ways for students to reduce their costs. And 40% of students still find that they get the information about what textbooks are used in a course too late to use anything other than the campus bookstore, which typically charges a full retail price.
Last fall student leaders at SCSU came to ask if I would sponsor legislation to address textbook costs. And the result ended up being incorporated into SF 1573 which was signed into law last May. The provisions will get course schedules and textbook requirements in time for students to explore all options for acquiring their textbooks. (Here’s a copy of my original bill.)
I am happy that students have stepped forward with their survey. Their work should be used when the working group requested by MSUSA and Chancellor Rosenstone forms to study more ways to reduce textbook costs (a provision also in SF 1573.) I look forward to helping the working group within the Legislature as well as from my campus office.
I am in the middle of writing thank you notes for donations made over the last ten days, and a couple of gifts reminded me of one very beautiful donation I got in my first run.
The software the state gives you to run campaign finances according to MN law prints out a list of your donors with dates and amounts. You run through the list of $25s and $50s (and a few nice ones larger than that) and you see one that is $5. It stands out. Often donations come with a note, and I love to read those.
That particular $5 donation came with a note that said the donor was currently unemployed and had health issues, but that he wanted to give something to show his support anyway. I know the family just a little: this man was supporting at least three children I knew of, maybe there were more. ”Thanks for your good work,” I remember the note saying.
Christians will likely know the story of the widow’s offering in Luke 21. I hope this wasn’t the fellow’s last five dollars, like it was her last two copper coins. Nonetheless, the fact that he wanted me to know he was with me and would help me in every way he could with money that was dear to him meant the world to me.
And still does.
In case he should read this, please know sir: I think about that $5 every time I’m tired of knocking doors or writing notes or calling donors. And it really lifts me and refreshes me and keeps me going.
So now I have to go finish those thank you notes. It’s not so hard. That was one powerful $5 check.