Recently, my lefty but lovable neighbor over at the Brick City Blog announced his endorsement of Keith Pickering for State House 47A against Ernie Leidiger. I suppose to be fair and offer some balance, I should go ahead and endorse someone as well, and since this blog is getting far more attention than I thought, some of you might even listen to me.
So, about 47A…
Ernie Leidiger has problems. As Sean at brick City points out, there are many good reasons not to vote for Ernie. Readers know that I have enjoyed poking fun at Ernie “Porky” Leidiger and his many problems: Campaign finance problems, Bradlee Dean problems, tax problems, business problems, and a shouting problem. It is not at all surprising that Ernie hasn’t been seen in public in a while and doesn’t seem to be campaigning. That is, until last Sunday when he decided it would be a good idea to shamelessly campaign for the Marriage Amendment in Church.
So, though I consider myself a good Republican, I cannot endorse the incumbant, Ernie Leidiger for State Representative. There are just too many problems with his actions. I can’t endorse a tax cheat and a business failure, nor a guy who doesn’t seem to have the demeanor (or common sense) to be a State Rep.
His opponent, Keith Pickering, I know little about. I have not met the man, and can gather very little about him from his website, other than some very tread-worn DFL talking points. The Brick City endorsement calls him a “moderate” and praises him for not “shooting from the hip.” But his responses to the Waconia Patriot Q&A reveal Pickering to be a shallow puppet of the DFL candidate school who hasn’t researched anything beyond the list of talking points that came with his DFL endorsement packet.
For example: “Keith Pickering: I’m concerned about the recent rise in property taxes we’ve seen in the last year. That happens because the legislature cuts aid to local governments and schools, which then raise property taxes to make up the difference. Last year the Republican-controlled legislature shut down state government so they could force cuts in aid to local governments, which caused property taxes to increase.“
First point: property taxes. Even WCCO’s Pat Kessler says this DFL claim about rising property taxes is at best half-true, as well as highly misleading, but Pickering pukes pablum in the Patriot. Keith, let me help you out with this one: local governments (cities, townships, counties, school districts, etc) levy property taxes on individuals, the state does not – and should not – levy residential property taxes. The state does have a business property tax (but they shouldn’t). You need to study your Civics, sir.
Second point: LGA “cuts.” In 2011, cities received the 2010 paid LGA or certified 2011 LGA, whichever was less. This is a “freeze,” not a “cut.” 2012 LGA is the same as 2011. Again, a “freeze.” In 2013, the program will return back to the previous formula with a total appropriation of $426 million – still not a cut. (source)
This is not the response of someone who “loves data and facts” and can “take problems apart and apply logic to them.” This is someone who copied-and-pasted from the DFL talking points into his newspaper questionnaire.
Example 2: “Pickering: Property tax relief is my highest priority, and that can only be accomplished by restoring aid to local governments and schools. It’s clear that our budgeting and tax structure needs a complete overhaul, and that starts by recognizing that there is no free lunch. Last year, the Republican-controlled legislature tried to create a “free lunch” by shifting over $2 billion of school aid off budget. Such shifts had happened before, but until this year those shifts had always been paid for in the current budget, as required by the Minnesota constitution. Last year that shift was unfunded, which makes the shift totally unconstitutional in my view.
Next year’s legislature was left holding the bag, which will pretty much require a revenue increase to pay the piper. This kind of behavior by the legislature is simply unacceptable, and we should not accept it ever again.”
LGA is a wealth re-distribution plan that takes money out of Carver County to pay to cities in other districts. Carver County is a net loser in the LGA shell-game. “Restoring” LGA will not help the voters in most of 47A. Might want to read up on that point, Keith.
Also, if you were paying attention in 2011, you would know that a budget was presented to the Governor that did not include a school shift. He vetoed it and shutdown the state. It was your DFL Governor that insisted on the school shift in order to settle the budget dispute. Furthermore, he vetoed attempts by the Legislature in 2012 to start repaying the school shift.
And finally, if you watch the news you would know that the increase in revenue has already happened due to the proper fiscal management of the 2011-12 GOP-led Legislature, and the resulting increased economic activity. The “piper will be paid” if the Governor and his veto pen would get out of the way. This is “all out partisan warfare” by Mr Pickering, with no regard for actual events.
Sadly, because of the He-Men Woman-Haters Club boycott of the LWV candidate forums, I will not have the chance to see Pickering for myself and ask him to explain some of these rote answers. And yes, I realize Ernie Leidiger and the HMWHC is the root-cause of that problem.
I could go on about Pickering’s pro-internet-sales-tax (ugh) stance or failure to understand basic economics (you can read those responses for yourself), but the point is: I cannot endorse Keith Pickering for the State house seat either, because he appears to be nothing more than a sock-puppet for the DFL with no original thoughts of his own.
So after thoughtfully weighing the options, I have decided to endorse neither Party’s candidate for MN House 47A. Instead, I am starting a write-in campaign because neither of these guys has earned your vote.