FFM Bulletin 4/20/12


FFM hosts capacity crowd for John Stossel


On Tuesday evening April 17, an enthusiastic crowd of conservatives joined the Freedom Foundation of Minnesota for an evening with John Stossel. Stossel is currently on a national book tour promoting his recently released book, entitled “No, They Can’t: Why Government Fails- But Individuals Succeed.”

Stossel explained to the crowd where he came up with the title of his book: 
  • “In 2008, when Barack Obama’s supporters shouted, “Yes, we can!” they expressed faith in the power of government to solve problems. Some acted as if Obama were a magical politician whose election would end poverty and inequality and bring us to “the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.” At least now people have come to understand that presidents -- including this president -- can’t perform miracles. In other words: No, they can’t!”
After his remarks, Mr. Stossel mingled with our guests and signed hundreds of copies of his new book. He also recorded an interview with KSTP-TV that will air this Sunday during At Issue at 10AM.

Thank you to all of our members, guests, volunteers, and others who made the event a success. 


Tax Freedom Day in Minnesota: April 22

Tax Day may have been April 17, but Tax Freedom Day in Minnesota won’t occur until April 22. Tax Freedom Day is the day when Minnesotans have earned enough money to pay their total tax bills for 2012.

Unfortunately for Minnesota taxpayers, our state is ranked 8th nationally for the number of days it takes to settle one’s tab with the IRS and MN Dept. of Revenue. By comparison, the Tax Freedom Days of neighboring states are April 21 for Wisconsin (ranked 10th nationally), April 18 for North Dakota (ranked 14th nationally), April 9 for Iowa (ranked 37th nationally), and April 4 for South Dakota (ranked 46th nationally).  With this huge tax burden, it’s easy to see why so many small businesses have moved to lower or no tax states, something the Freedom Foundation found out when we released our report on taxpayer migration.

The Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan tax research group based in Washington, D.C, compiles the Tax Freedom Day report annually.
 
Here are a few quick facts from the Tax Foundation about the true burden of taxes:

  • Americans will spend more in taxes in 2012 than they will on food, clothing, and housing combined.
  • Had the payroll tax holiday not been extended, this year’s Tax Freedom Day would have occurred three days later.
  • Americans will spend 24 days to pay their payroll, or social insurance taxes- those taxes dedicated to funding social insurance programs such as Social Security and Medicare. These taxes were reduced 2 percentage points for 2011 and 2012 as part of a payroll tax holiday.
  • Individual income taxes represent the largest component of Americans’ tax bills. 

As the Turbine Turns: Rural Electric Customers Pay the Price for Renewable Energy Mandate

Taxpayers already pay a high price to subsidize wind energy through billions in federal grants, loan guarantees and tax credits that prop up the “windustry”. Now the bill for state renewable energy mandates is coming due with hundreds of thousands of Minnesota electric co-op and utility customers picking up the tab.

Going green cost rural electric ratepayers in Minnesota more than $70 million last year, according to the Minnesota Rural Electric Association (MREA). The MREA represents about fifty mostly small, rural electric co-ops and utilities which serve more than 625,000 Minnesota homes and businesses.

“It’s an enormous subsidy. You have to add wind power, whether you need it or not,” said Mark Glaess, MREA executive director. “Right now we’re paying for wind we don’t need, we can’t use and can’t sell.”
Read the rest of our latest Accountability Alert, which was also featured on Brietbart’s BigGovernment.com on Wednesday and Glenn Beck’s websiteThe Blaze on Thursday.


Freedom Foundation Analysis: Local governments spend millions to lobby federal officials

A Freedom Foundation of Minnesota analysis of Lobbying Disclosure Act filings finds that Minnesota’s local governments spent more than $1.1 million to lobby the federal government in 2011, and at least $3.7 million since the start of 2009.

The biggest spenders in 2011 were the City of Minneapolis ($180,000), Hennepin County ($140,000), and Anoka County ($116,000).

The controversial practice of using taxpayer money to lobby for additional taxpayer money is nothing new in Minnesota. In fact, local governments and their associations are required to report lobbying expenditures to the Office of the State Auditor (OSA), which prepares an annual report on local government lobbying activities. OSA’s most recent report found that local governments spent $8.25 million in 2010 on lobbying at the State Capitol.

Read the rest of our latest report on federal lobbying by local governments.


Quote of the week
In an interview last week with the Christian Broadcasting Network, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) pushed back on claims by President Obama that his budget proposal (the Ryan budget) is “social Darwinism,” “a Trojan Horse,” and is “antithetical to our entire history.” Congressman Ryan, however, explained how his budget not only makes sense on a fiscal level, but on a moral level as well:

"A person's faith is central to how they conduct themselves in public and in private. So to me, using my Catholic faith, we call it the social magisterium, which is how do you apply the doctrine of your teaching into your everyday life as a lay person?"

"To me, the principle of subsidiarity . . . meaning government closest to the people governs best . . . where we, through our civic organizations, through our churches, through our charities, through all of our different groups where we interact with people as a community, that's how we advance the common good. By not having big government crowd out civic society, but by having enough space in our communities so that we can interact with each other, and take care of people who are down and out in our communities."

"Those principles are very, very important, and the preferential option for the poor, which is one of the primary tenets of Catholic social teaching, means don't keep people poor, don't make people dependent on government so that they stay stuck at their station in life. Help people get out of poverty out onto a life of independence."



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