Minneapolis, MN–The federal “stimulus” spending splurge has truly been the gift that keeps on giving throughout 2009.
Not just for special interest groups like teachers, higher education, subsidized housing advocates, green energy contractors, arts groups, andgovernment workers at every level, but also for the media and watchdog organizations exposing thousands of nonexistent jobs supposedly saved or created by the binge spending, a not so transparent process and hundreds of phantom congressional districts.
A year-end review of the stimulus spending spree indicates Minnesotahas been designated to receive$4,755,777,465 stimulus dollars, raising Minnesotans’ share of the national debt by $911 for every man, woman and child. And it’s not just bike paths and “socially conscious puppet shows” that taxpayers are bankrolling.
In the spirit of the season, the Freedom Foundation of Minnesota sorted through newly available data and compiled a last minutelist of stimulating gifts presented through the generosity of current and future taxpayers. Tis the season!
Franconia – $50,000 for a sculpture park:
The public may get in for free to view “Spitting Bazookas” among other sculptures at the outdoor Franconia Sculpture Park, but not the taxpayers, who also help foot the bill for special events on Earth Day, Summer Solstice and World Peace Day.
Willmar – $48,394 for surveillance cameras:
The “Police” warned us about watching “every breath you take and every move you make” and evidently authorities in Willmar are in tune with them. County and local law enforcement received stimulus funding for a high tech video surveillance system to monitor risky public areas and at least “increase public perception of security” in this west central Minnesota community.
Cloquet – $16,486 to monitor a Hell’s Angels rally:
When Hell’s Angels targeted Cloquet last summer, it evidently became a national security issue. Local authorities monitoring the 2009 Hell’s Angels USA rally in Cloquet billed for stimulus funding for the cost of overtime.
University of Minnesota – $190,464 to study sex reversal in mice:
When taxpayers were promised that economic stimulus funds would be spent only on the most critical public projects, few would have predicted that one of those projects would involve sex reversal in mice. But that’s exactly what the University of Minnesota received nearly $200,000 to study.
University of Minnesota – $230,280 for stop smoking outreach to the homeless:
The University of Minnesota received more than $230,000 not to combat the serious problem of homelessness, but instead to stop homeless people from smoking. The university’s planinvolves distributing nicotine patches, transit passes, and debit cards to participants. In order to enhance participation in this study, the university intends to produce “attractive intervention materials.”
Burnsville – $208, 900 to implement new Sustainability Guide Plan and convert holiday lights to LED lighting:
Burnsville’s Sustainability Guide Plan is the result of a year-long process involving ten teams of consultants.But the really pricey part of thisgreenprint is implementing it.The city has acknowledged that its best chance to fund this plan lies outside the city’s coffers. That’s why they’ve sought grants, public/private partnerships and, of course, federal stimulus funds.With the Sustainability Guide Plan, Burnsville is modifying an old maxim: Think globally, act locally, fund federally.
St. Cloud – $798,396 to improve “reliever” airport with no commercial flights:
The St. Cloud Regional Airport is a self-described “reliever airport” for the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. But what’s to relieve? Though commercial airlines have curtailed daily passenger flights, civic leaders continue to go full throttle ahead in spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in stimulus funding in hopes the airport takes off–someday.
Regency Beauty Institute – $4,573,458 for Pell grants:
An attractive financial package for qualifying students at beauty institutes administered by Twin Cities-based Regency Corporation in Minnesota and several other states.