Saturday, March 06, 2010

Walz Wants Input on Earmarks, Kline Lets Others Decide

Representative Tim Walz (MN-01) is requesting input on how our tax dollars should be spent.
Walz writes : “Each year, the appropriations process allows Members of Congress to solicit input and ideas from their constituents as to which local projects need federal funds. I intend to request funding this year for projects that will create jobs through investments in southern Minnesota and/or will have a transformative impact on the region.
While I continue to work with my colleagues to rein in the deficit and bring the budget into balance in Washington, it is important to note that Congressional earmarks do not add to the federal deficit. 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. I support an open, accountable, and transparent appropriations process because I think it is critically important that the people of southern Minnesota have a say in how their taxpayer dollars are spent in our community.
Below, you will see links to all of the qualified applications for federal funding I've received this year. I must make a decision on whether to request funding for each individual application very soon. Before I make my decision, I want to hear from you.

Tim Walz is a true Representative. He is not advocating shadowy spending where special interests get special attention. He wants to hear from all citizens. In fact, Walz goes on to encourage projects that will create jobs and have strong public support. Walz writes : “The more public support from local elected leaders, community officials, and from citizens in southern Minnesota project requestors can demonstrate for a project, the better the chance that I will submit it to the House Appropriations Committee for consideration.”
Further, he writes “I am also interested in projects that are eligible for federal funds through the appropriations process but will not require annual federal financial support to be successful.
Lastly, he is not guaranteeing approval.

That’s a true Representative - open, responsive and concerned with how to best invest in the communities of southern Minnesota.
Contrast Representative Tim Walz, with John Kline in Minnesota’s Second District.
Mr. Kline, the “No” man who seems to be very comfortable in Washington Republican leadership has denounced Earmarks as a waste of tax dollars.
Kline wrote in 2008 “There is no accountability. Members of Congress are not even required to disclose to taxpayers what projects they have requested funding for.

Although Representative Walz is not required, his website and press reporting lists all projects for voters to review the process. Walz writes : “To the best of my knowledge, I am the only Member of Congress who seeks public input on earmark applications before finalizing my request to the House Appropriations Committee. I am committed to this unprecedented transparency because I believe the best decisions are well-informed decisions.

Why doesn’t Mr. Kline do that ?
After all, as Representative Walz stated “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.

It’s Mr. Kline’s failure to be involved in the appropriations process that has contributed to Minnesota being a donor state. The Tax Foundation rates Minnesota at the bottom - #46 writing : “Minnesota taxpayers receive less federal funding per dollar of federal taxes paid compared to the average state. Per dollar of Federal tax collected in 2005, Minnesota citizens received approximately $0.72 in the way of federal spending. This ranks the state 46th highest nationally and represents a decrease from 1995 when Minnesota received $0.78 per dollar of taxes in federal spending (44th highest nationally). Neighboring states and the amount of federal money they received per dollar of federal taxes collected were: North Dakota ($1.68), South Dakota ($1.53), Iowa ($1.10) and Wisconsin ($0.86).

Mr. Kline has taken a self-promoting political slant that he belongs to an elite group of 22 members of Congress that are opposing “earmarks”.

That type of elitism is bad for Minnesota. Mr. Kline could be as open, transparent and responsive as Representative Walz and investigate and promote projects that will grow jobs and improve Minnesota. Not all "earmarks" are wasteful government spending ... an effective Representative will make good decisions and spend our money wisely.

So, if you think that Highway 14 (Minnesota’s most deadliest highway) should be included in a federal appropriation, click here and tell Representative Walz (or any other project that might involve infrastructure investment such as water, sewer, road, etc.) … likewise, if you don’t think that a project should be included, I am sure that Representative Walz would want that input.

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