Missouri

Liberal Senator's Staff Hosts Town Hall Meeting And A Tea Party Breaks Out!

Last week we posted a sampling of the feedback Congressional supporters of the socialized medicine legislation experienced at home in their districts and states. Here's three more, all from a town hall meeting in St. Louis, hosted by the staff of one of the top lightweights in Washington, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri). In the first one, McCaskill gets a civics 101 lesson, courtesy of one of America's truely best and brightest. It's something, clearly, she never learned:

Then, a to-the-point, commonsense question about true equality, a virtue for which liberals so eloquently exclaim that they, and they alone, uphold:

Finally, this meeting was supposed to be an equal representation of pro- and anti- "health care reform" constituents. We report. You decide.

Liberal politicians rarely see the light, but a motivated grassroots certainly can make them feel the heat! We can do the same here in Virginia.

Poll: What's The Most Embarrassing Loss?

It's official. We now have, thanks to Minnesota courts — which, similar to Iran's government, refused to investigate that there were more votes than voters in certain precincts — a "comedian" U.S. Senator in the person of know-nothing, erratic, hyper-liberal, Al Franken. Losing to a clown like Franken must be pretty embarrassing to former incumbent Republican Norm Coleman. After all, he was a successful mayor of St. Paul and a distinguished senator. It got me thinking, for the fun of it, this question:

These three jump out at us. Add your own answer and comment on any other U.S. Senate election result, or any campaign result you think is particularly embarrassing because of how, why or to whom the candidate lost.

State Government Spending Transparency Updates

Last night I posted about action on taken on HB 2285, patroned by Delegate Ben Cline (R-24, Amherst), which would make state government spending transparent in an easy-to-use, online searchable database of state spending.  Here's an update:  The House Appropriations Sub-Committee on Technology Oversight and Government Activities (see committee member here) today did not hear HB 2285. One little problem . . . today was the last meeting of the sub-committee before crossover. However, the sub-committee has scheduled extra meetings in the past. It is urgent that this sub-committee hear from you as soon as possible. Tell them that not only do you support the bill, but you expect it to be heard in sub-committee. 

If you want a quick  reference to their phone numbers, click here.

Meanwhile, tomorrow the Senate General Laws Committee (for members click here) meets and will take up SB 936, patroned by Senator Ken Cuccinelli (R-37, Fairfax). Expect the argument against spending transparency to be a bogus cost estimate by the Department of Planning and Budget.

Many states, including Missouri and Nebraska, have put their spending online for almost no new money — and doing so has more than paid for itself in the finding of duplications and other wasted spending. Our friends at the National Taxpayers Union have secured two letters to the various committee members that we have circulated: One from the Treasurer of Nebraska and one, just last night, from former Missouri Governor Matt Blount's chief of staff, detailing how Virginia's $3 million cost estimate is completely unfounded and unrealistic.   

It is urgent that everyone concerned about good and open government contact members of the Senate General Laws Committee and urge them to pass SB 936 Wednesday, as well as contact the House Appropriations Sub-Committee on Technology Oversight and Government Activities — for good government and transparency in how our tax money is spent!

Spending Transparency Vote Monday!

One of our highest priorities this General Assembly is budget transparency —putting the state's expenditures online in an easy to search, Google-like format (see our position here). This would allow average citizens, the media, business people, experts, academics, policy organizations, and anyone with a computer and Internet hookup to search the state's expenditures.  Who wins government contracts — notorious groups such as Planned Parenthood, for example? Or is the state paying for duplicate and unneeded services and wasting our hard-earned money? Within a few months of its expenditures going online, Texas found tens of millions of dollars in duplications and waste, getting into such detail as duplicate office equipment and fleet services. This should be a non-controversial issue, but as always, there is resistance by the "This is how we always do it crowd." 

HB 2285, patroned by Delegate Ben Cline (R-24, Amherst) would put each fiscal year's expenditures online in an easy-to-search, Google-like format. It is up for consideration in the House Science and Technology Committee and it meets this Monday at 4:00 p.m. Budget transparency is a Family Foundation priority this session of the General Assembly. While the naysayers will say it is too expensive, we secured from the Treasurer of Nebraska a letter to committee members explaining how he put his expenditures online for free! (See below.) If Nebraska, Missouri, Oklahoma and Mississippi can do it, Virginia, where the Internet was invented, should be able to do it too!

We urge everyone to contact members of the House Science and Technology Committee (they are in the link above) and urge them to pass HB 2285. In addition, if it is passed Monday, it will go directly to the Appropriations Sub-Committee on Technology Oversight and Government Activities (click here) for a Tuesday morning hearing. Those committee members need to be contacted as well.

Dear Virginia Legislators,

In Nebraska, I created NebraskaSpending.com by Executive Order in 2007. NebraskaSpending.com proves that putting a searchable budget database online could be done inexpensively without compromising its purpose.

For $38,000, NebraskaSpending.com includes information on state government dollars to be spent, state dollars received, investment operation pool, grants, contracts, and a breakdown of property taxes and state aid.

I heard the same arguments about the cost of a searchable database; we received an estimate of $1.1 million at one point. In the end, we were able to shine the light on Nebraska's budget at a cost to the taxpayer of $38,000.

Taxpayers demand absolute transparency from their government. As elected officials, it is our job to deliver it in a cost effective manner. I've seen expensive estimates like these, but in the end government can roll up their sleeves and deliver it for far less. That's exactly what we did in Nebraska.

As far as the $3 million fiscal impact statement attached to Virginia SB 936/HB 2285, I can't envision a situation in which a budget site would even approach that price range. If we can do it for five figures in Nebraska, there's no reason for anything close to seven figures in Virginia.

Sincerely,

Shane Osborn, Treasurer

    State of Nebraska