His extreme aversion to earmarks means that his constituents get shorted.
Taxpayers want more than 35 cents for their dollar.
For years now, incumbent Second District U.S. Rep. John Kline has been focusing on a "no earmarks" message that is so extreme that even a majority of his own party members don't support it. Kline recently said: "The system is broken, and [Shelley Madore] doesn't understand that. I just flatly deny that supporting a broken, wasteful government spending program is the way to get people in Minnesota back to [work]. ... It's runaway spending and failed policies that are not creating any jobs.''
Perhaps it is Kline who doesn't understand the earmark system. Earmarks are the only existing mechanism in Congress to return our tax dollars to fund projects in our district. And, yes, those projects would create jobs in our community. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce website, "Each dollar invested in highway construction generates $1.80 of GDP. According to the Department of Transportation, each $1 billion in federal highway investment supports 28,000 jobs. In order for the U.S. to remain a leader in a global economy the country's policy-makers must make this national challenge a national priority."
When Kline refuses to request our tax dollars through earmarks, he is refusing to bring infrastructure, education funding and small-business job creation back to our district.
If Kline believes that the earmark system is a less-than-ideal way to return tax dollars to the community, perhaps he should author and pass a bill that changes the system. Merely refusing to work within the existing process does not save taxpayers in our district a single dollar. Instead, the dollars they pay are spent for projects in other states, putting our district at a serious disadvantage for attracting new businesses and jobs.
Because Kline has refused to request tax dollars for important projects here in our district, even when asked by our trusted city, county and school leaders, we receive the lowest return of our hard-earned tax dollars of any district in Minnesota. Only 35 cents of every dollar we pay in federal taxes is returned to our district to fund important local projects such as safer, more-efficient roads and bridges and a world-class education for our state college students. Other Minnesota districts receive an average of 77 cents. In Wisconsin, it's 86 cents; in Iowa, $1.10; in South Dakota, $1.53, and in North Dakota, $1.68. For more information, please visit 35CentTour.com.
When it comes to representing our community's interests and answering questions about his performance in Congress, John Kline has been absent. On Nov. 2, we have the power to elect a real representative for the Second Congressional District. From job creation to education, health care to consumer protection, as your next congressperson, I will represent the real interests of individuals and families in our community.
Shelley Madore is the Democratic candidate for the U.S. House in Minnesota's Second District.
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