Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Tom Emmer's per diem switcheroo

Tom Emmer has the Emmer Truth page on his website to try and spin some of his past statements and actions, in response Alliance for a better Minnesota launched a Real Emmer Truth page. Last Friday Xavier posted about the newest Emmer fact, his flip flopping on per diems.
Earlier this week, Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer told the St. Cloud Times that he would like to cut benefits and per diem to state elected officials. Yet throughout Emmer's legislative career he has taken full advantage of this perk, at the cost of thousands to taxpayers.
It's not just per diems that Tom Emmer wants to cut though:
Emmer proposed one cost-cutting move: eliminating job benefits and per-diems for state and local elected officials. Minnesota's constitutional officers and legislators receive benefits including health insurance, pensions and per diems, which may be claimed for attending meetings and other events.

Such perks encourage public servants to become career politicians, Emmer said.

"People seek to serve, and once they get elected, it's too good a gig to give up," Emmer said.
As Xavier notes, in 2005 Tom Emmer was singing a different tune, from a Pioneer Press article:
Rep. Tom Emmer, a freshman Republican from Delano, said he and the other legislators who claimed per diems have no apologies to make. Emmer, an attorney, said the $1,320 he earned in special session per diems was far less than he would have made in his law practice. 'You're talking to a guy who at 44 years old made a significant personal and financial sacrifice to serve my constituents,' Emmer said.
Ah yes, here we have the class act that is Tom Emmer, he is not ashamed of taking per diems because he has made tremendous sacrifices to serve his constituents. To be clear, I don't have a problem with per diems, it's the arrogance with which Tom Emmer talks about the sacrifices he has made to serve his constituents. It's called public service for a reason Tom, because you are doing a public service, not enriching yourself.

When Tom Emmer was not running for Governor and not trying his best to show how extremely conservative he is per diems were okay and he claimed his as does virtually every other legislator. Now that he's running for Governor per diems are like welfare benefits, keeping legislators on the dole and in office for perpetuity, even though he has received $5,764 already this year in per diem. This is yet another example of the class act that is Tom Emmer.

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