Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Nolan Campaign Misinforms Voters, Minnesota 8th District Politics

Article Link: http://chipcravaack.com/2012/09/fact-check-nolan-accuses-cravaack-of-stealing-from-mn-counties/

Rick Nolan is saying that because Chip Cravaack did not increase Thye-Blatnik monies to the counties, he is stealing from them.  If passed, H.R. 5544 would keep the Thye-Blatnik payments the exact same.
  • H.R. 5544 steals federal Thye-Blatnik monies from St. Louis, Lake, and Cook Counties
  • Thye-Blatnik is a law from 1948 that pre-dates Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) in order to compensate three counties in Northern Minnesota who lost over a million acres of land to the federal government in the creation of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and later the Wilderness Area.
  • All payments under this formula are offset from PILT payments.
  • These payments are similar to payments received by the States of Arizona and New Mexico under the Act of June 20, 1910 (36 Stat. 557).
  • H.R. 5544 contains an amendment that would ensure the land transfer would not increase these payments, but it does not decrease current payments. The text of H.R. 5544 does not increase the federal budget or contain any earmarks.
  • Payments to Lake, Cook and St. Louis Counties remain unchanged.
  • Rep. Grijalva offered an amendment in committee to prevent increased Thye-Blatnik payments. The amendment was rejected because it also added NEPA back in. Hastings later added in similar language to keep H.R. 5544 from increasing the federal budget through Thye-Blatnik payments.
  • Grijalva sent intimidating letters to Lake, Cook and St. Louis Counties asking them what they used their Thye-Blatnik payments for and implying the committee was investigating the validity of those payments:
  • “The basic question is why should three counties get special treatment?  In addition, Congress has adopted strict rules against the use of earmarks and amendments have been adopted in the House that would eliminate such targeted use of federal funds.  While it is over 60 years old, Thye Blatnik is an earmark — one that would have likely gone undetected without this legislation.”)
  • Then, he had the gall to come to the floor and say he was concerned that the Hastings amendment, which had the same effect as his amendment, would cutpayments by $1 million to those three counties.
  • Unbelievably, Grijalva’s state of Arizona has a similar arrangement through the Act of June 20, 1910 (36 Statute 557). Both Thye-Blatnik (1948) and the Act of 1910 predate Payment in Lieu of Taxes (1976), which compensate states or counties for the federal government taking vast amounts of land from the states.

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