When I wrote about the ambush that TAM/AFSCME have planned for Rep. King Banaian and Sen. John Pederson, I’d heard that they weren’t the only people that AFSCME planned on ambushing. I’d heard rumors that they’d tried the same type of ambush on Rep. Keith Downey. After wrapping up my article about the St. Cloud State ambush, I sent an email to Rep. Downey asking whether he’d received an invitation to the Downeyville ambush on the State Capitol steps. This morning, I received confirmation from Rep. Downey. His email was brief and to the point:
Same exact thing happened to me.
First, it’s important to describe what Downeyville is. Here’s that information:
Instead of creating jobs, Republicans are creating unemployment. They’re ready to shut down the state and cause the biggest lay off in Minnesota history. If you’re angry about losing your job and your public services, join us Wednesday, July 6, from 4:30-6:30 p.m. on the state Capitol steps. We’ll set up “Downeyville,” spotlighting the policies of the state representative from Edina (and his allies) that would wipe out the jobs of 5,000 state workers. But that’s just the beginning: If Legislative Republicans get their way, their “cuts only” budget will eliminate 30,000 public- and private-sector jobs – permanently.
That’s the result of refusing to ask the richest 2 percent to pay their share. Republicans would prefer to eliminate 30,000 jobs so they can protect the 45,000 households making $350,000 or more.
That’s incredible intellectually dishonest on AFSCME’s part. Rep. Downey’s now-famous 15 By 15 bill, which would reduce Minnesota state government’s workforce by 15% by 2015, would rely heavily on retirements to reduce the state workforce. It’s anticipated that, starting with this year, 6% of Minnesota state government’s workforce will retire each of the next 4 years. In other words, no state employees would be terminated, though some would be offered early retirement offers.
I can confirm that Rep. Downey got a phone call inviting him to the Downeyville event late in the afternoon the day before the event. I can further confirm that Rep. Downey didn’t accept the offer to be ambushed. (ed. note: my adjective, not Rep. Downey’s)
Let’s also look at their claim that the budget that the Republicans passed is a “cuts-only budget”. That’s hogwash. Only in the mind of a progressive can passing the biggest budget in state history represent a cut. I’m still waiting for one of these enlightened AFSCME souls to explain how the state going from spending $30,171,000,000 to proposing to spend $34,200,000,000 is a cut. Thus far, I haven’t had any takers.
Next, it’s important that we question the accuracy of AFSCME’s claim that the Republicans’ “cuts only” budget will eliminate 30,000 public- and private-sector jobs – permanently.” Any claims expressed with that amount of certitude are almost automatically wrong, and almost automatically by a significant amount.
How can AFSCME say that private sector jobs will be permanently cut? They aren’t economists trained in making private sector job growth projections. Is AFSCME saying that specific types of private sector jobs are being permanently being eliminated? If they are, I’ll just say that this provocative claim be ignored. The same type of claim could’ve been made, and likely was made, when cars replaced horse and buggie transportation.
Strategically eliminating government jobs is seen by the public as a positive thing. People aren’t interested in eliminating government. They just want it downsized so that it isn’t convoluted. If government is growing in size, impact and influence, that means it’s taking money away from the private sector.
It’s clear that AFSCME’s and TAM’s strategy from the outset was to ambush legislators with whom they disagreed. It’s bad enough that they attempted to do this in the first place. It’s even more disgusting that they’re attempting to do it while giving state legislators extremely short notice, often less than 24 hours notice.
UPDATE: I just got this clarification from Rep. Downey:
[AFSCME] called me Friday night July 1 to “invite” me to the event tonight July 7. Problem was, the invitations were already mailed, postmarked July 1, leading people to believe I had confirmed my attendance when they hadn’t even asked. Then they turn around and blame me for not being “willing” to attend.
I did not decline because I didn’t want to get ambushed, I legitimately had planned to drive up north to pick up my family this afternoon/evening. Plus, I just met with this exact same group a few weeks ago for a “town hall”.
My apologies for the incorrect information included in the original information.