Time for (MSA) taxpayer funded ClearWay MN to be dissolved & its assets distributed to Minnesotans whose lives have been destroyed by smoking bansClearWay MN 2010 annual report shows end of year assets of $110,793,337.00. Within their executive summary report to Ramsey County District Court they explain:
From inception through June 30, 2010, nearly $56.9 million has funded (smoking) cessation.....Through our QuitPlan programs....(by) June 2010, these programs had helped nearly 18,000 Minnesotans successfully quit....
At a taxpayer cost of $3,111.11 for each new ex-smoker..(remember MSA funds were awarded to state taxpayers to offset "tobacco related healthcare costs").....surely there are more cost effective ways for smokers to kick the habit that won't cost taxpayers a penny. But the outrageous measures that ClearWay MN uses to justify their gravy train existence, doesn't end there. ClearWay MN funded a "research" paper by Dr. Elizabeth Klein that claimed the smoking bans they funded and lobbied in favor of:
had no economic impact on bar business. Using state data on hospitality businesses, Dr. Klein found no significant change in employment for Twin Cities bars after their smoking bans took effect.
However, regular readers of CTA know that the Twin Cities area and surrounding Minnesota cities have seen a massive, unprecedented record number of hospitality closings (nearly 500 local closings by our detailed list) since smoking bans went into effect in the land of 10,000+ unemployed hospitality workers. So when we confronted Dr. Klein via email, her response showed an obvious "research" flaw:
"If you read the release, you'll note that our study used employment in hospitality businesses, not business closure. In addition, the research was conducted during 2003 to 2006."
So the study did not take into account the nearly 500 local hospitality closings and estimated 10,000 job losses after smoking bans were enacted here. But even more important, the study ended long before Minnesota's statewide smoking ban even went into effect. Therefore, this "study" cannot purport to measure the effect of smoking bans on hospitality employment....it was merely old, irrelevant propaganda pure and simple.
Hmmm....how many millions of dollars did ClearWay MN waste on that "study"?
In fact the Minnesota Auditor's Office filed a report in 2008 that showed one year after the statewide smoking ban went into effect, bars on average, lost 31.9% revenue.
CTA has over the years detailed the financial devastation to Minnesotans who've suffered job losses, foreclosure etc. by perhaps once well intentioned organizations. But in their zeal to lobby for self-serving legislation their bogus claim of "smoking bans are good for business" has proven not just to have been an outright lie, but a death sentence to hundreds of once profitable local businesses, and tens of thousands of livelihoods.
So once again, we appeal for the dissolution of ClearWay MN, and their massive coffers to be redistributed as recompense to those of us who've paid dearly for their gross negligence and disregard for the livelihood of others. As CTA proposed years earlier:
business and job losses which result from a smoking ban.......that fund will be financed by the American Lung Association, American Cancer Society, MPAAT (ClearWay MN) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF is the pharmaceutical nicotine organization which funded most of the preceding groups, a rent seeking ploy designed to increase sales of their Nicoderm, Nicorette, Nicotrol product line).