Emo Senator fans will be relieved to learn that Senator Mike Parry's amnesia is over, since he has once again learned that he owns a Godfather's Pizza. Bluestem, your humble narrator, hopes that this means he won't be asking for a salary increase in our next season at the legislature.
Readers may remember from the June episode, Suddenly socialist Mike Parry demands pay according to his needs, that Senator Parry suffered a severe lapse of memory, causing him to believe that his legislative salary was his only source of income, along with the per diems he maxed out on.
Later, during the shutdown, he developed a twitter rivalry with a laid-off state employee who in better times trimmed the lawn at the governor's residence, under the mistaken belief that the man still riding the gubernatorial mower. Still, The Emo Senator was beginning to remember his role in the Waseca community as a "job creator," as fans learned in the installment, Emo senator Mike Parry pats self on back for compassion, reveals another income source.
As we tune in today, Senator Parry is waxing lyrical to Minnesota Public Radio (via the Owatonna People's Press article Parry revives E-verify policy) about the close bonds shared at the pizza franchise he owns:
Parry, who owns a Godfather’s Pizza franchise in Waseca, doesn’t use E-Verify at his business. He said he’s not opposed to using E-Verify, but does not think it necessary for his shop.
“All of my employees at this point in time are pretty much high school students,” he said. “We know the families, and they’ve been living in town for quite a few years, and we know the parents and everything so we just haven’t used the E-Verify on that.”
And what is this E-Verify that Parry doesn't need at Waseca's version of Cheers, where everybody knows your name--and your parents too?
The MPR/OPP piece explains:
A contentious piece of immigration policy made it into the final budget deal approved last month. E-Verify is back, but with a twist.
The state is again requiring its big contractors to verify the legal status of their employees using a federal database run by the Department of Homeland Security. Former Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty first mandated E-Verify for large government contractors through an executive order in 2008. At that time, he also ordered the state to run its own new hires through E-Verify.
Gov. Mark Dayton, a Democrat, let the requirements lapse last April.
This time, the new law inserted into the budget deal applies only to businesses.
The new law was sponsored by Sen. Mike Parry, R-Waseca, who says he pushed for its return because he believes it protects Minnesotans from losing jobs to unauthorized workers.
“We need to know that those working in our businesses, throughout not only the state but the nation, are people who are legally here in the United States,” Parry said. “So it was put into the bill, and of course this time the governor passed it into law.”
Not that Parry's own business needs it under the law. Those high school students aren't baking up that many pizzas for the State of Minnesota to trip the $50,000 threshold.
Still, Parry's newest antagonist, Minneapolis attorney DeAnne Hilgers, notes that E-verify costs other companies money:
Companies providing more than $50,000 worth of services to the state must enroll in E-Verify to check the work status of new hires. Hilgers is concerned the new requirement, which is already in effect, will catch companies unaware.
“It was not a complete surprise that E-verify was back in play, but I did not expect it to come in the middle of the night with no discussion and no opportunity,” she said.
Hilgers said E-Verify costs companies extra time and money beyond what companies are already doing to ensure compliance with immigration law.
Hilgers also found it noteworthy that Pawlenty’s executive order required the state to run its own new hires through E-Verify, but the new law applies only to companies doing business with the state.
“Why is it OK for the state to subject contractors to a requirement aimed at bringing employers into compliance, when an employer as large as the state of Minnesota itself is not subject to the same requirement?” she asked.
Parry disagrees with Hilgers that E-Verify poses a burden to companies. He couldn’t estimate how much it costs companies to comply, but said he has called business leaders and asked them for their thoughts.
Fortunately, the narrator's quick googling fingers have discovered this Infographic: The Costs of E-Verify: A Closer Look at the Government's Work Authorization System, by Center for American Progress Immigration Policy Analyst Philip E. Wolgin. Wolgin shares some information that might give the financially struggling Emo Senator pause--or explain why this staunch defender of requiring others to use E-verify doesn't actually use it himself.
The Analyst writes:
This infographic explains the costs of E-Verify, the government’s Internet-based work authorization system. It highlights the system’s known costs, such as lost tax revenue and monetary burdens on small businesses, and estimates the costs of additional fiscal burdens—to individuals verified through the system, to employers utilizing the system, and to the federal government in running the system—absent from much of the dialogue. E-Verify expands the size of government while decreasing revenue, places a crushing burden on small businesses, and imposes a “jobs tax” on ordinary Americans.
So urgent is the Emo Senator's need (we worry about a relapse of that amnesia) that Bluestem has swiped the infographic and included it in at the top of this episode, so that Parry and all our fans can discover for themselves how much this policy costs individuals, businesses and the federal government.
Is it worth that cost? Apparently not to the Emo Senator, who doesn't pay to use it at his own business. Should E-verify be extended to all businesses, or does our sensitive hero have a means by which he can discern which small business owners are like himself and will only hire people they already know?
Graphics: ; Infographic: The Costs of E-Verify: A Closer Look at the Government's Work Authorization System from the Center for American Progress (above). The Emo Senator (Belle of Southern Minnesota) by Tild (below)
Earlier episodes of The Emo Senator are found below the fold.