Remember how it became a running joke that the surest way to see if George W. Bush was going to cut a group’s funding was if he’d done a recent photo-op with it? I mean, it happened again and again.

Well now, today we see Tom Emmer, a tax cut fanatic in the mold of George W. Bush and outgoing governor Tim Pawlenty, had a photo-op at a company that, if Emmer had had his way, would likely have gone under. Let The UpTake tell the story:

Republican candidate for Minnesota Governor Tom Emmer unveils what his campaign is calling “part one” of his budget plan today at 1pm. The focus of the announcement will be jobs. The ironic backdrop to Emmer’s announcement is Permac Industries in Burnsville, Minnesota. Ironic because Permac avoided laying off workers thanks to funding from the federal Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which Tom Emmer has very vocally opposed.

Permac President Darlene Miller was quoted just this past week saying “The subsidized jobs program has provided us with a wonderful way to identify dedicated and dependable workers.” The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reports:

Permac Industries has hired five employees through the jobs program, expanding Miller’s business while training candidates for unsubsidized positions. These employees, in turn, are developing the experience needed to increase their financial independence.”

At the news conference, Miller denied that federal stimulus funds were used for her workers. When asked if the federal funds indirectly subsidized her workers through the workforce program, Miller was interrupted by Emmer, who didn’t answer the question either.

By the way, Emmer’s budget plan — such as it is (essentially Pawlenty Part Two, and Pawlenty’s now known as "Governor Gutshot" in these parts for leaving the state with a belly wound, just like the deer he didn’t bother tracking last fall) — was the last of the three major candidates to be presented to the public, and it’s not even complete. Also by the way, Mark Dayton and Tom Hornet have had their plans out there for months now.

Permac was having a tough time of it during the recession that followed in the wake of the popping of the Bush Bubble, as this StarTribune article from last month indicates: "Permac Industries, a Burnsville-based company that makes precision-machined parts for a variety of industries, saw its sales fall about 40 percent in 2009 partly because customers were doing more of that work themselves, said CEO Darlene Miller. She said she knows of other precision parts makers that experienced the same drop-off in business. At Permac it occurred mostly with customers that previously ordered parts for hydraulic systems used in construction and off-road equipment, she said."

But thanks to the stimulus money provided by the Recovery Act, Permac not only was able to avoid laying off people, it actually hired a few:

One of the workers who has benefited from the [TANF program, funded by the Recovery Act] is Royal Bissonette, a single father who had been seeking work for several years before participating in a short-term subsidized position at Books for Africa, a nonprofit in St. Paul. Based on positive reviews from his manager, Bissonette was offered another subsidized position at Permac Industries, a precision manufacturing company in Burnsville.

Through participation in the subsidized transitional work program, Bissonette gained valuable job skills, paving the way to a more permanent position at Permac Industries.

“The subsidized jobs program has provided us with a wonderful way to identify dedicated and dependable workers like Royal,” said Permac Industries President Darlene Miller. Permac Industries has hired five employees through the jobs program, expanding Miller’s business while training candidates for unsubsidized positions. These employees, in turn, are developing the experience needed to increase their financial independence.

“This program has helped me reach my goals,” said Bissonette. “I’m working hard to provide a loving, safe, and stable environment for my family.” Just this past Tuesday, Bissonette completed his transition off of public assistance.

Without additional funding, employers like Permac Industries will lose the support that has made hiring workers like Bissonette possible in the midst of a difficult economic climate.

Back in January of 2009, Tom Emmer had harsh words for any small business owners seeking stimulus money help from the newly-elected President Obama and the Democratic Congress: “Putting out a bunch of empty buckets in hopes of catching dollars raining down from Washington ; that isn’t leadership, that’s desperation because you have no new ideas of your own.” Does he still feel that Permac’s Darlene Miller should not have put out her bucket to catch the stimulus dollars that saved her business and allowed it to expand? We’ll likely never know, because that’s yet another question he’s not going to answer — kinda like how he didn’t answer any questions today on the specifics of his "jobs agenda".

Update:

Aaron Klemz at the Cucking Stool points out that Emmer’s Bush-like touting of the effects of programs he opposes is not limited to the Recovery Act:

We don’t get why you continue to propose programs that you voted against (small business tax credits) or decry the lack of programs that already exist and that you also voted against (Veterans GI Bill).