Friday, February 12, 2010

Minnesota Bonding Bill: Pork or Good use of money?

Minnesotans, this week our glorious Senate passed $1.2B bonding bill. The bill has moved to the House and could see a vote as earlier as Monday. That is if the State Legislature does not observe President's Day. Many of you already know that Minnesota is experiencing a budget shortfall. The shortfall is so dire that Gov. Pawlenty used unallotment to balance the budget that is now being contested in court. Here is a short list of the critical items that are needed in Minnesota:

  • New and upgraded exhibits at the Minnesota Zoo - $21 M
  • New trails, paving and connecting existing trails – over $31 M
  • A new volleyball court in Rochester - $5M
  • A new women's hockey center in Blaine - $1 M
  • Four new ice rinks in Big Lake, Cokato, Fergus Falls and New Hope - $2M
  • Regional amateur sports facilities in Marshall and Moorhead - $5M
  • Campground expansion in Two Harbors - $1M

This doesn't even include the millions spent for a planetarium, renovations to a civic center or updates to Arts Center. I understand interest rates are low and it will save the state money to make these update but are these updates really wise while millions of Minnesotans are out of work and trying to make ends meet? The pork barrel spending being proposed is not warranted and to burden future taxpayers with additional debt makes little sense. Or is this the time to spend millions on the items above? The small town I live is struggling to grow and faces mandates to keep its I/I up to code. Mandates that if not met will result in fines to the city. While Hamburg would like to expand and attract new residence and businesses, we cannot because our water/sewer system is tapped out. Any new business or residence can only occur if we improve our I/I ratio. That will cost the citizens of Hamburg over $1M. To put this in perspective, it could lead to an assessment to Hamburg residents in the neighborhood of $5000 or more and that does not include the sewer hookup.

Call your House Representative today to let them know how you feel about the bonding bill. For those in Hamburg, our representative if Rep. Kohls. Rep. Kohls can be reached at 651-2946-4282.