Friday, June 15, 2007

Around the District

A smattering of stories across the District!

Spin on the Transportation veto continues. Dille and Urdahl report in the Annandale Advocate.
"We've got to do something to fund transportation," Urdahl said of the
bonding bill that was vetoed by the governor and then nearly overturned in the
House."We're $1.7 billion behind where we need to be. We've got to find a way to
fund this," Urdahl said. Local units of government are the big losers. "We need
to find ways to get money to counties, cities and townships."

Both Urdahl and Dille voted for the transportation bill, which had strong
support in the House and Senate. Urdahl didn't vote to override Pawlenty's veto.
"It needed 90 votes and it only got 83."There's a better way to address the
problem than a meaningless override vote," Urdahl said.

The override vote was not a meaningless vote. Real leaders show courage in situations such as this. Some, even work across party lines to do what is best for their constituents.

Urdahl tried to explain his vote in a previous op ed piece in the Annandale paper as well.
My recent vote to support the transportation conference committee report was
cast to make a point to the governor.
Talk about a meaningless vote.

Property taxes will continue to increase due to failures of Republican House Caucus obstructionists, as noted in the West Central Tribune yesterday.

Senator Dille had his op ed piece supporting the Transportation Bill in the Annandale Advocate, Dassel Cokato Enterprise Dispatch, and the McLeod County Chronicle.

He lays out the argument to support the bill the Governor vetoed, and does a great job in doing do I might add.
Experts estimate we need an extra $1.8 billion per year for 10 years to catch up on our transportation needs. The bill provided 44 percent of this amount or $800 million per year on average for 10 years. Although less than what is needed, the bill was a step in the right direction. The so-called "lights on" transportation bill that later was passed and signed by the governor provided no new money.

The bill included a 5-cent gas tax increase which would help fund county, city and township roads and bridges. This helps prevent local property tax increases.

The bill increased transportation revenue in a way that would have made Minnesota potentially eligible for hundreds of millions of additional federal matching dollars (20 percent state dollars matches 80 percent federal dollars). Without the increase, this money goes to other states. Minnesota already ranks almost dead last (49th) in the amount of federal money it gets back for all purposes.

The bill was also actively supported by county and city leaders from my district, including Meeker, McLeod and Wright counties, and the cities of Glencoe, Hutchinson, Silver Lake, Watkins and others.

Go to the papers to see the full context of the op ed.

The Stewart mayor stepped down at the most recent City Council meeting.

A firearm incident near Dassel. Probably the reason I heard a helicopter when I came home last Friday night.

The Enterprise Dispatch had a great opinion piece by Bill Ward, Dassel Lakeside Home Administrator.

"What the heck just happened here?" Those in long term care made a great case to the Minnesota Legislature for a 7% increase. The legislature passed a 1.87% increase and mandated that the money go towards new costs.

Providers will continue to be shorted $35 a day, a 22% shortage.

So while property taxes will go up...again, roads are in a continued degraded condition in Greater Minnesota, the disparity between rural and urban school funding widens, and our seniors are being short changed, at least we fell out of the Top 10 in taxation!

We're going to feel the price of this "wonderful" accomplishment.

No comments: