I wrote about it yesterday: the regional left wants to make Governor Pawlenty’s cuts to the “Local Government Aid” program a major issue in the campaign.
If there is any justice – and if Minnesotans can read numbers – it should backfire badly on the DFL.
I wrote yesterday about a piece in Twin Cities leftyblog MNPublius written by Jeff Rosenberg, which led:
As Tim Pawlenty tries to walk into the sunset, he’s got one small problem: He’s left Minnesotans a complete mess.
He went on to quote heavily from a WCCO TV report that showed how grievously cities around Minnesota are suffering because of Governor Pawlenty’s cuts to LGA.
We’ll address the “cuts” later in this series.
But for today, let’s just talk history.
“Local Government Aid” was a scheme hatched in the late sixties and early seventies. There are really two ways to look at it:
“Political Welfare” – Just as “welfare” in its purest, most generally-accepted form seeks to put a safety net over the abyss of poverty, and “corporate welfare” tries to help businesses create jobs in communities that might not otherwise exist (often for good reason), LGA started out as welfare for cities; the state’s taxpayers would subsidize the less well-off parts of the state by redistributing wealth from the parts of the state that were prospering. At that time, of course, it was the wealthy metro area subsidizing relatively poor outstate Minnesota.
But forty years of DFL mismanagement have turned the major cities – Minneapolis, Saint Paul and Duluth into fiscal basket cases; outstate Minnesota is holding its own; the suburbs, especially the Twin Cities’ booming southern and western ‘burbs, are absolutely booming.
And like the original intentions of the personal and corporate welfare systems, Minnesota’s political welfare system, Local Government Aid, has been perverted far outside its original scope.
Which means LGA really more closely resembles…
Money Laundering: Originally intended to give small, poor outstate governments and schools a hand, it now subsidizes DFL-dominated city governments to a vastly disproportionate degree. And it allows those city governments to diffuse the accountability for their own wasteful, featherbedded spending.
Look at it this way: A city spends 10 million dollars. They want to spend fifteen million dollars. What do you suppose is going to be an easier pill to shove down the city’s taxpayers’ throats?
- A 50% hike in property taxes?
- No change in property taxes, and a five million dollar subsidy gotten from the state’s three million taxpayers?
Because when you’re a politician, the best kind of accountability is the kind you fob off on someione else.
And while the DFL caterwauls about the losses that LGA cuts have supposedly inflicted on the cities, the numbers show a very, very different story; LGA cuts have been far outstripped by property tax hikes.
More, including numbers – lots and lots of numbers – tomorrow.