Joe Doakes of Como Park writes about the bonding bill that is one of Mark Dayton’s demands to end his shutdown.
Naturally, the Star Trib editors praise the bonding bill, saying “Not all government borrowing is created equal.”
They’re exactly correct, of course. Sometimes government borrows money to build unnecessary buildings that benefit a tiny few; sometimes it borrows money to build public improvements that benefit hundreds of thousands. This bonding bill is almost entirely the former.
This bill is not slated to pay for a Vikings stadium – sorry, Zigi.
But some of the spending is almost as misguided:
New buildings at the U of M and St. Cloud State. Should have come from the school budget via capital funding or alumni fundraising, like any private school would have to do, not a separate state-wide funded bonding bill.
Civic center upgrades to Rochester, St. Cloud and Mankato. These are local projects to benefit local communities – they should raise the money locally, not by a state-wide funded bonding bill.
And this part:
Development of more mass transit corridors in the Twin Cities. “Corridors” reads LIGHT RAIL which benefits (if anybody), local residents, not state-wide population and therefore should be funded locally (or not at all).
And there you go.
Why shouldn’t these things be decided, and paid for, locally rather than by state and metro-wide planning bodies?
Here’s the only line in the article with which I agree:
Bonding is an appropriate and desirable practice when it allows for investment in the infrastructure and amenities that will pay economic dividends in the long run. But it’s a travesty when it’s used for short-term consumption and leaves the future bereft.
True; sadly, the editors cannot distinguish between adding lanes to 35W versus adding The Mark Dayton Wing to the Mankato Civic Center.
Is this bonding bill enough of a stinker to scuttle the budget deal? No, probably not. It’s as infuriating to see the Governor hold up the entire state for pure pork as to see the GOP go along with it. But the enemy of good is perfect, and although this deal isn’t perfect, it’s good enough for now.
It may well be good enough – depending on the reforms that get through the process. Reportedly, Zero-Based Budgeting and the Sunset Commission are on the bubble – which, beyond any set of financial figures, are the big goals of this legislature for conservatives.