Driving County Roads

An on line journal sharing my views. The content reflects my background as a rural person employed in agriculture and as a retired elected official of local government.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Powerful Pawlenty

The governor’s veto of the tax bill this past week meant that a simple signature of the most powerful man in the state depleted the coffers of Nicollet County by $94,320. This amount would have been an increase from our present (2007) program aid. That new revenue would certainly have gone a long way toward paying our yearly bill to transport prisoners to other counties since our own jail is full to the brim. OR it could have been used in a myriad of other ways that could very well be pro-active methods to keep our citizens away from the Criminal Justice System. So much for the could have’s. It is only by “learning the lesson the hard way” and the typical kicking and screaming that visionary leaders drag governments into pro-active behavior and programs.

· Did you know that local units of government are held to a higher standard? We must abide by the open meeting law, but somehow the governor and legislature can cut deals behind closed doors. The reason: because they make the rules.

· Did you know that since the year 2002, counties have received a 22% reduction in state aids – but managed to keep property tax increases at 6%?

· Did you know that late in the session the concept of a “Dime a Drink” tax –nooooo, it was an alcohol impact fee- was proposed? It would have brought in the same amount of revenue as the fourth tier income tax. The fee would have brought in much needed money to deal with the law enforcement costs, court costs, jail costs, detox costs, rehab costs, domestic abuse costs, etc. that are generated from the over consumption of alcohol. If tobacco free environments are good for public health and the economy ---- discouraging the over consumption of alcohol is a hundred times better.

· Did you know that the Minnesota House of Representatives can bring up the Transportation bill during the first three days of the next session and attempt another override of the Governor’s veto? I hope they do and I hope that folks in districts with members who voted to uphold the veto get to work and put pressure on their Republican representatives. end

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