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.

Monday, August 20, 2007

WORKING ON INFRASTRUCTURE

Communications from Governor Tim Pawlenty’s office since August 1 have indicated specific issues he prefers to be covered in a special session of the legislature. He wants to control it so the legislature comes together, accomplishes the task at hand and adjourns. No one can fault the governor for this kind of tactic. He has listed some of the ways he would like to see improvements made in the area of transportation. He has indicated that a small increase in the gas tax might be appropriate. At one point, he said to the Almanc TV audience “everything is on the table”.
It would only be prudent for a special session to include a major funding package to help counties, cities, and townships that have suffered millions of dollars of loss in infrastructure as a result of the flooding over this past weekend. This would certainly mean a gas tax increase – but it must be much more because of other types of infrastructure affected. Cities will need help with storm sewers, water treatment, utility lines like water, gas, electricity, telephone, internet – the whole ball of wax!
We need a disaster fund set aside on the state level so that we can have quick action getting communities back to a semblance of normal. It might be Brown’s Valley, it might be Southeast Minnesota, it might be a bridge collapsing, or a forest fire. It could be a tornado in St. Peter or Chandler or Le Sueur County. We have continual needs that must be met if we are going to be a “state that works.” The state used to have “rainy day funds”. Of course, these dollars don’t appear out of the blue. Taxes fund rainy day funds and every other need that governments are faced with. Maybe the time is right for the state to set aside money for emergencies. If we ever needed a rainy day fund, it is a day like this when the rain is still coming down. end

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