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Expanding the kingdom of government (07/10/2013)
From: State Rep.

Steve Drazkowski

Remember at the beginning of this legislative session, when kudos were given to legislative Democratic leadership for changing Minnesota House rules to provide more efficient, clear lawmaking?

It was hailed as a victory for Minnesotans because, allegedly, it would end the legislative shenanigans that often occur when bills are making their way to the House floor. There would be more transparency for the public. The days of last minute, self-serving, head scratching proposals becoming law would be over because lawmakers would have ample time to review legislation and be fully briefed on a bill before casting a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ vote.

Maybe you were then as surprised as I was when it came to light that buried within the Democrats’ $2.1 billion tax increase bill is a provision containing lease-purchase financing to construct a $90 million legislative Taj Mahal for the Minnesota Senate.

Quoting the article published recently by the St. Paul Pioneer Press:

“With little public debate, the Legislature included language authorizing the project as a small provision in a controversial, 379-page tax bill that passed in the final minutes of the last night of the legislative session May 20. DFLers and Republicans argued for hours over the income and cigarette tax increases in the bill, but almost nothing was said about the proposed new building.

Legislative leaders said they didn’t try to sneak it through. Instead, it was an idea that emerged late in the session, and state officials found a way to pay for it without lawmakers knowing how much it would cost or having to vote for the money to pay for it.”

So much for transparency.

Yet another wasteful spending provision tucked into a bill in the dark of night when no one is watching. Keep in mind: nearly half of the senators already have offices in the State Office Building across the street from the Capitol.

Before long, the Minnesota Senate will have a nice new office to use on the State Capitol grounds, one where Senate Majority Leader Bakken visions “a glass front with a beautiful view of the Capitol. I hope it’s something people will marvel at 100 years from now.”

Unfortunately, current and future hardworking Minnesotans are going to be on the hook for this $90 million proposal, added by Democrats at the last minute in order to further expand the kingdom of government.

Please let me know what you think. You can write me at 289 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, St. Paul, Minn., 55155. You may call me at 651-296-2273 or e-mail me at rep.steve.drazkowski@house.mn. To sign up for my email updates, please visit www.house.mn/21B and click on “Email Updates.”



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