The Free Press, Mankato, MN


July 7, 2013

Join interests to gain power

WHY IT MATTERS: While other parts of the state receive the largesse of the Legislature, our region continues to lose out due to lack of collaboration


But, Sheran said, that was the result of “persuading the House leadership group that worked within their caucus to make change.” The resulting LGA formula was “not as beneficial to rural Minnesota as we would like it but it was essential to all parties agreed to get the votes on property tax relief.”

And there’s the rub and the challenge. None of the area Republicans voted for the projects and instead following their leadership who objected to the size of the bonding bill and arguing this wasn’t a bonding year. That doesn’t mean all regions were cut out of some largesse from the state capital.

Rochester received $455 million in state funds towards the Mayo Clinic’s growth plan. Legislators gave special focus to the Iron Range, which was allowed to increase the per-ton tax on taconite iron ore to help rebuild and retool schools in the region; and the metro area which received the bulk of this year’s bonding funds.

Without a doubt, coalitions of common regional interest are powerful and useful in the Legislature and are a big challenge for South Central Minnesota.

Local legislators — together and regardless of party affiliation — should be able to provide a convincing argument of the need for the region and convince their caucus leaders that our region is no less important than others.

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