Two news items from across the state catch Bluestem's eye today. They're both instructive about what Republican control of the Minnesota legislature means.
At the Minneapolis Star Tribune, J. Patrick Coolican reports in With Republicans leading Legislature, allies ready to reap benefits:
Sometimes it’s money straight from state coffers. Other times it’s a tweak to a narrowly focused regulation. With Republicans in charge of the Minnesota Legislature, their allies are seeing priorities elevated at the Capitol.
Republicans are trying to use their state House and Senate majorities to re-engineer Minnesota government in a cheaper, leaner, more business-friendly direction. But they are also pushing for a host of policy changes — tax cuts and credits, subsidies and regulatory relief — that would benefit traditionally GOP-aligned sectors like insurance, energy, agribusiness, homebuilding and other industries.
In some cases, the help extends to a single company. Like a manufacturer in northwestern Minnesota, or a shrimp farm in the southwest. . . .
Read the article at the Star Tribune. In the Rochester Post Bulletin, Brian Todd reports in Lawmakers question spending priorities, at the dam in Lanesboro:
The environment, health care, and a dam in danger. All were connected Wednesday night as a handful of DFL representatives talked about where they differed on the legislative agenda with Republicans.
Reps. David Bly, DFL-Northfield, and Rick Hansen, DFL-South St. Paul, led a discussion with about 20 people who came to talk about the dam but turned to a wide range of issues.
Hansen began by discussing the environmental bill, focusing more on what is not in the bill than what is. For starters, he said, there is a lot less money in the bill for 2018. "The goal for this bill was to cut $94 million from existing spending," he said.
That means less service for both businesses and the public who are looking for answers, he said. "If you're going to call in to seek a permit, you want clear information that you can follow if you're on the business side," Hansen said. "If you're on the public side, you want clear information you can follow. That takes people."
Cutting $94 million from the environmental budget will affect staffing at places like the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, he said, meaning a slow down for businesses looking to get environmental permits. "The environmental review strengthens the end product, and that takes people," he said. "When you're cutting the budgets, you're actually going to be delaying the permits." . . .
Read the rest at the Post Bulletin, and ask yourself whether Representative Greg Davids, R-Preston understands the old political maxim, "If you're explaining, you ain't gaining."
Gaining? That would be for the GOP's allies reaping the benefits.
Photo: The DFL lawmakers at the press conference. Photo by Thomas Trehus, via Facebook.
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