In Rural-urban divide revealed in election, ECM publishers columnist Don Heinzman points out an awkward set of facts:
In outstate legislative contests, Republicans were successful in convincing voters that the rural DFLers sided with the urban DFL House leadership in passing legislation. They cited rural DFL legislators voting for funds to build a new senate office building and for light rail. Under the radar, they pointed out DFL legislators’ controversial vote in favor of same-sex marriage. . . .
In one of the outstate districts, Rep. Mary Sawatzky was defeated by businessman David Baker in Willmar. Willmar schools fared pretty well, receiving $341,000 in new state aid funds. That apparently wasn’t the message voters in her district heard.
Where did those funds come from? According to the data, the metropolitan area in 2013 contributed 73 percent of the state’s GDP (gross domestic product).
As for the metro area’s seven counties, according to a House Research publication updated in June, the area paid 64 percent of the state taxes and received 53 percent of total aids and credits.
At the same time, the 80 non-metro counties paid 36 percent of the major state taxes and received 47 percent of aids and credits.
This should not be a surprise, but the numbers indicate that outstate cities and school districts are in fact being subsidized partly by metro taxpayers.
Photo: Mary Sawatzky, who brought money home for local schools. Via Facebook.
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