A reminder on why you can never sleep on the Met Council's efforts to undermine democracy.
Met Council Chair Adam Duininck declared in July 2015 (PDF) that "The Metropolitan Council will not commit the 10% state share for the [Southwest Light Rail Transit] project without support from the Legislature." (See screenshot below.) In other words, he agrees the state needs to authorize paying for the state portion of the transit project.
Yet now Duininck seems to be threatening to renege on that commitment, stating "we are talking with our project partners, including the cities, CTIB and Hennepin County, on any possible ways to fill the remaining gap [to fund SWLRT]."
Which is it, Adam? Do you and the Governor intend to abide by basic principles of democracy in this country, or do you intend to try a bogus end-around on the process?
The July 2015 exchange points to one way the Met Council might try to do this. In essence, the Council would auction off the Motor Vehicle Sales Tax money it receives, bundle up that cash and use it to pay for its pet project, all without any approval from anyone. Specifically, Duininck and gang would have the Met Council issue "Certificates of Participation" as a way to raise the cash that the Council can then use however it wants - in this case to pay for the state's part of Southwest Light Rail.
It seems almost certain that this type of bogus scheme is being conjured up by the Met Council and Governor Dayton as part of negotiations for a special session that would ram through funding for the controversial SWLRT.
Are we going to let the Met Council - 100% appointed by Governor Dayton - go nuclear and drop this Adam Bomb on the democratic process?
Let your legislators and Governor Dayton know that this will not stand, and that this is just one more indication as to why the Met Council needs fundamental reform on all levels. And what we definitely do NOT need is to give unelected, scheming officials another $280M a year in tax funds to use however they would like.
I had a chance to talk with Mike Max on WCCO Radio today about Start Reading Now. It's a short 10 minute interview, but it hits on all the key aspects of how we address summer setback and closing the achievement gap.
Tonight was the 3rd Annual Edina Aviation Impact Forum, pulled together by Connie Carrino on the MSP FairSkies team. We had a great turnout from citizens, politicians and staff from the airport authority. Our presentation from tonight is below, and you can watch the video here.
Apparently our unelected masters at the Met Council think they need even LESS oversight from the legislature than they receive today. Yes, that's the essence of the proposal to break the deadlock at the legislature over the $135M the Met Council wants for its absurdly overpriced SW Light Rail line (which by the way continues to be embroiled in legal controversy).
From today's Star Tribune:
First, the DFL's proposal is the once again centered around a new tax, namely a new 1/ 2 cent sales tax that would push the standard sales tax in both Minneapolis and St Paul over 8%.
Secondly, that tax would raise $280M a year, forever. That's right - in order to pay for the initial $135M to complete the SWLRT, we need to commit to $2.8 billion in new taxes over the next 10 years.
But the real kicker is that the Met Council's Chair, Adam "Duininck said his pitch to skeptical lawmakers is that the $280 million per year would allow Metro Transit (i.e. the unelected, unaccountable Met Council) to untether itself from state government to the tune of $50 million per year it currently receives from the general fund."
That's right. His pitch is that further freeing the Met Council from pesky legislative meddling is a reason why the opposition should approve another tax increase.
We can only hope nobody on the "right" side of the aisle is insane enough to buy into that argument.
Meanwhile in Finland, they appear to be hard at work trying to implement a rather radical change in how anti-poverty programs are administered, with a Universal Basic Income for all citizens. The monthly stipend of about $900 would be in lieu of all other social support services, and looks to be an attempt to make real a suggestion from Milton Friedman. This City Journal article is a nice overview of the matter. A Finnish business school buddy of mine from my time at the Stockholm School of Economics notes that the left is now having some second thoughts about this, so we'll see what happens. Of course, a huge reason to do this is to get rid of the inefficient government administration of anti-poverty programs, and put some responsibility back on to the people. Perhaps not by coincidence, given the current refugee crisis in Europe, the stipend would only be available to citizens.
Sure, e-books have a place in the world. I just prefer real ones, in order to make the job a bit harder for any real life Winston Smith who might be out there.