Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Linda Runbeck: Grifter Princess

There was a hearing on LGA (local government aid) in a House committee that Aaron posted about earlier. Mostly, the hearing seemed about cutting LGA to Minneapolis and St. Paul, and Duluth, too.

The chair of the committee, the ideologue Linda Runbeck (R - Circle Pines) said these cuts were necessary because of a "dependency" on state aid that needed to be fixed. Cut the junkies off!

Just a wild guess here, but I'll bet there are a lot more van pools of people coming from Circle Pines to Minneapolis to work than the converse. It isn't a wild guess, actually; you know it's true, boys and girls. People earning money in Minneapolis or St. Paul, enabling them to buy houses in Circle Pines and pay property taxes there.

(There is a dependency, all right, but it runs the other way. Cites -- in Minnesota and elsewhere -- are the economic engines of their states. Heck, the Twin Cities are the economic engine of western Wisconsin, too.)

The cops, paramedics, and the firefighters will all show up to assist these out of towners if they get into trouble. They drive city streets and use the city like any resident while they are there. But really, they're kind of grifters.

That is just part of what LGA is about.

Last Thursday at Drinking Liberally, Mayors Coleman and Rybak both made a good case for LGA, not only for their cities, but for cities around the state. I wish I had a video tape to show their remarks to you.

In the course of the evening, Mayor Coleman said one thing that many of us found flat-out amazing.

The state does not pay anything to the City of St. Paul for police or fire protection for state-owned buildings. Now, there are usually a couple of state patrol officers lounging around the Capitol, and Tony Up against the wall, Little Billy Cornish is there packing heat, but if there is a real law enforcement problem, it's the St. Paul cops that have to respond.

Same thing with fire calls. And if Dave Senjem keels over on the Senate floor, it won't be paramedics from Rochester who haul him off.

You would think, wouldn't you, that at least state legislators -- sitting in St. Paul -- would understand the symbiotic relationship we all have with our large cities?

But not, apparently, if you're the Grifter Princess.

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