One of the first casualties of one-party rule, as in the 8th CD, is accountability and moderation. Notwithstanding the unscheduled departure of Jim Oberstar, the 8th CD is an artifact of decades of single party dominance.
When the same party dominates for decades (whether it’s Republicans in Idaho or Arrowhead DFLers), Special interests get a solid lock. The dominant party gets less responsive, campaigns less and drifts further toward their preferred ideology. This shows up statistically.
While the Minnesota Arrowhead has less than one twentieth of the state’s population, it has a full fifth of the state’s extremist DFL legislators. Anzelc, Bakk, Dill, Gauthier, Huntley, Melin, Saxhaug and Tomassoni all voted against fiscal prudence on every bill where the taxpayer’s money was at stake in 2012—every single bill.
This means that these eight DFL legislators voted against paying back the schools (with the 2012 surplus) for money that had been borrowed to balance the 2011 biennial budget (HF2083/SF2492). They voted against a job creation bill that provided business tax relief and target homeowner tax relief (HF 2337/SF1972). They voted against a bill that would have provided a tax credit for hiring veterans and a freeze on property tax levies for job creators (HF247/SF872).
These Arrowhead Senate DFLers voted for a poorly designed stadium bill that puts the taxpayers on the hook for over a half billion dollars while funneling $2.7 million to the City of St. Paul for 20 years. The same bill also increased taxes on charitable gambling (SF2391) The House version of the bill for which these DFL legislators voted put the public on the hook for $443 million (HF1485). The final bill was no better than the House and Senate versions; it ends up being the biggest public works project in Minnesota history (HF1752/SF2469). It’s a sports stadium; in the middle of a national debt crisis—so much for crumbling infrastructure.
Democrats love spending tax money so it should come as no surprise that every single one of these eight Arrowhead DFL legislators voted to spend $566 million—mostly on wants while many needs will have to wait (HF1752/SF1463). This bill contains lots and lots of money for Metro light rail that few Arrowhead residents will ever ride.
These DFL legislators also voted for a pork-laden Legacy Bill and an Arts and Entertainment bill that gives $600,000 to subsidize film production in Minnesota (HF2430/SF2493).
This DFL crew isn’t representing working rural taxpayers. Nor are they providing any solutions to population and income declines. Only after GOP Representative Chip Cravaack provided aggressive and high-profile open support for copper mining did the DFL crew finally start paying lip service to nonferrous mining. During the 2008 race, Polymet had already been waiting four years for mining permits. Not a single DFL candidate campaigned on making copper mining a reality.
The stench of over-ripe partisan incumbency is waffling through the Arrowhead. Since the DFLers aren’t doing the job, we are simply going to have to let them go.