Sparks fly in House committee over anti-Range budget bill

It would appear that the Jobs and Economic Development committee meeting yesterday became a bit heated. Katy Meeks penned a story for the Range dailies (subscription only for full text). GOP leaders introduced their proposal to raid $60 million from an IRRRB economic development fund as part of $87 million in total cuts. I wrote about this Monday, explaining how this money is equivalent to local Iron Range property tax revenue. I hadn’t realized that nearly three quarters of the cuts for the whole state in this proposal would come directly from this local Range revenue.

This is outrageous enough, particularly as even Republican committee chair Rep. Bob Gunther (R-Fairmont) described the proposal as unfair, according to Meeks’ story. That admission only goes to show that this particular bill is an act of political theater designed to disrupt the DFL base without proposing actual permanent cuts that would anger moderates.

If you have a subscription, read the story. Otherwise wait to see what actually emerges from committee. I have a feeling they’re going to send this all the way through simply to force a veto and negotiations with Gov. Dayton. To a degree that’s the game every session, no matter who’s in the majority. But when the proposals are demonstrably unfair even to majority leadership, wow. This portends a deeply unpleasant April and May in St. Paul, and an anxious one here on the Iron Range.

UPDATE: MPR has a story exploring several GOP budget proposals that includes a section on the $60 million in Range revenue and a quote from Gunther.


  1. I’m not an expert on the IRRRB but it certainly seems like a bad proposal. But it also looks like a proposal that has zero chance of being enacted given the Republican criticism it is drawing.

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