State House to debate fate of Range economic fund this afternoon

While I’m preparing for tonight’s MPR “Economic Prospects for the Arrowhead” forum in Duluth tonight, the state House is debating the slashing of an Iron Range economic development fund in St. Paul at 3 p.m. You can follow the debate, which I expect to be colorful, here on the House web TV channel. This conversation could easily spill over into tonight’s talk, so there are a lot of moving parts to observe this fine day.


  1. On the Rukavina amendment Mellin sounded a bit valley girl but she made an excellent argument. I don’t think Dill has done so well. Telling the rest of the state how many great things the IRRRB has done for its constituents is going to be prone to make the rest of the state either irritated or envious as they don’t have the equivalent. Mellin hit the point straight on, that it is the equivalent of taking property tax. Doesn’t matter how much good or ill it does. It is the inappropriateness which is the point. Dill did hit it a bit at the end but it would have been more effective to leave off the stories about how wonderful the IRRRB is.

  2. Rukavina in the later debate did a good job on the property tax question but much of the rest was counter-productive. Yes, Rangers are hard working folk. So are farmers in southern and western Minnesota or lots of other folks. The tone was that Rangers are harder working than other Minnesotans and even if it were true it is a notion which will only irritate the people they need to convince.

    I watched over three hours of the debate and way too much time was spent on talk that actively worked against the intent of the speakers defending the Johnson fund.

  3. I was driving and didn’t get to hear the debate. What you describe is a not uncommon problem in Range rhetoric. Sometimes our people forget how to frame the argument for those off the Range or who hold different political values. I don’t know that even the most flawless argument would have won out in the situation yesterday. I think the cut was designed to affect future negotiations as much as become actual policy. We’ll see.

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