Anzelc introduces bill demanding IRRRB loan transparency

Rep. Tom Anzelc (DFL-Balsam Township) has officially introduced a bill demanding more transparency in the loans given by the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB) to private companies.

The IRRRB is the unique state agency that governs mining production taxes paid by iron mines in lieu of local property taxes. The agency’s economic development efforts over its 70 year history have had mixed results, producing both quantifiable job creation and large scale failures.

The IRRRB was heaped with bipartisan criticism over its early loans to the proposed Excelsior Energy coal gasification power plant project on the Range, a project that has failed to garner necessary permits, financing or purchase agreements and appears unlikely to do so. Rules shielding the use of those loan funds were tucked into a conference bill late in the 2008 session by Sen. Tom Bakk (DFL-Cook) and signed by Gov. Tim Pawlenty. Anzelc now seeks to repeal that language and require more openness in private expenditures of public money.

As the Duluth News Tribune story by Peter Passi shows, Anzelc has gained some support for his bills and might find more yet. However, he still needs a Senate sponsor and several Iron Range lawmakers remain cool to the concept.

Disclosure: Though I was not involved in drafting this bill Anzelc is a friend of mine and I have run his legislative campaigns.


  1. This effort by Tom is appreciated by all hard-working Rangers..

    Regardless of the outcome, we all deserve to get this money back from Micheletti, his wife and band of crooks.

  2. One of the few times I agree with Ranger.

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