FFM Bulletin 9/13/11

Another Minnesota first, and one we're not proud of

Students and taxpayers in Lanesboro could be venturing into an entirely new market-- supermarket, that is.

 A relationship between community based Lanesboro Grocery LLC and Lanesboro Public Schools is being discussed, which may include a taxpayer contribution for as much as $430,000.

While a select few cities have ventured into the grocery store business, Lanesboro holds the dubious distinction of being the first school district to embark on such an enterprise.

Lanesboro School Superintendent Jeff Boggs told the Rochester Post-Bulletin that the grocery store could be used for “hands-on educational opportunities,” including businesses, marketing, and management classes.

Preferably, Lanesboro school district leaders would certainly benefit from taking a refresher course on some of the disastrous taxpayer-funded enterprises in local communities across the state, including municipal golf courses, liquor stores, and telecom networks.

Daycare providers continue fight against unionization

As union representatives continue their push to unionize nearly 12,000 home based daycare providers in the state, some providers are pushing back.

FFM previously reported on providers across the state coming out against the controversial operation being pushed door-to-door by AFSCME and SEIU.

Remarkably, even if the majority of providers around the state are against a union, it may become a law at the stroke of the governor’s pen via an executive order. But without a definite timeline on when or if the governor will act on proposal, daycare providers have more questions than answers.

Visit our website for the latest developments on this issue.

State budget to blame for school referendums?

FFM’s Jonathan Blake’s latest post in the Star Tribune “Your Voices” blog observed that of the 130+ school districts across the state seeking operating levies this year, many are blaming payment shifts and a lack of adequate state funding. But with a budget that increased education-spending form the last biennium, is the state budget really the catalyst in turning to the taxpayers?

From Jonathan Blake:

  • "If districts are truly seeking tax increases at least in part because of the new state budget, then those districts also possess the extraordinary power to see into the future, because the majority of them were planning their referendums long before the current state budget was finalized, and in many cases had even decided on the exact request."
Visit Jonathan’s page on startribune.com to read the entire piece, and be sure to subscribe to the blog via RSS.

MN State News: New $1.25 billion rail comes online as competition for transit funding increases 

The Federal Transit Authority (FTA) recently granted the Metropolitan Council approval to start preliminary engineering on the Southwest Corridor light-rail project. According to Met Council communications director Meredith Salsbery, this approval "represents a significant step towards winning federal matching funds and building the 15-mile LRT line between downtown Minneapolis and Eden Prairie."

The line, which proponents believe will encourage economic development and increased transit ridership, would run through Eden Prairie, Minnetonka, Hopkins, St. Louis Park and South Minneapolis. Southwest would have 17 new stations, and connect with the three other rail lines (Hiawatha, Northstar, and Central) at a future Target Field transit hub.

Read the entire story on mnstatenews.com.

Short Takes

The Star Tribune recently “staked out” the four infamous artistic drinking fountains in downtown Minneapolis that cost taxpayers nearly $50,000 a piece in the name of city water promotion.  Some residents, as reported, didn’t even know they were water fountains. Of those who did know, the reviews were mixed at best: "It doesn't taste the greatest but it's wet," said one passerby.
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After three failed motions, the Austin, MN City Council turned to taxpayers for a 13 percent tax levy increase in 2012.  City officials previously addressed the need to increase revenue or cut spending. Unfortunately for Austin taxpayers, the council chose the former saying the city was already “tapped out,” blaming funding lost from the state due to Local Government Aid payments being frozen at 2010 levels.
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recent poll from the Minnetonka-area Lakeshore Weekly News showed that over 70% of readers support the Lake Minnetonka Communications Commission’s (LMCC) decision to halt the costly project.


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