- The state bailout of the Minneapolis Teacher’s Retirement Fund, which puts state taxpayers on the hook for $972 million in unfunded liabilities.
- A new $776 million Twins Stadium to be paid for with a Hennepin County sales tax increase (approved by state legislators with no voter referendum).
- $97.5 million for the Northstar Commuter Rail line.
- $34 million in subsidies to ethanol producers that have seen a 300 percent increase in profits in the last year.
- $30 million for bear exhibits at the Minnesota and Como Zoos.
- $12 million to renovate the Shubert Theater in downtown Minneapolis.
- $1 million for a replica Vikings ship in Moorhead.
- $500,000 for a skating rink in Roseville.
- $310,000 for a Shakespeare festival in Winona.
- $129,000 for state art grants for North Dakota museums and theaters.
Says Democratic Senator Klobuchar: "We have to get to the bottom of this."
Says Democratic Representative Oberstar: "[Bush] failed to support a robust investment in surface transportation."
Thanks, Senator Klobuchar and Rep. Oberstar, but it does seem we have gotten to the bottom of this, and it appears your state failed to support things that actually need state money, instead opting to spend millions of dollars on, amongst other things, a baseball stadium, corporate welfare, a seldom used railroad and a...viking ship.
The bottom line is, the states are ultimately responsible for their own transportation costs. The federal government does not have an obligation to help out, but they do, very generously (many would say too generously). The state of Minnesota does not lack its own revenue, by far, and chose to spend it on frivolous items rather than on their own transportation upgrades. Then, when they did get a half a billion dollars from the federal government, much of it was wasted on special projects, including the $48 million for nature trails.
But does that stop people like Klobuchar and Oberstar from blaming President Bush, the federal government and the war in Iraq?