Our Opinion: Need for a fix

Published 6:30 am Saturday, October 17, 2020

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On Thursday, the last major piece of business by the Minnesota Legislature was finally completed.

After the Minnesota House passed it earlier in the week during yet another special session, the Senate gave the nod to a $1.9 billion public works construction package Thursday.

The bonding bill is going to the governor.

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This is the step many have been waiting for as now money will be able to go toward infrastructure needs throughout the state, including Austin’s own waste water treatment plant, which needs upgrades to modernize the installation and meet regulations from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. As we speak the price tag for those upgrades is nearly $80 million.

On top of this, the bill includes a tax break for new equipment purchases with an aim at small businesses and farmers, something Republicans have long been pushing for.

While we maintain that the passage of the bill is long awaited and a boon for Minnesotans, we also wonder why it became this much of a fight.

Find the answer in partisan politics.

Squabbling and bickering among Republicans and Democrats has mirrored the effortless futility demonstrated by its national brethren in Washington, DC; however, for the state, those that are paying for it are the cities and communities of Minnesota and those that live there.

This bonding bill, arguably the most important of any given session, faced a very real possibility of not passing because of a refusal to work across the aisle.

Several times, the Minnesota House has attempted to pass a bonding bill this year that has now stretched through several special sessions.

Ultimately, we can celebrate that the two sides finally came together, but after a struggle that included these key phrases: “The Republicans want” and “The Democrats want.”

So what do citizens want? A government that gets things done without it turning into a three-ring circus.

One could really dive into the Xs and Os of the thing, including the side postering of getting this, that or the other thing, including trying to get Gov. Tim Walz to give up his emergency powers during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. But the central point is nothing is getting accomplished without a slog through the mire.

Passing legislation is never easy, but in the current state of politics it can be darn near impossible at times and that could cost Minnesotans in the future.

Let’s all feel good about the passage of the bill, but let’s also remember how it got to this point.