Norm Coleman from an MPR photo
by Steve Timmer
Oct 6, 2014, 12:00 PM

Send in the lizards, part 2

(I am so inspired by the graphics work of the Minnesota Action Network that I decided to emulate it.)

Update: According to our correspondent in 12A, now even the car dealers are getting into the act. They sent out a hit lit piece on Rep. Jay McNamar, too. I suspect that the car dealers are worried about a decrease in demand for their iron that an increase in the gas tax might bring. All of the people whining about roads and bridges are the ones least likely to bring you an actual solution.

In the original Send in the lizards story, we were introduced to the Minnesota Action Network, the gang of poo-flinging lizards who are becoming increasingly famous for their poor photoshop skills and ignorance about the financing of Minnesota’s government. Norm Coleman is the chief lizard.

I noticed this bunch first when I received a piece of hit lit on my Representative, Ron Erhardt, accusing him of neglecting roads and bridges in Minnesota. Rep. Erhardt is, as most of you know, the Chair of the Transportation Policy Committee in the Minnesota House. He’s been Mr. Transportation in the House for a long time. The thrust of the piece was puerile and stupid.

But the lizards have been flinging poo all over the state. Here’s a, um, piece from District 12A, sent by a reader. It excoriates Rep. Jay McNamar for voting for a bonding bill that included the new Senate office building, a place where Jay won’t have an office.

Minnesota Action Network District 12A hit lit by Steve Timmer

The bonding bill was decided at the last minute! the piece wails. Bonding bills are always about the last item to be passed in any legislative session, regardless of who is in charge. And they require a supermajority, which means bipartisan support.

Neglecting roads, bridges, and now schools, too, is a theme that runs through MAN’s lit. Let’s deconstruct that just a bit.

The principal source of money for roads and bridges comes from the transportation trust fund, funded by the gas tax, not the general revenues of the state. Most Republicans can’t say “gas tax,” because it makes their tongues stick to the roof of their mouths. Well, that, and the fact that if they are currently in office they’ll get a tea party primary challenge next cycle. Ron Erhardt’s challenger, Dario Anselmo, certainly can’t say gas tax.

Schools are built and refurbished by local property tax levies and bond referenda, proposed by school boards, not the Legislature. These proposals are often opposed by conservatives, such as the 281 Care Committee, which recently won the right to lie about these things in, you guessed it, hit lit.

Should we go for the trifecta, friends?

The new Senate office building that is being built is not a Taj Mahal. I objected to the building because it’s curtain wall concrete, not stone. It looks like it belongs in a suburban office park, not on the campus of the Capitol. But since it is bonded at low interest rates and will provide employment — many more jobs than MAN’s sidekick, the Minnesota Job Coalition ever will, by the way — and not to mention that the space is needed, it is sensible to build it now.

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