The Tooth Fairy (
by Steve Timmer
Apr 2, 2017, 10:30 AM

“People don’t care one iota”

The Minnesota House of Representatives passed a transportation bill:

The Minnesota House on Friday approved a $2.2 billion transportation plan that would boost state spending on roads and bridges and likely force cuts to public transit.

Here’s what the bill’s chief author, Rep. Paul Torkelson, R-Hanska, said about the it; the bill contemplates spending $6 billion in the next decade:

“I don’t think the contractors [who build roads] or the people who drive on these roads care one iota about where the dollars come from,” he said. “They want the dollars to be there. Let’s get to our road projects and get them built.”

Ah, Tooth Fairy Torkelson. You will note that the Tooth Fairy’s plans bets two thirds of the money for the plan on the come. It’s general fund money, too, not dedicated transportation funds.

What happens, Tooth, when the worm turns on the economy and income and sales tax collections that feed the general fund are down? And in eight years, it is guaranteed to happen somewhere along the line.

A couple of things could happen. Projects in the pipeline don’t get built, or don’t get finished. Or more likely, funds from health and human services and education are robbed to find the money.

When that happens, I suspect many iotas will be cared by school administrators starved for cash and the parents of children who attend the schools, by nursing home administrators, especially the rural ones, and rural hospitals, too, as well as the county commissioners who are responsible for them.

This could be a real doomsday scenario if President Trump and the Congressional Republicans succeed in cutting Medicaid money to the states, as the so-far ill-fated Trumpcare would have. The state would have to try to make up the difference, or turn Grandma out in the snow.

I don’t know how much Brown County relies on health and human services money and education money to keep its nursing homes, hospitals, and schools open, but I’ll bet it ain’t chump change.

Torkelson’s bill is a short sighted, foolish, dumb shit idea.

And we haven’t even talked about the cuts to transit yet.

Transportation capital projects require dedicated, stable funds. But Republicans hate gas taxes, even though they are reliable money raisers, and they are user fees that Republicans speak so lovingly of.

And my Edina peeps: how did Hi Ho the Dario vote? The man who cast himself as a moderate in the mold of Ron Erhardt? Don’t make me laugh.

Thanks for your feedback. If we like what you have to say, it may appear in a future post of reader reactions.