Minnesota's “Fertile Crescent” and Bonding Fairness

Suburbs, including wealthy west, want more state bonding money


Lawmakers like to joke that there’s a “Fertile Crescent” in Minnesota, starting in Bloomington and working up through wealthy western Twin Cities suburbs such as Edina, Eden Prairie, Minnetonka, Plymouth and Maple Grove. Those cities are home to some of the state’s largest companies and wealthiest individuals that pump most of the income and sales taxes that fill the state’s coffers. However, legislators all around the suburban ring say they don’t get much back from the state when the bonding bill is debated. “The general feeling is that the suburbs are rich, especially the western suburbs, so we aren’t going to give them any more than we have to,” Rep. Ron Erhardt, DFL-Edina, said. For all lawmakers, bonding projects are a way to bring jobs and development directly to their districts. In election years, ribbon-cutting ceremonies for major construction projects can be even more important, especially in the politically volatile ‘burbs, which often swing back and forth with national political winds.
The Problem:

... roughly a quarter of the total House bonding bill — $213 million of $850 million — is spending for the suburbs. In comparison, 64 percent of state's tax base and 66 percent of its income tax revenue comes from the seven-county metro area (including Minneapolis and St. Paul), according to the state Revenue Department.
Comments: The City of Plymouth itself gets no funds from the state (I forgot what those funds are called). I don't care about the SouthWest light rail line (let 'em take a bus!). But I would like to see I-494 expanded with an additional lane through Plymouth.

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