Barb Goodwin: I Held My Nose on Vikings Stadium 'Yes' Vote
"Hardest vote I hope I ever have to take" says MN state senator representing parts of Fridley.
State Sen. Barb Goodwin (DFL-50) sent this letter to the editor Thursday morning:
The 2012 session ended without an attempt from House or Senate leadership to develop a plan for paying back the over $2 billion we borrowed from our schools and without working to prevent another big budget shortfall we know will happen again in the 2013 session.
Once again, social issues and the stadium dominated the session. Especially concerning were the continued attacks on working people of many trades and professions. Two attempts were made to get our governor to sign a tax bill that would have given big business tax breaks and end up creating higher property taxes for homeowners, both of which were vetoed by the governor.
Much of our time—those who support the middle class and working people – was spent attempting to stop bills that hurt working families and defending teachers and nurses from endless attacks. We worked to help lay the groundwork for a gubernatorial veto. Hardly a working family would have been untouched by these bills.
Governor Dayton vetoed bills such as the “shoot first” bill that was strongly opposed by law enforcement and would have made Minnesota the weakest state in gun safety—even less safe than Florida, Texas, and Georgia with their lax gun safety records. Through this vetoed legislation, anyone could use deadly force if they “believed” their life was threatened and it would have caused Minnesotans to be less safe.
Firefighters, police and the medical profession also opposed a bill to allow Minnesotans to shoot highly dangerous fireworks. Also, restaurant wait staff would have had their wages reduced by their tips had the “tip credit” bill made it through.
Democrats were able to offer up the majority of votes to pass the state bonding bill, which will put thousands of people back to work on public projects while interest rates are low. After two years of the stadium dominating the legislature and the media, the Wilf family became worth many millions more—to be paid off by gamblers and taxpayers in Minnesota over the next 30 years. The vote I made in favor of the stadium was the hardest vote I hope I ever have to take. The district poll I conducted just before the vote found 54% in favor and 46% against, with over a 50% response rate, so I voted with the majority. I did support the thousands of jobs the stadium will create for the highly unemployed building trades and I supported several amendments to improve the funding structure (most of which failed), but really held my nose on that vote.
I authored a Safe Routes to School program that did pass and was supported by many groups such as the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association. The program will provide infrastructure improvements so that kids have safer alternatives to walking and biking on dangerous roads to school.
I am hopeful for better leadership in the next biennium; leadership that will stay out of people’s private lives and get on with the real work of the state so Minnesota can move forward. If you have any questions on any issue do not hesitate to contact my office.