With the U.S. House opening debate Wednesday evening on the St. Croix River crossing, Minnesota Democrat Betty McCollum made a stab at the sweet spot of the Republican backers of the proposed bridge:
It could raise taxes.
As an outspoken opponent of a project that enjoys broad bipartisan support among Minnesota and Wisconsin elected officials, McCollum fired off a “dear colleague” letter this afternoon noting the objections of the Oak Park Heights City Council, which recently passed a resolution expressing concerns about a possible $443 annual property tax increase for city homeowners and businesses to cover utility improvements connected to the bridge.
“What you may not know,” McCollum wrote, “is that S. 1134’s federal mandate to build a $700 million ‘extradosed’ mega-bridge will raise property taxes on Oak Park Heights, MN families and businesses – $443 per year for the next 10 years!”
Bridge backers dismiss the city’s concern, but the issue has yet to be resolved to Oak Park Heights’ satisfaction.
The Senate passed legislation last month granting the project an exemption from the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. The House, where Minnesota Republican Michele Bachmann has carried the project, is scheduled to vote on Thursday.
Rep. John Kline, Republican serving his final year in Congress after 14 years, criticized the Obama Administration's handling of foreign military crises, elaborated on his recent presidential endorsement of Sen. Marco Rubio and visibly worried over the state of the Minnesota Republican Party and its chances of retaining his seat in the Republican fold.
The House GOP campaign committee said Thursday they are launching a TV ad against DFL candidate Andrew Carlson, as he runs in the special election to replace former Rep. Ann Lenczewski, the longtime DFL lawmaker who retired last year.