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.
Gov. Mark Dayton, speaking to a mostly Republican audience at the annual Minnesota Business Partnership dinner, repeated his familiar attack on the House GOP, blaming them for a legislative impasse on transportation.
It takes a certain sort of magic for a presidential debate to shift a race, it seems, some weird alchemy combining ingredients like viewership and mistakes and perceptions and medium. It's almost never about policy.