The sudden tempest over state funding for arts and cultural heritage groups continues.
House Republicans on Wednesday defended their move to strip away specific Legacy money allocations to arts and cultural groups – such as Minnesota Public Radio and the Minnesota Zoo – and said those groups should not expect to automatically get money every year.
“The most disappointing thing I’ve heard in this process is people feeling that it now becomes money that they’re going to count on year in and year out,” said Rep. Duane Quam, R-Byron. “[These groups believe], ‘We got $3 million last year. So, we want $5 million this year.’
“This [money] is for new possibilities, and for better things and a better Minnesota,” said Quam.
Quam’s comments came as the House Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Policy and Finance panel debated this year’s Legacy legislation, which uses state sales tax money to fund outdoors, clean water, parks and trails and arts and cultural heritage projects.
Although most organizations have to compete for Legacy money, several high-profile arts and cultural heritage groups had been given separate, direct appropriations. Over the next two years, public television was being recommended to get $7.8 million and an assortment of minority groups, including the Council on Black Minnesotans, were to share $1 million.
But Republicans, who hold new majorities in the House and Senate, suddenly changed the legislation on Tuesday, saying there would be no special appropriations and that almost all groups would now have to compete for Legacy dollars. DFLers said the change came because Republicans did not have enough votes to pass a bill that for example included money for MPR, an organization that some Republicans see as having a liberal bias.
“Funding last year for [the] last cycle did not necessarily guarantee funding for this cycle,” said Rep. Paul Torkelson, R-Nelson Township, in explaining the change. “Setting up a competitive grant program really puts people to the test, frankly.
“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that,” he added.
More from Star Tribune
More from Hot Dish Politics
A DFL challenger in a key legislative race faces the prospect of a campaign finance violation hearing just a month before the November election.
Gov. Mark Dayton continued his push for clean water Tuesday at the State Fair by calling Minnesotans to take a "stewardship pledge" as part of the state's "Year of Water Action."
GOP poll: Paulsen ahead of Bonoff, lots of undecided voters
Amid reports that Donald Trump was in danger of not getting on Minnesota's presidential ballot, the Trump campaign says everything is in order and voters will have a chance to cast their ballot for him in November.
The Minnesota Jobs Coalition, a Republican allied political group, has alleged violations of campaign-finance law by a DFL House candidate and a former DFL state legislator.
Recommended For You
The extra funds are part of a last-minute funding patch intended to keep the controversial $1.9 billion project afloat.
Here's a quick look at the Vikings’ quarterback situation, under the assumption — and it is only an assumption — that Bridgewater is out of action for a while.
There's no scientific consensus on the pathology of this activity, or of Weiner's manifestation specifically.
The Twins proceeded to go backward after Brian Dozier belted the first pitch of Tuesday's game into the seats.
Bridgewater's knee injury short-circuits promising season