Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Preservation and Priorities

Since I have not attended my local chamber of commerce's events for several months I decided to attend today because Minnesota's Secretary of State, Mark Ritchie, was the guest speaker. If readers don't know the secretary of state ( is responsible for primarily two things - 1.) registration of companies doing business in the state, and 2.) serving as the chief elections officer. The secretary of state also sits on the state council which determines where Minnesota's "$59 billion in investments.........." are allocated.

What struck me in Secretary Ritchie's speech today was the concern he stated that our marble (one of only four in the nation apparently) state capitol dome is leaking. Secretary Ritchie was opposed to the current plan to issue bonds to pay for the repairs versus simply allocating the funds today. Wait a minute Mr. Ritchie -- I agree with you that we should maintain our capitol but past governors and legislators should have taken care of this problem years ago INSTEAD of building the State Office Building to supply legislators with offices and the new judicial branch building. Traditionalists (and fiscal conservatives) like me want to see the "good old days" when everyone worked in the state capitol not in satellite buildings like we have today.

A very simple solution would be for the State of Minnesota to sell the State Office Building to a private developer and use the proceeds to move everyone back into capitol offices AFTER the marble dome repairs are completed. The property taxes that would be paid by a private entity owning the State Office Building would be a welcome revenue injection for the City of St. Paul and Ramsey County (the "host" of the state capitol complex which is exempt from paying property taxes of course).

Before you go spending more of our tax money let's divest some state assets first.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Repairing the dome is a capital expense. Bonding is appropriate.

Sell the SOB? Ahem, State Office Building? I don't think so. Sure, I'd love to see our state government shrink in size, dramatically. But it's not realistic to think that all the legislators, plus staff, can fit into the capitol building.