Editorial Roundup: Minnesota

Minneapolis Star Tribune. March 20, 2023.

Editorial: He’s right. And it’s much harder to fight back when the officials you elected to protect you don’t have your back.

Gov. Tim Walz pushes for public safety and more in revised budget Revised budget plan’s most critical investment might be in addressing crime statewide.

Local law enforcement agencies across Minnesota could get a too-long-delayed infusion of state funds that is desperately needed to hire more and better police officers and sheriff’s deputies, to update equipment and to implement crime intervention strategies.

That money, $550 million, would come via Gov. Tim Walz’s revised budget. It’s a significant and welcome increase over last year’s proposal of $300 million, which was rejected by Senate Republicans. The GOP no longer controls the Senate, and Walz now says that he is more determined than ever to get the public safety funding that local officials have been pleading for.

“We’re going to do more, not less,” Walz told an editorial writer. “Minnesotans have a right to expect a high level of public safety, and we are going to meet that.”

The needless delay has already cost this state, with more crime, more victims, fewer community resources and fewer police to deal with it all. The Legislature, now controlled by Walz’s DFL, should not hesitate to pass that piece of his budget. Both sides should acknowledge that doing public safety the right way — building from the community up rather than the top down — will take a meaningful investment of funds.

Crime numbers are starting to improve, Walz said, “but getting this money closer to home, to the people who know what is needed, could provide an even more dramatic difference. I’ve talked to locals, and they have really solid plans on how to be creative about new hires, about intervention strategies that will make their communities safer. We need to move these funds to where they are needed and quickly.”

The same, he said, goes for the infrastructure bill that Senate Republicans managed to scuttle in this session because bonding bills require a 60% supermajority. They attempted to use that bill as leverage for their proposal to return the bulk of the state’s projected surplus for tax cuts.

Notably, House Republicans, under Minority Leader Lisa Demuth’s leadership, worked with DFLers to help shape and pass a bonding bill. The Senate GOP would do well to follow that example rather than attempting once again to block legislation that funds road and bridge repairs, water treatment and needed projects in communities across the state, including many in predominantly Republican districts.

Walz predicted the bonding bill would pass in May. “Communities all over Minnesota need money to fix potholes after a brutal winter and make other infrastructure improvements,” he said. “After two years without a bonding bill, cities are screaming for that money, and you are going to start seeing pressure applied.”

Again, Senate Republicans have common ground with Walz if they are willing to accept it. He has proposed $5.4 billion in rebates, tax credits and other cuts aimed at what he said could result in a 25% drop in childhood poverty. The rebates, ironically, were rejected by Republicans last year as a “gimmick” but now are embraced as part of their plan. The obstacle here, in fact, may be Democrats, who have been noticeably cooler to the rebate proposal.

Walz said his approach differs from the Republican’s $13 billion tax cut proposal in that “we are going to take a balanced approach. We are not going to commit one-time money to ongoing expenses.” Republicans want to eliminate the state tax on Social Security.

Certainly, some tax cuts have their place. Rebates aimed at working-class Minnesotans to help lessen the impact of inflation make sense. So do tax credits that lower childhood poverty. A lower tax burden can be welcome, but not when it comes at the expense of those things that require collective effort or when it steals from the future by jeopardizing the state’s fiscal stability.

This legislative session is more than halfway done, and so far, the DFL trifecta has not squandered its opportunity to make change. Now, however, some of the biggest challenges remain.

Gun control proposals supported by most Minnesotans remain on the docket. The Department of Human Services is, by Walz’s own admission, “too big” and requires streamlining.

A much-revised plan to legalize cannabis lies ahead, as does a complex and controversial DFL plan to enact paid family and medical leave and earned sick time for those Minnesotans who lack those benefits.

Walz said he hopes that by the end of this session, “Minnesota will be much more the Minnesota we’ve seen in the past: on the front end of protecting citizens, investing in education, workforce, protecting personal freedoms and leading on things like environment and climate change.”

He said what Minnesotans don’t want to see is “the politics of gridlock.” The next two months will determine if the two parties can find compromise that will ensure that’s not the case.


Mankato Free Press. March 16, 2023.

Editorial: Bud Grant ‘ A coach in Minnesota’s self-image

If it is possible for one person to personify a state of millions, that person was Bud Grant and that state was Minnesota.

Harry Peter “Bud” Grant Jr. died Saturday at 95, and even though he last coached the Minnesota Vikings in 1985, he remained to the end a piece of the franchise — he maintained an office in the team’s headquarters, first in Eden Prairie and then in Eagan, and was one of the first people to whom new hires were introduced.

He also remained a vital part of the team’s image, even for the generations of fans who came after his era on the sidelines, and by extension the image of the entire state.

Yes, he never won a Super Bowl; yes, those four Super Bowl losses have etched themselves firmly into the psyche of sports fans of the Upper Midwest. But his Purple People Eaters teams — Alan Page and Fran Tarkenton, Carl Eller and Chuck Foreman, Ron Yary and Jim Marshall, Paul Krause and Mick Tinglehoff — those were the glory days of the Vikings.

Close your eyes and think of Bud Grant, and odds are your mental image will be the Great Stone Face in the swirling snow, headset atop a purple Vikings cap and an unflinching expression that suggested that he saw everything on the field and slightly disapproved.

Football coaches come and go, but Grant transcended his trade, and not merely by being successful (11 division titles in 13 seasons, four Super Bowl appearances in eight years).

In a game built on calculated violence and raw emotion, Grant was reserved and understated, traits that most Minnesotans embrace. He muffled egos — his own as well as his players — and kept the focus on the group.

He turned the Minnesota winters into an advantage. His teams, by decree, embraced the cold and snow. There were no heaters on his sidelines, no gloves on his players’ hands. Let the other team huddle around their heaters and dread leaving that space; the Vikings would want to be on the field where they could run around and warm themselves with their activity.

He played into that imagery at age 88, taking the field for a pregame coin toss in his shirtsleeves on a below-zero breezy day at the Gophers stadium.

Minnesotans embraced that attitude as well. And the rest of the nation noticed. Bud Grant not only defined the Vikings team. He helped define Minnesota to itself and the rest of the nation.


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