Reforming the Met Council???? Don’t Get too Excited…..
By Andrew Richter
Well, it looks like the new Republican House of Representatives is aiming at taking out the Met Council (I wonder what blog they are reading) and some critics of the Met Council are celebrating these bills as some sort of reform but I think neither bill will change anything.
Let’s look at House File 9. The basics of the bill (without all the legal mumbo jumbo) is that the Met Council’s budget has to be approved by the legislature. If you want to read all the details you can do it HERE.
Supposedly this will make the Met Council “more transparent” but I don’t see it. This bill takes no power away from the Met Council. They will retain the power to tax, the power to bond, and the power to make plans and bully local governments to comply. So what if the legislature has to approve the budget! How about the legislature TAKES AWAY the Met Council’s power to tax or bond? How about we pull state funding? All this bill does is keep all power to the Met Council, the legislature is just going to “watch them.”
And who’s to say legislative oversight means anything anyway? The legislature “oversees” all departments in state government and what do they ever do about it? How go of a job “overseeing” have they done.
A link to Republican Legislator Peggy Scott speaking about the bill can be seen HERE . Watch this video and tell me how much you think this will change things.
Another bill is House File 75 which allegedly reduces the power of the Met Council to force cities to comply with regional plans. You can read the bill HERE.
A closer examination of the bill though makes one scratch their head. Here is a proposed line in the bill regarding the Met Council’s power to regionally plan;
“The development guide is advisory in nature and no local unit of government shall be required to comply or conform to the guide, unless specifically required by law. A local unit of government may, by a vote of the governing body, decide that all provisions of the development guide are binding on it.”
Once again, that sounds good but read the fine print “unless required by law.” This is critical. Since state law puts the Met Council in charge of transportation, transit, parks, airports, water, sewer, and housing, what changes exactly? Also, what happens if a city tries to resist the Met Council. How are they protected? What if the Met Council threatens them with pulling grant funding or gangs up on them with a county or MNDOT or neighboring cities?
This bill needs more details. Can one city stop any Met Council project? What protections does a city have if they challenge Minnesota’s Politburo? The bill isn’t clear.
Here’s an idea; How about we take away their power to make plans at all? What’s the point of making plans if they have no authority anyway? Why are they in charge of airports or parks and why are they telling cities to put in roundabouts or bike lanes?
The truth is Republicans are doing what they always do; they’re talking about reducing the size of government but they’re never actually doing it. It’s like screaming “no new taxes” and offering nothing as an alternate vision. This is where conservative and liberty minded activists need to roll up their sleeves and let the legislature know these bill are not acceptable.
End the Met Council now!!!!!