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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Mall Boondoggle

Posted to Minneapolis Issues:

4. One MOA try to build a parking ramp. Once again the Mall of America is asking state legislators for a subsidy to pay for a parking ramp for their expansion plans. Last year's proposal was Old Yeller'd when Governor vetoed the Tax bill:
this year's proposal will hopefully meet a similar fate. But don't take our word for it. Read what State Senator John Marty [DFL-Roseville] has to say about taxpayers picking up the tab for the benefit of a few developers:
"There are many urgent needs that deserve public funding, but a parking ramp for a shopping mall is not one of them. Yet the Senate tax bill contains provisions allowing for the use of local and metro-wide tax revenue to finance a $186 million parking ramp as part of a new 'Phase II' expansion of the Mall of America in Bloomington. "Proponents of the parking ramp subsidy argue that this project will create construction jobs at a time when many construction workers are out of work. But we could create just as many construction jobs building schools, or libraries, or roads. In fact, we could create just as many jobs repairing or replacing bridges." [ed. or cutting capital gains taxes.]

If that isn't reason enough, when you factor in how Mall developers came to own the land in the first place, you'd think one instance of larceny was plenty. Marty continues: "This is not the first time that taxpayers have subsidized the developers here. Several years ago, lobbyists for the MOA succeeded in pressuring politicians to essentially give them the valuable property north of the current Mall. The MOA traded it for a piece of real estate that they had previously purchased for one dollar. Taxpayers essentially gave this property to the developers for free, and now taxpayers are asked to pay $186 million to put a parking ramp on it." Not a bad history lesson.

Kudos to Sen. John Marty for speaking out about this. Why aren't more DFL legislators in Minnesota speaking out loudly AGAINST this nonsense. The City of Minneapolis should take a position against this - because it subsidizes free parking at the mall.

Boondoggles are endless at the legislature.

I've heard the vote is coming up on May 1st on this one. Contact your legislator and let them know how you feel. This type of subsidy increases property taxes - since the revenue has to be replaced somehow - and who replaces it - well chumps like the Minneapolis homeowners.