Donít Hurt Us
Editor's note: Duluth Days is when Duluthians venture
to the state capitol to lobby on behalf of the city. School board member Harry
Welty reports on this yearĻs progress:
This was my third Duluth Days and even more than before my role was strictly peripheral. I skipped the pricey breakfast and didnít do any lobbying. After suffering what may have been the final blow to my elective ambitions last fall I didnít have much interest in hobnobbing with the legislatureís power brokers. Heck, even if I got myself elected in the next go around the sixty or so new legislators would probably have eaten the pig long before I got to the luau. Judging by the stateís sorry deficit projections itís a pretty small pig.
As a school board member I initially took some comfort in all the rhetoric about holding K-12 education harmless. But that was then. Now it seems that it will only be state general fund expenditures for schools that will be held harmless. Duluthís schools are particularly vulnerable because we get a fair amount of non general fund revenue from the state. Our Community education revenue has already been chopped off.
State Desegregation funding,
which pays for our three magnet schools, has been under attack by Republicans
for a long time. Invigorated by their 29 vote margin in the House and facing a
5 billion shortfall this
While it remains to be seen
how much pain the school district suffers there is less doubt that the City
Council will face really tough times. It looks like
Last year, before the bottom
dropped out of state revenue, I ponied up for the pricey Duluth Dayís
breakfast. Thatís where I first heard Sviggum say he would consult with his
northeastern Minnesota Republican delegation before dealing with
I read an optimistic estimate that ninety legislators had visited us in the Armory. I sure didnít see that many. When I asked Ron how many legislators he had seen he paused for a long time before blurting out ďfifty.Ē When I needled him about his long delay in answering he said that heíd seen about 35 legislators. Then he pointed out that there were a lot of new legislators he still didnít know. There could have been a bunch of them noshing their way through the tasty treats our local chefs cooked up for them.
Unfortunately, all the
gourmet food in
All may not yet be lost.
There has been some successful lobbying so far in this legislative session
although itís come from the southern end of the state. Duluth City Councilor
Jim Stauber introduced me to one of the Republican legislators while I stood
Itís probably just as well that I didnít get elected. Iíd probably have just ended up irking the Republican Caucus the same way Iíve irked some of my fellow school board members.
Welty is a small time politician who lets it all hang out at www.snowbizz.com