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This weekend, my representative and friend King Banaian has been taken to the proverbial woodshed for a vote he cast on HF130. I’ve carefully weighed whether to write something about this or not but with people spewing their opinions, it’s now apparent that some conservative allies won’t let this issue die.

Shame on them.

The reality is that King voted the right way on this bill. SCSU has helped strengthen St. Cloud’s economy to the point that we’ve grown from a population of 12,000 when I entered high school to our present population of almost 70,000 people. That’s before counting the massive growth in the Greater St. Cloud area. In some cities, populations have tripled or quadrupled.

What does that have to do with King’s vote? EVERYTHING!!! SCSU’s funding has already gotten slashed to the point where SCSU had to close 3 departments, including the Aviation department. Meanwhile, other community colleges are still getting funding while not contributing a lick to Minnesota’s economy.

How stupid is that? That type of prioritizing certainly wouldn’t fit with King’s priority-based budgeting system in HF2. Damaging universities that contribute to Minnesota’s economic health while colleges that produce little or nothing are held harmless is boneheaded.

Meanwhile, there’s this little thing about King representing his district while setting smart priorities. King’s vote did both. For that, he’s getting raked over the coals??? What are these allies’ priorities? Are they solely tied to ideological purity? It appears so.

As King’s most vocal constituent, I’ll praise King’s vote. I’ll also praise King for being a great conservative. PERIOD. THERE’S NO DISPUTING THAT!!!

Does anyone think that King will now start voting for excessive spending increases? Of course they won’t if they’ve got a lick of common sense. (At this point, it’s still debatable whether some of these whiner have a lick of common sense but that’s another story for another day.)

So some people disagree with King’s vote. Whatever. I couldn’t care less at this point. The complaints are coming from 50 or more miles away. What do they know about what it takes to strengthen St. Cloud’s economy? I suspect little or nothing.

It’s important to remind peole King didn’t oppose cutting budget. King simply fought for cutting things that brought less value to the state. After all, he’s the guy who authored the priority-based budgeting bill. Why cut something that adds value to St. Cloud’s and Minnesota’s economy when you can cut things that add little to nothing to Minnesota’s economy?

That leads to another important consideration, which is credibility. If King supported a budget plan that cut high value things but kept harmless things that weren’t high value, how could he then credibly argue on the House floor or in conference committee for legislation that potentially, if passed, would change Minnesota budgeting for a decade to a generation?

I’d rather have King’s credibility intact for important fights like that rather than worrying about what his critics say. It’s time to understand, and prioritize, the fights that we’ll be having during this legislative session. I’m betting that the vast majority of conservatives would rate putting in place a system that all but eliminates budgeting abuses as a higher priority than a single vote on a bill that passed and that, unfortunately, will likely be vetoed by Gov. Dayton.

This is really two stories. One story is about setting smart priorities that strengthen Minnesota’s economy for a decade. The other is about voting to represent the district. Serious people can’t argue that King didn’t accomplish both things this week.

At this point, people that want to play the ideological purity card are a waste of my time. As I’ve explained, we’ve got bigger fish to fry and bigger goals to accomplish.

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7 Responses to “King’s Vote: What’s With the Uproar???”

  • Rex Newman says:

    We both know King, enough to know that if King votes no, the problem is most likely the bill, not him.

    The intent was good, but I think the time has come for Republicans to lead the way out of retroactive measures like this. As one very involved in my city’s finances, it’s frustrating to cut back as we’ve done on the best guesses we can get from St. Paul, set a levy, then have the State renege.

    I imagine King saw the same thing as SCSU. Mind you, I would cut MnScu / higher ed in future years, convinced there is still significant over-capacity we can jettison. But retroactively, no.

  • Eric says:

    This seems more like “Cuts for thee, but not for me.” It’s time for everybody to take a hit. Government is way too big and needs to be cut, including higher education.

  • Gary Gross says:

    Rex, I’m simply arguing that SCSU has helped St. Cloud’s economy because it adds value & that there’s alot of other schools that are adding nothing to their communities’ or the state’s economy. If you’re cutting, cut fat first. SCSU is muscle, not fat.

  • Gary Gross says:

    You should’ve done your homework. SCSU’s gone through the cuts before to the point that they shut 3 departments in 2010. It’s more a case of ‘I’ve done my time. It’s someone else’s turn for a change.’

  • Rex Newman says:

    Rep. Banaian is certainly entitled to think SCSU is a “keeper” as opposed to another MnSCU campus.

    The state is entitled to decide how many and which campuses should offer a given discipline. Often, those become political food fights so all’s fair. (Remember Wadena?)

    But this notion that campuses are materially involved in the local economy is so overused. Offering degrees in basket weaving does not spur nearby investment in weaving baskets. Or aviation, where national market forces are also at work.

  • Gary Gross says:

    I’ll give a qualified I agree to that. The thing is that SCSU has a highly acclaimed business school. I know from talking with St. Cloud entrepreneurs that these graduates have strengthened their businesses.

  • Eric Austin says:

    I love it when we agree Gary.

    That Steve Gottwalt really needs to stop voting against the local economy. His credibility is totally shot with his no vote…

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