Whether our next governor is a Republican or a Democrat will have a huge impact on Minnesota’s future. But just electing any Republican is not enough - we need to elect the right kind of Republican. The Met Council is one of many examples that illustrates this point.
My first act as your Governor after being sworn in will be to spend a few minutes with my family to pray for guidance and humility. And then I’ll fire the Met Council and start the process of dismantling that behemoth once and for all.
By contrast, under Gov. Tim Pawlenty, the budget for the Met Council grew by nearly $300 million dollars - an increase of more than 50% in eight years. Tim had two full terms to push back against Met Council overreach. Instead, he fed the beast.
I don’t place the Met Council at the top of my “To-Do” list because it’s the biggest problem facing Minnesota; I place it there because it is symbolic of the biggest problem facing Minnesota: A government that has become arrogant, overbearing and unaccountable.
With a budget of $8 billion and more than 4000 employees, the Met Council has become the largest, most expensive and most powerful regional organization in the country – by far.
It has the power to tax (with an $80 million tax levy) and take property through eminent domain, but its members are accountable only to the governor who appoints them and not to the taxpayers they seek to control.
And, the Met Council has grown completely out of control, its priorities and mission becoming so controlling and overbearing that it’s actually damaging the metro area rather than advancing it. The Met Council no longer seeks to facilitate planning and growth but instead attempts to control and direct it, regardless of what cities or taxpayers think.
I believe having a regional authority in place for wastewater management and acceptance of federal transportation money is wise, but I don’t believe we can “fix” the Met Council. I will work with the legislature to eliminate it and replace it with a body that has no authority to tax or take property and is VERY strictly limited in its power.
When Republicans go along to get along we end up with the Met Council of today. In November, we can either fight back and bring fundamental change to an arrogant and broken system or we can watch another four years of back-slapping and deal-cutting in St. Paul. I have no interest in the latter.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Met Council, take a look: