Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk issued this statement Friday in an attempt to justify the DFL spending $77,000,000 on a Senate Office Building that will be used 3-5 months a year:
“The SurveyUSA question fails to provide context to respondents. As a result of the broadly supported plan to restore Minnesota’s deteriorating State Capitol Building to better serve the public, most functions of the Minnesota Senate currently housed in the Capitol will be permanently displaced. By moving Senate functions out, the Capitol renovation will be able to expand public access, add more bathrooms, update safety and mechanical systems, and provide modern accommodations for people with disabilities.
The Department of Administration researched a range of relocation options to accommodate displaced Senate functions while ensuring open access to the public, and determined the construction of an adjacent Capitol office building to be the most cost-effective, long-term solution.”
Nothing screams out-of-touch louder than Sen. Bakk's statement. Here's what he's refering to:
According to our KSTP/SurveyUSA poll, 68 percent of Minnesotans disapprove of the building that will cost taxpayers $77 million. Just 18 percent approve and 14 percent are "not sure."
Sen. Bakk, there's no context that could be put in to get a favorable poll result. All the rationalizing in the world won't make this initiative popular. Minnesotans know that spending $77,000,000 on a building that's used 3-5 months a year is wasting money on a lavish palace for politicians.
Likewise, Minnesotans know that ramming this through without public scrutiny is a dishonorable thing to do. No amount of spin will change Minnesotans' opinions of this abuse of the public's trust.
Sen. Bakk used some exceptionally slimy tactics to get this office building built. First, he didn't write a standalone bill proposing this construction. Next, he didn't propose this amendment until late in the session. Third, Sen. Bakk's amendment didn't undergo public scrutiny nor was there any public testimony on Sen. Bakk's amendment.
Sen. Bakk's talk about "expand[ing] public access" rings exceptionally hollow considering the secretive process he used in ramming this down taxpayers' throats.