Editorial: A not-so-special session for area
In the end, the Minnesota Legislature’s special session last week wasn’t terribly special for southwest Minnesota.
Sure, state lawmakers addressed the lack of disaster assistance that has come this way since April’s devastating ice storm. But even though Gov. Mark Dayton urged the Legislature to approve an additional $1 million for communities in Nobles and Rock counties (“I’m really pushing for this hard,” Dayton said in an Aug. 31 Daily Globe report, adding, “I’m very persuasive”), that request fell on deaf ears.
In the end, legislators approved allowing $219,000 already appropriated for communities affected by the storm to be easier for Nobles and Rock counties, as well as the city of Worthington, to access. Compared to receiving an additional $1 million — and factored with the reality that April’s ice storm resulted in an estimated $26 million in damage in five southwest Minnesota counties — being told that money appropriated months earlier will become easier to get seems like an underwhelming victory. If anything, it appears to confirm that our governor isn’t quite the “very persuasive” leader he thought he was.
We don’t believe for a minute that local government leaders thought getting storm relief would be a cut-and-dried process. We also find it difficult to fathom, however, the multiple mixed messages and instructions that have left our officials both flummoxed and frustrated over the last five months. To the casual observer, it just might seem the rules for determining the amount of eligible aid, and then subsequently getting that aid, are being made up as the perplexing ordeal goes along.
We’re certainly hopeful that the $219,000 in money that was already appropriated — and now, in essence, re-appropriated — comes this way soon. But don’t blame us for being a tad cynical.