Our view: DFL restores what's best about state

Article by: Brian Voerding, editor, on behalf of the Daily News editorial board, Winona Daily News

Pot’s legal.

The minimum wage is going up.

Some people will have a harder time owning guns, or have to give them up.

And the state’s about to spend $90 million on a new office building for senators.

Sounds like a Scared Straight recruiting brochure for the Minnesota Republican party, right? Time to head for the hills of North Dakota?

Not quite.

Let’s review, if it’s even possible in a small space, the accomplishments of the 2014 Minnesota Legislature — they’re not only big, they’re rich with nuance and compromise.

Marijuana will only be available in select forms, will be strictly controlled, and offered only to folks who suffer from chronic conditions. Minimum wage will rise incrementally, with breaks for small employers. The people who can’t have guns any more are convicted abusers.

Lawmakers crafted a stricter bullying law, expanded benefits and equality for women workers, and approved a $1.1 billion construction bill that will create all kinds of economic development opportunities across the state, including in Winona with Winona State’s University’s Education Village. They passed a package of tax cuts for middle-class residents, repealed a trio of onerous business-to-business taxes, streamlined operations across state government — including business permitting — and created a $20 million fund to start developing statewide access to high-speed Internet.

And that’s just the big stuff.

Boy, all that is a good way to erase the memory of the state shutting down just three years ago over a bitter debate about how to handle a massive budget deficit.

We, like many in the state, worried about party overreach when the DFL-controlled House and Senate sat down in early 2013 and got to work with a DFL governor. Looks like we shouldn’t have. The Legislature has spent the past two years rebuilding the state’s policy and image to represent the best of what Minnesotans have always prided themselves on — strong schools, a robust and diverse economy, valuing human equality, a progressive tax system that provides for investments in quality of life. Leadership like that deserves to be rewarded at the polls in November.

As for that expensive office building — well, 201 part-time politicians and a governor can’t get it right every time.

Read the original article at Winona Daily News.