Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Corporate welfare hitting home

One of the big hitters in this year's Minnesota legislative session is a request, or demand, from the Mayo Clinic here in Rochester for $500 million in infrastructure for a big expansion.   Now on one side, I understand the request--it's hard to get to the Mayo or Gonda buildings, and not much easier to get to St. Mary's unless you're on board Mayo One.  The city has simply not kept up with the needs of its biggest employer over the years.

However, does a state subsidy cure this?   Keep in mind here that the city has worked against Mayo's interests in any number of ways.  There isn't much housing that would appeal to the doctors and other highly paid professionals (mostly small lots/tract houses), and the school systems here....well, suffice it to say that homeschooling in Minnesota started around Rochester for a reason.  The schools aren't bad, but they aren't "doctor good", either.  Hence a lot of doctors (and QEs) who work in Rochester commute.

So in a nutshell, what the subsidy would do would be to buy time for the city to once again neglect its biggest employer.....and it appears that the city, in part due to its housing policies, simply doesn't have the tax base to get this right even if there would be repentance in City Hall--where ironically the mayor is a former Mayo administrator, and should know better.

Looks like Rochester, and Minnesota as a whole, needs to consider the fact that if they don't get their act together, employers like Mayo are going to realize that there are a lot of places with excellent transportation, low taxes, year round golf, and winning football teams.  And it's a bigger deal than a one time hit for roads and sewers.

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