Short takes for March 7

‘Give It Back’ idea has merit

THUMBS UP:

There has been plenty of speculation as to what the state should do with its $1.2 billion budget surplus announced last week. Republicans in the House and Senate have introduced the Give It Back Act – they want to return the surplus revenue collected to Minnesota citizens and their families, and considering how hard Minnesotans have been hit by recent tax hikes, we agree. It’s a better alternative than spending it all. Our economy in Minnesota, by all accounts, is recovering faster than in other states, and a good way to keep that going is to give back to Minnesotans. We’re not saying our policymakers should return every dime – we support the bipartisan plan to allocate money toward the 5% Campaign to give a long-overdue pay hike to long-term care workers – but giving some back, spreading the wealth you could say, should always be considered when the money is there.

Wrestlers at nationals

THUMBS UP:

Southwest Minnesota State University isn’t exactly synonymous with wrestling, but four Mustang wresters have the chance to add to the program’s history on March 14-15 at the NCAA Division II National Championships in Cleveland, Ohio. The likes of John Sterner, Link Steffen, Scott Dubbelde and Troy Mentzer made names for themselves as wrestlers here, and soon Kyle Begin, Jacob Begin, Cole Wilson and Justin Reinsma will begin their journey to join them as history-makers. We wish all four of these student-athletes the best of luck at nationals next weekend as they represent SMSU and Marshall.

What’s to come of Airpark East?

THUMBS DOWN:

We are concerned about the future development of Airpark East, especially considering the Fed’s decision to not allow non-aviation businesses to be constructed near the airport – a decision that prevents local businesses like Action Manufacturing to expand there. Action had a business subsidy agreement with the city to build at Airpark East but has to go in a different direction now. The FAA’s ruling, which we believe is of an overly-restrictive nature, severely limits the options the city has for development there, but since neither the city nor the airport can do anything about the ruling, they must come up with some other answers for commercial development. Good luck. The city has already invested heavily in a bridge connecting the east side of the airport property with Madrid Street with the assumption that some development at the airport would justify it, but that hasn’t happened. This week, the Marshall Airport Commission voted to recommend forming a long-term plan for the future; that’s a move in the right direction, but the future, we would argue, is now. There’s a bridge to prove it.

Public notices staying where they belong

THUMBS UP:

Good news from the Capitol last week when a committee decided not to vote on the bill that would give local governments the choice of taking public notices out of newspapers and putting them only on government websites. The decision to lay the bill over, the Minnesota Newspaper Association says, suggests that proponents of the bill likely didn’t have enough votes to approve it. While there is revenue to be gained for newspapers with the publication of these notices, this, we’ve argued on this page, is about more than dollars and cents. This is about getting the information to the public reliably, consistently and in a place where they are sure to see it (and are accustomed to seeing it): the paper, not buried in a website somewhere. Another anti-public notice bill was introduced in the House a week ago that pertained solely to school districts posting public notices on their websites. We hope this bill sees the same fate as its more wide-ranging cousin did.