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ENEWS: Transportation Forward, Arts Give Back, Case for Public Investments

Date Published: 03/14/2019

Author: Dane Smith

Let’s Move Transportation Forward!

Consensus is overwhelming across Minnesota in favor of a major new package of investments in transportation and transit.    Business groups, labor groups, social justice advocates, and  rural and metro communities agree that an ample and equitable transportation package will serve the causes of climate action, racial and regional equity, and business growth.    So join us along with hundreds of others next week for Transportation Forward Day at the Capitol, to remind your legislators that all Minnesotans need affordable, healthy, and sustainable options that include roads and bridges, transit, and more options for bicycling, and walking.   We’ll gather in the Rotunda to hear from inspirational leaders and learn how to talk with legislators to localize for them why these investments are important.   Snacks and training will be provided. Meetings with legislators will be scheduled when you register.  Wear blue to help us make a visible impact.   For further inspiration, check out this recent report from Move Minnesota.   And register now!

Arts as Economic Development

The latest annual Creative Minnesota report reinforces, with hard data from every region in the state, the vital importance of investing in arts and cultural infrastructure for overall economic growth.   We use the word “infrastructure” instead of “amenities” for good reason.   National and state studies continue to show the increasing value of arts and cultural resources as primary economic competitiveness tools, necessary to attract both employers and employees, especially in rural regions that currently lack these assets.  From the report:  the combined economic impact of nonprofit arts organizations, their audiences and artists and creative workers in Minnesota now approaches $2.2 billion a year; demand is increasing and attendance now reaches 23.2 million at events and venues sponsored by 1,903 organizations statewide; Minnesota’s outstanding reputation as an arts mecca in the Midwest (double the size of Wisconsin’s arts economy, with roughly the same population) must be reinforced by compliance with requirements for arts education in schools and continued investments through funding by the Legacy Amendment

Marshall Convening Makes Local News

Our recent convening  in Marshall, part of the Thriving by Design process to create a Minnesota Equity Blueprint, got favorable coverage in the Marshall Independent.     Policy & Outreach manager Sarah Leistico reports that the following policy priorities, in roughly descending order, emerged as top concerns in Marshall: broadband expansion and elevation of internet connectivity to “public necessity”; universal health-care coverage; expansion of career academies, career pathways and skills-based education; eligibility for drivers’ licenses regardless of immigration status; expanding child-care access; improving rural health care access; investing more  in transportation and mobility options for Greater Minnesota; accelerate conversion to renewable energy; and reduce incarceration rates by reforming drug laws and inequitable law enforcement.

Our Statement to Tax Committee on Public Investments

Conveying with what we’ve heard in Marshall (see above) and in every corner of the state, Policy & Outreach Manager Sarah Leistico testified in favor of Gov. Tim Walz’s tax bills this week, at the House Taxes Committee.   Here’s a partial transcript:  “We continue to hear from Metro Minnesotans,  and particularly Greater Minnesotans,  a growing demand for comprehensive investments and improvements in public goods and services.   This includes border-to-border broadband, cradle-to-career education and career pathways, child care assistance, restoration of crumbling infrastructure, access to affordable housing and affordable health care for all, major upgrades for roads and local transit, increased access to ride-sharing and mobility services, Local Government Aid expansion, and investments in clean renewable energy.  We support HF 2125 and the governor’s other major tax proposals because they fund prudent increases for these vital investments. These bills reflect traditional Minnesota communitarian values, which create a solid foundation for business and economic growth.”


“Artists give our state a competitive advantage…When we support the arts, the arts give back.’’  From Creative Minnesota 2019 report, cited above.

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