Thursday, December 07, 2006

Modest Proposals for state surplus

Posted by Craig Westover | 4:36 PM |  

Use the whole surplus to purchase lottery tickets. Randomly distribute the tickets to all Minnesotans. The state’s big buy creates a huge jackpot that is splashed on state-purchased billboards, enticing people to toss in their own dollars. As the state-sponsored commercial says, “Nature will love us for it.” Plus, the state gets to tax the winner. The state encourages Minnesotans, so it must be a good investment. With a little luck, the state recoups its investment and then some. It could happen.

Pay cash for the new Twins Stadium. Gov. Pawlenty dons his Twins jersey from last summer’s bill signing and in a ceremony this April at the Dome, surrounded by $390,000,000 in cash (heck, $500,000,000 and throw in a roof), he repeals the Hennepin county tax. Pawlenty pushes the pile of money to Carl Pohlad and Pohlad gives Pawlenty a $10 strip of Dome Dollars and a Twins autographed ball, thereby demonstrating the power of public-private partnerships.

Buyout statewide bar, restaurant and mom and pop coffee shop owners that complain a statewide smoking ban will hurt their businesses -- at market rates before the ban passes. Because there is no economic impact on business from smoking bans and people flock to smoke-free bars and restaurants, after passing a statewide smoking ban the state can unload the establishments for a considerable profit. It, too, could happen.