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The High Cost of Lower Taxes (Or: Why Can’t I Get Out of My Driveway?)

Waiting for the snow plow (photo: Mike Mertz via Flickr)

Waiting for the snow plow (photo: Mike Mertz via Flickr)

Ever since Chuck Todd’s tweet that a massive, person-killing snowfall two weeks ago was “not news”, the favorite term for snow here at FDL is Not News, as in: “Here’s what the National Weather Service said this morning about a big ‘not news’ event hitting our area” or “We got seven inches of ‘not news’ last night, three more inches today, and we’re looking nine more on top of that by this time tomorrow”, which is the “not news” event that I’m experiencing right now.

The irony, at least here in Minnesota, is that it would really and genuinely not be news back in the 1970s and 1980s. But of course, that was when we still had Democratic governors and legislatures. That was before Republican governors and legislators started carving away at the state and local budgets. So nowadays, when the City of Saint Paul, which used to send out plows at the drop of a snowflake, has left our street untouched for the past three weeks and five snowfalls — the only reason anyone in the condo complex can escape at all today is because the condo association asked the private contractor for our sidewalks and parking lots to please do what the city won’t — it, sadly, really is news.

As Emptywheel said two weeks ago: “And god forbid that Chuck Todd do some actual reporting on the number of states and municipalities in these flyover country areas that can’t afford to plow all this snow off the streets.” This would include a lot of Minnesota towns and cities, many of whose residents have been told they’re pretty much snowbound this winter because the state and municipal authorities have no money for plowing and — thanks to anti-tax absentee governor Tim Pawlenty, who wants to please the Republican bigwigs who will be picking the next GOP presidential candidates — are unlikely to get any.

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