…of stories pertinent to the levy:
The first is about the retirement of Terry Matson. The eye popping figure is this. When he began promoting tourism in Duluth in the 1980’s our tourism revenue was $80 million. Today its $800 million almost twice the cost of the Red Plan. That money is a great boon to Duluth and I’m gratified to have lived in the City to watch it grow. Duluth was a pretty seedy and shrinking town when I moved here in 1974 before its coal blackened Bowery was leveled and replaced with the Holiday Center.
However Dr. Dixon got his Red Plan accomplished and whatever its flaws Duluth can support it. Its not only tourism. Its the phenomenal growth of our local colleges. UMD had an almost tiny 4,000 student enrollment when I moved here. Today it has a hefty 11,000 students. One whole new industry has set up shop in the ruins of the Northwest Airlines Maintenance Base that Cong Oberstar engineered, Aircraft manufacture. Transportation, as always remains strong and the potential of new area mineral development, despite the environmental dconcerns, will redound to Duluth’s economic benefit.
Yes, its a damn shame the Red Plan was so unnecessarily big that it sucked the oxygen out of the air. Yes, its paid for with regressive taxes paid by a lot of folks on fixed incomes instead of the income taxes of the vain elite who wanted a vanity project. Still, these objections should not overrule a sensible call to stop the bleeding in our schools.
The second article is really the Trib Editor’s comment about Minnesota’s surprising economic growth recently despite the anemic overall performance of America as a whole. Things augur well for Minnesota as a whole and Duluth in particular. People in Duluth are justified in showing a little confidence.
Finally, there is the AP story about the State beginning to repay its recent borrowing of public school money to cover its financial butt. Its not the Godsend that it might appear to be. Its three quarters of a million dollars but all it really is is the speeding up of deferred payments the Districts would have gotten originally. Its a story about improved cash flow to our public schools not a story about an unexpected windfall. Still, lots of District’s including Duluth had to do costly short term borrowing to make ends meet while the State hoarded money the District’s had coming.