In a recent Rochester Post Bulletin story, Rep. Greg Davids says access to rural broadband is “a serious issue for greater Minnesota.” I agree. But my question for Representative Davids is this: why didn’t you do something about it last session?
Despite a $2 billion budget surplus, Rep. Davids and the House Republican Majority passed a budget that woefully underfunded broadband. The original House Republican budget zeroed-out funding for our state’s broadband program and they ended up putting in just $10 million. That’s small potatoes compared to the needs throughout our state to ensure all Minnesotans have access to high speed Internet.
Instead of investing in broadband, Rep. Davids chose to make a tax giveaway to the largest businesses in Minnesota his top priority. His tax bill provided billions in permanent tax cuts for business owners. The biggest winners were the biggest property owners in the metro area. For example, the Canadian owners of the Mall of America would have received a huge, permanent tax cut! Meanwhile, many families and students in our area remain without access to high speed Internet.
Lack of access to high speed internet IS a serious issue in our district. It’s serious for the business owner who can’t process orders. It’s a serious issue for the student that can’t complete her homework. It’s a serious issue for family members simply trying to purchase some Christmas presents for family members on the other side of the state.
I’m glad Rep. Davids is finally agreeing this is a serious issue, but so far, he hasn’t been serious about solving the problem. If he is, I hope he will support Governor Dayton’s plan to invest $100 million in border-to-border broadband funding.
Let’s get serious about solving the important issue facing greater Minnesota.