Greater MN gets much-needed aid

Daily Editorial Board

Despite some questionable proposals regarding Minnesota’s massive budget surplus, the House majority has something correct: a desire to help out the state’s rural areas and small towns.
 
The Republican-led House passed its higher education omnibus bill earlier this week, proposing to boost state funding for the University of Minnesota’s Morris and Crookston campuses. While some of these outstate-focused plans may be problematic for the Twin Cities campus, greater Minnesota is often overlooked by lawmakers. 
 
For example, communities outside the metro area often have shortages of health care professionals and teachers. 
 
One piece of the House proposal would address these issues specifically by offering state money to bolster agricultural education and health science programs at the Crookston campus.
 
This marks a significant improvement from the initial House proposal, which offered no additional funding for the University.
 
Aside from higher education, lawmakers have proposed boosting Internet access in outstate communities and initiatives to soothe other workforce-related issues.
 
The Republicans have criticized Democratic-Farmer-Labor lawmakers for what they call a lack of attention on greater Minnesota. 
 
This partisan quarreling is completely counterproductive in providing true help to rural areas — any Minnesota lawmaker is expected to have the entire state’s best interests in mind. 
 
Increasing support to outstate areas shouldn’t become a partisan issue, and we encourage the Republican House leadership to work with DFL-ers rather than against them. Beneficial political movements like this shouldn’t always be turned into an us-versus-them affair.