MNGOP’s Anti-Rybak #14: Newsrack Fees

Again, the MN GOP attacks Rybak based on a proposal rather than a fee or tax.

* “A proposal to have Minneapolis follow St. Paul in regulating newsracks won its first City Council test Tuesday after a strong endorsement from Mayor R.T. Rybak. … A fee preliminarily estimated at about $40 a year per box would be imposed to pay for the cost of regulation.” (Steve Brandt, “Rules for newsracks advance in Minneapolis,” Star Tribune, December 3, 2008)

I suppose that is a decent way for the MN GOP to pad their talking points. Just keep pumping out example after example of Rybak supporting financially balanced proposals.

I happen to agree with the proposal. Maybe this isn’t as much of a problem in parts of the states without sidewalks or the density of population Minneapolis has, but it’s definitely a problem here. Businesses have proven to be unwilling to maintain the newsrack boxes they place on sidewalks on their own, which has led to enough complaints for the government to feel pressure to do something about it. This isn’t a case of the government being out to get businesses. It’s a case of businesses being bad neighbors by not taking care of their private property.

The Star Tribune objected to the proposal. Strangely, they’re able to visit their newsracks on a daily basis to drop off papers, but they haven’t figured out how to include some touch-up paint to clean up the tags on their property. Private citizens are responsible for keeping their properties up, and so should businesses using public spaces.

Regulations like this don’t come out of no where. They’re the result of elected officials listening to feedback from their constituents, working on the easiest possible ways to solve the problems (the article mentions that a voluntary approach has been attempted without success since 2000), then getting tougher if the problem persists.

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