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September 15, 2012
The Journal

U funding request

THUMBS UP: The University of Minnesota is taking a different approach to the two-year funding request it will make to the Minnesota Legislature. The $1.18 billion funding request, presented to the Board of Regents Friday for its consideration, would promise a tuition freeze for students at the U, who have been hit by big increases the last few years as the state trimmed its funding for the U.

The request would also set five goals that the University would strive to reach in order to collect an $11.5 million "accountability fund" in the second year of the request. It would have to achieve three of the goals in order to collect its full funding. Goals include things like awarding more degrees, boosting financial aid and maintaining research and development spending.

We hope the Legislature will give this request a thoughtful hearing. The U of M is an important asset to the state, one that drives our economy by providing strong, educated graduates and the kind of research that creates more and better jobs.

That's economic development?

THUMBS DOWN: The City of St. Paul was the big winner in the state's economic development grants lottery this year. On Thursday the state announced St. Paul would get $25 million of the total $47.5 million in grants. St. Paul will use the funds to help build - a ballpark. It will be the home of the semipro St. Paul Saints baseball team. It will create 248 jobs - 225 of them construction jobs.

In the meantime, dozens of other projects around the state were left out, projects that would have created, we would guess, as many jobs at a lot less cost.

At least some grants made their way to outstate Minnesota, although bigger cities like Marshall, Rochester and Mankato were shut out. The city of Hector is getting money to improve its wastewater treatment plant, allowing it to work with Buffalo Lake to expand Triple J Farms, a kosher and halal beef processor. There, $1.1 million will create 120 full-time equivalent jobs and protext 80 more. That's $5,500 per job, compared to $100,000 per job for the St. Paul ballpark.

Somebody's not doing the math.

Day of Play

THUMBS UP: Congratulations to the New Ulm "Day of Play" organizers. The Day will be on Sept. 29 on the Martin Luther College campus. New Ulm Medical Center, the Heart of New Ulm project and the college are partnering to encourage kids (and grownups too) to get outside and be active.

The New Ulm Day of Play will feature a special guest, U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, who has heard a lot about the Heart of New Ulm and wanted to come see for herself how it's going.

We're sure she'll see it is going very, very well.



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