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Reader's view: Asking questions does not denote lack of support

The News Tribune published an editorial that created the impression that some legislators — me included — were not supportive of the mayor’s new emphasis on Duluth’s western neighborhoods and our St. Louis River corridor (Our View: “Legislators not exactly rallying to Ness’ vision,” March 21). While accurate that the decision to renew the 50/50 tax originated in City Hall, and while accurate that I did want additional details on the funds generated and anticipated expenditures, it was unfortunate that asking thoughtful questions was characterized as a lack of support. Asking sometimes difficult questions is at the heart of good public service and stewardship.

But as in much of life, good came from this. Subsequent to the editorial, the mayor and I had a chance to discuss the details of his proposals for the renewed 50/50 tax. With this information in hand, and with an understanding of how it would directly benefit projects I long have supported — including at Spirit Mountain, Wade Stadium and the Lake Superior Zoo — the bill was heard in the Senate early in the week of March 24 upon my request. Like many things this session, final disposition remains to be seen.

Renewal of the 50/50 sales tax will not only help provide a match for these key assets, it also will provide funds targeted at the promotion of tourism attractions in western Duluth. By now, hopefully, we all realize how critical tourism is to our local economy. That sector of the economy was essential in helping Duluth weather the Great Recession as well as we did, and Duluth has seen continued growth in our tourism sector year after year. Promoting the river corridor will only serve to give visitors yet another reason to visit our community, stay in our community, and spend money in our community.

Sen. Roger J. Reinert


The writer represents District 7 in the Minnesota Senate.