Senate panel passes office plan

The DFLers on the Minnesota Senate Rules Committee have passed – on a strictly partisan vote – a lower cost plan to build a new Senate office building near the state Capitol.

The plan has a reduced price tag from the original $94 million plan that included a senate fitness center and a reflecting pool, along with a parking ramp nearby. The new plan got rid of the gym, the pool and the ramp to reach the $77 million cost, but it did expand the office space to house all 67 of the state’s senators instead of 44.

It’s too bad they took out the parking ramp. That part of the project, at least, made sense and served a useful purpose.

What doesn’t make sense is building a magnificent new edifice to house the senators, who will be displaced for a while during the refurbishing and repair of the Capitol. There are alternatives, including renting office space near the Capitol during the Capitol reconstruction.

This is a DFL-backed plan from start to finish. Taxpayers should remember in November.

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