Governor Dayton stops by North Mankato for his usual town hall routine.
And along with discussions on bonding bills and gas tax hikes, the issue that drew the most heat was the subject of silica sand.
The first couple of questions at Governor Mark Dayton's town hall at South Central College focused on the desire for more education funding and infrastructure, with a surprising amount of support for increasing the gas tax, for those in attendance.
But the attention grabber, and what most people in the crowd were there to see, going by the logos on hats and shirts, was the issue of increasing the tax on sand mining.
Officials from silica start-up Jordan Sands, and dozens of workers from Unimin, the sand mining operation out of Kasota and Ottawa were in attendance, after being told that the new tax would put Unimin out of business, and cost them their jobs.
Lee Hiller says, "Governor, our employers are telling us that the state of Minnesota wants to pass these taxes and the owners are telling our guys that they're gong to close their doors and they won't have a job any more. We do not need moratoriums, we do not need a statewide study. These things would just prevent the work that's going on or prevent anything new from starting."
Governor Dayton, agreed, at least on the tax, calling it 'ridiculous'.
Governor Dayton when on to add that the bill was in its very early stages, and that the growing pains were a result of the state trying to address a new industry, even though it's been in our region for the past 40 years.
Tomorrow we'll take a closer look at Unimin's concerns about the silica sand legislation being discussed at the Capitol.