It’s shocking to see Rep. Dave Baker’s sudden support of broadband access in Kandiyohi County. After all, the Governor’s nonpartisan taskforce on broadband recommended investing $200 million in grants to get Greater Minnesota up to speed, yet Baker didn’t bat an eye when House GOP leadership PROPOSED ZERO DOLLARS for broadband earlier this year, despite a $2 billion surplus.
In fact, Rep. Baker supported the GOP budget that, in addition to investing nothing in broadband, actually would have eliminated the office of broadband development, and also provided billions in tax breaks to the out-of-state owners of the Mall of America and the skyscrapers in Minneapolis.
Luckily, Governor Dayton and the DFL-controlled Senate ended up standing up for Greater Minnesota and pushing for broadband funding last session. But due to the resistance to compromise from the GOP House, including Rep. Baker, only about $10 million was passed.
Meanwhile, Rep. Baker’s Kandiyohi County has some of the worst internet access in the state, with only 14% coverage.
Sure, it’s nice that Rep. Baker is finally talking about broadband, but he already made the choice to put ultra-rich property owners ahead of his own neighbors and local businesses having broadband internet access.