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$800 million bonding bill rejected by House as too small

Here is Rep. Dean Urdahl: “It is a little bit disconcerting to me to realize that there are members here who are prepared to vote against projects that are vital to their district,” he said. “I implore you to consider what you’re doing and why. We can’t say that we voted ‘no’ on local projects because $800 million isn’t enough money.”...

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Flawed survey used to support adding a second Amtrak train between St. Paul and Chicago

The Midwest Interstate Passenger Rail Commission (MIPRC) recently surveyed students, faculty, and staff at three Winona-area colleges and universities on their usage and views of Amtrak passenger rail.  The survey supplements one administered to 30 other colleges and universities across the Midwest. The results led to this Star Tribune headline: “Millenials are all aboard for passenger rail.”   If a Google search is an accurate measure of the MIPRC media hits, then the Star Tribune is the only major news outlet to make headline news out of this survey. Maybe that’s because every other news organization decided a voluntary online SurveyMonkey survey...

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Joint Committee schedules another hearing on PCA/SEIU “Contract”

Rep. Marion O'Neil, Sen. Michelle Benson and others in the Legislature have called for hearings rather than business as usual. Normally, employee contracts are rubber-stamped. The risk next week is that the new SEIU/PCA contract will be ratified, with devastating legal consequences for PCAs who do not want the SEIU speaking for them. ...

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Quick update on transit and transportation issues at the Capitol

Revised: The end of session actions taken by Republicans are somewhat disorienting given the fact that the transportation bill coming out of the House was very good and the signals from the Senate seemed good, as well. Then it went to conference committee. What came out was very different. Before the Legislature got the bill ready to send to Gov. Dayton today, apparently leadership opted to anticipate what Dayton would do, and removed most if not all offending language....

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Tax the rich? Done. Chase them from the State? Done.

So what has Dayton done with billions in new revenue? “The net effect is still that under Dayton, Minnesota’s tax system has become meaningfully less regressive. But it should be said that this governor has taxed the rich in order to fund government, not to reduce the tax burden on others.” ...

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As Minneapolis plastic bag ban nears, state agency says environmental benefits of paper over plastic is a myth

A Minneapolis ban on plastic bags is set to take effect on June 1.  According to a city news release, the purpose of the ban is "to reduce the litter, waste, environmental impacts and expense of managing carryout bags." No doubt city council members feel pretty good about themselves.  But feeling good and doing good are, of course, two different things.  It turns out the plastic bag ban likely won't deliver the environmental benefits advocates claim. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) recently posted an article busting seven green myths,  the seventh myth being the belief that paper bags are environmentally superior...

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Help Wanted!

American Experiment is growing. We are currently looking for a Policy Fellow whose primary assignment will be assisting our existing Senior Policy Fellows. You can read about the position at This is the job description: Center of the American Experiment is Minnesota’s think tank. Its mission is to change Minnesota’s civic culture by promoting free-market, limited government policies. In addition to writing and commissioning papers, holding public meetings, and informing legislators, the Center engages in an aggressive outreach program including op-eds, radio ads, videos, emails, an active web site (, a quarterly magazine, Thinking Minnesota, Facebook, and more. Through these...

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Met Council signs $118 million contract to design 27 SWLRT trains despite ongoing uncertainty over funding

The Met Council just approved a $118 million contract to design 27 new trains for the proposed Southwest Light Rail Transit (SWLRT) project. This hefty contract shows the Met Council is truly going full steam ahead with the project even after the 2016 Legislature refused to authorize the final $144.5 million in state funding required to complete the project. Last year Met Council Chair Adam Duininck pledged that the SWLRT project would not proceed without legislative approval.  In a July 2015 letter to Rep. Tim Kelly, chair of the House Transportation Committee, Duininck offered this assurance, “Should the Legislature ultimately choose not...

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What It Means To Be Minnesota’s Think Tank

You no doubt have noticed that our web site says Center of the American Experiment is "Minnesota's Think Tank." We use that phrase a lot--on t-shirts, on the radio, and elsewhere. We aren't Minneapolis's think tank, or the Twin Cities' think tank: we are Minnesota's think tank. The Center's mission is to bring our messages of opportunity, limited government and government accountability to all Minnesotans. Toward that end, we have placed op-eds in 59 Minnesota newspapers so far in 2016. Some of these are familiar, large-circulation papers like the Minneapolis Star Tribune and the St. Paul Pioneer Press. But we have...

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St. Cloud Mall Attack Raises More Questions About Gun-Free Zones

Nearly 48 hours later, new facts continue to filter out of St. Cloud on the investigation into what may be Minnesota's first "lone-wolf" terrorist attack. So far no evidence has surfaced to back up Isis' claim of involvement.  But after closer scrutiny of the security surveillance footage,  it turns out there's a tenth victim of Dahir Adan's stabbing rampage. The 21 year old St. Cloud man did not seek medical attention and did not report his injuries to authorities. Jason Falconer, the off-duty policeman who shot the perpetrator dead and prevented a likely bloodbath, has also kept a low profile. But...

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