Golden Turkey Award: Silly and Wasteful Spending in State Government

Minnesota’s government wastes a LOT of money on silly things. Each year, American Experiment gives out the Golden Turkey Award to the best one.

Fall 2022 Winner — The Minnesota Department of Education: $250 Million to Free Food Fraud

Poor management and oversight by the Minnesota Department of Education of a pandemic-related food program won them the fourth annual Golden Turkey Award.

Also in 2022 — Southwest Light Rail boondoggle wins inaugural Golden Turkey Lifetime Achievement Award

At $500 million under budget and almost 10 years behind schedule, this is one of the biggest boondoggles we’ve ever seen and it’s going straight to the hall of fame!

Click here to read more about the light rail boondoggle.

Past Award Winners

$6 Million Empty Newport Transit Station: The Bus Stop Where No Buses Stop!

The Newport Transit Station opened in 2014 and cost taxpayers $6.45 million. A July 2017 article titled “The east metro’s most expensive park-and-ride station is also the least used” referred to the station as the “Hilton Hotel of bus stops.” At that time, the Met Council boasted ridership of eight passengers a day on the bus line serving the Newport Transit Station. In the post-COVID world, there are no buses serving this sprawling transit stop, which leaves the Newport Transit Station with an empty 150-car parking lot and a Golden Turkey Award.

$7.2 Million Goose Creek Rest Stop

Curved glass, Brazilian Ipe wood, a modern play area and “bathrooms fit for a fancy hotel,” according to WCCO-TV. The latest museum in Minneapolis? A million-dollar home on Lake Minnetonka? No, these architectural features belong to a rest area on Highway 35 between St. Paul and Duluth.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation used $7.2 million of trunk highway funding (money that could have gone to roads and bridges) to refurbish the Goose Creek Rest Stop. No one can answer why they used taxpayer money for such a fancy design, and transportation officials are vowing never to let it happen again. We took a tour. Click here to watch the video.

In the meantime, truck drivers and tourists will be “going in style” at this one-of-a-kind rest area. Since the Goose Creek Rest Stop won the Golden Turkey Award, we will petition to have a commemorative plaque installed in the lobby.

$6.9 Million Thankfully, Still Empty Tim Walz Morgue

Just as fear was subsiding over Gov. Tim Walz’s wild prediction of 50,000 Minnesota COVID deaths, he scared everyone all over again by buying a morgue for $6.9 million to house up to 5,100 bodies that he claimed would soon be piling up due to the pandemic.

The $6.9 million bought plenty of fear, with Walz officials evoking images of “shallow graves,” “full and overflowing” funeral homes and bodies “stacked in U-Hauls.”

Six months after purchasing the building the state is using it to store PPE instead of bodies, and that’s why it’s earned a Golden Turkey Award for wasteful spending.