The following was published in the Star Tribune by Steve Karnowski (Asssociated Press) on October 31, 2016.
When most cities want to build something — a water plant, a convention center — they borrow the money on the bond market and pay it off over time with interest. Not Crystal, a middle-class suburb of Minneapolis.
It paid $13 million in cash when it needed a new public works building, taking the money from its savings accounts and shrinking the city’s reserves by nearly one-quarter.
Pay-as-you-go wisdom or long-term financial folly? However it eventually works out, the decision is just one example of how the Crystal City Council approaches civic issues a bit differently. The reason: A majority of its seven members are Libertarians or are sympathetic to the party’s philosophy of maximum personal freedom and minimum government.
In fact, the bedroom community of 22,500 people has the highest proportion of Libertarians in power of any elected body in the U.S., according to the party. No Libertarian serves in Congress, and just four sit in state legislatures.
For voters who can’t stomach either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump and are thinking of casting their ballots for Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson, Crystal provides a window — admittedly a very small one — onto how the party’s principles might apply in the real world.
In addition to paying cash for civic improvements, Crystal has undertaken a cleanup of the municipal code to get rid of ordinances considered outdated, unenforceable or just plain silly. And it has all but eliminated the city’s human rights commission. At the same time, in a seeming departure from Libertarian principles of thrift, the city has raised property taxes and water and sewer fees.
Concerned about the expansion of government control and the erosion of individual liberty? Please consider joining and becoming active with the Libertarian Party of Minnesota. Libertarians support liberty on all issues, all the time! Libertarianism is a philosophical and political movement to promote personal freedom, strong civil liberties, a genuinely free marketplace, and peace.