Monday, August 11, 2008
The Minneapolis City Council is considering a resolution that would require passengers to pay a $1 surcharge per cab ride during the Sept. 1-4 Republican National Convention. A subcommittee will vote on it Wednesday. Final approval rests with the full council and Mayor R.T. Rybak.Here is the schedule for the Minneapolis Convention Center for the next three months. The American Diabetes Association is having an expo on October 11th. Tax it! Show me one of those events you would tax. Target Center?
City Council member Gary Schiff, the measure�s author, said he�s not worried about irritating visitors to the Twin Cities by targeting them for fare increases. �Republicans will be very generous and heavy tippers,� he predicted.
Schiff said he wanted to tailor a fare surcharge so that most Twin Cities residents would not be affected. �I�m targeting it to a time when most city residents won�t have to pay it,� Schiff said.
He suggested most residents won�t be taking cabs that week because it will be �next to impossible� to grab one during the convention because taxis will be so busy shuttling visitors around the city for convention parties and events.
Minneapolis and St. Paul are trying to cash in on the GOP convention in ways beyond cab fares. They are also selling licenses to bar owners who want to extend their hours of operation during the convention. Only a handful of bars have so far applied for the licenses, possibly because of their $2,500 cost, according to a report in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
While the Twin Cities are seen as a liberal enclave, Schiff said he wasn�t deliberately trying to target Republicans with the fare increase. If Democrats were holding their convention in the Twin Cities, he would have raised the same resolution, he said. �Or if it was Alcoholics Anonymous or the real estate leaders of America,� he said.
And if it's about there not being enough cabs for the locals, didn't you just allow more cabs to enter the marketplace? How about making that market truly free? You were against exploitation when it was done by the government cab monopoly your predecessors created, but not when it's a chance to line the government's purse?