ANDERSON ON TAXES
She ignored history in making her case
Pat Anderson proves she has studied the "Tax" section of the Republican platform ("The utter folly of 'taxing the rich'," Feb. 23). Her lines might seem less palpably memorized had she taken any account of some rather obvious things that could be said on the other side of the argument. Like the fact that President Bill Clinton's economic agenda, which included a tax hike on high earners, did not prove to be a jobs killer. Like the fact that the tax-cutting policies of the Bushies did not slide us along a rainbow arc landing in a pool of milk and honey.
ERIC JORGENSON, MINNEAPOLIS
Pat Anderson offered anecdotes rather than evidence as to why raising taxes on the wealthiest Minnesotans would "actually work against the stated objective." I was particularly intrigued by her example of wealthy households as including "many small- and medium-size businesses whose owners run their businesses as S corporations ... mean[ing] that business income is passed directly through to them on their personal tax returns."
"Hey!" I thought to myself, "I've been a small-business owner of an S corporation for 15 years! She's talking about me!" Fascinated, I read on about how increasing taxes on salt-of-the-earth business owners like me takes away the very money that we use to "plow back into the business to make it grow," thereby putting my "working-family employees' jobs at risk."
But as I read I grew increasingly puzzled. Why, my accountant has told me for years that business revenue "plowed back into the company" in the form of equipment, labor costs, training costs, marketing, etc., created tax deductions, not tax liabilities. Had he misled me? Was I actually supposed to be paying taxes on my business expenses? After all, Anderson used to be the state auditor! And now she's president of the Minnesota Free Market Institute! She would know all about these things! Wouldn't she?
I called my accountant. "Al," I said in a worried tone, "Pat Anderson wrote in the paper that we have to pay taxes on our business expenses! What am I going to do?"
Al was silent for moment. "Look," he said, "first, you only pay income taxes on your profit. Revenue minus expenses. Profit. Not your employees' wages, not your office supplies, not your depreciation. Only profit. And second," he said, "no matter what business tax advice you read on the editorial page, your home subscription to the newspaper isn't a business expense!" He slammed the phone down.
BRIAN ROSS, MINNEAPOLIS
Bellcomb is a company that truly invests wisely
It's obvious, watching commercials these days, that the new marketing ploy dreamed up in the boardrooms of corporate America is to play down the "buy more, you gotta have this" line and convince us we're all doing "good" things by buying their stuff. So we now see when we buy more diapers we're actually providing vaccines to Africa and when we buy pop we're really promoting recycling and college scholarships. I hope these efforts help things, and maybe we will think twice about our insatiable consumerism, but I've got a better idea.
How about these corporations taking a lesson from David Hartwell and Bellcomb Technologies, featured in Neal St. Anthony's Feb. 22 column, who have wrestled with the issue of being a great American company on a real-life level? They're willing to reduce profits so they don't have to lay off employees; they think long term and stay profitable while doing something very concrete for the people they rely on most.
I challenge other companies to be creative and make a real difference at home. The management and employees at Bellcomb are, and it's only thinking like this that will truly give America a chance to return to greatness.
TIM TURNER, COON RAPIDS
DOWN ONE SENATOR
Minnesotans should be reminded every day
The daily front-page headline of every newspaper in Minnesota should read "We still do not have a second senator" until this election is decided.
BECKY LANDON, ST. PAUL
To the folks wishing the judges would just speed up the Franken-Coleman case, I have a warning: Be careful what you wish for.
Don't get me wrong; I'm right there with you wishing the contest had ended on Nov. 4. But there's a reason for the expression about the wheels of justice grinding slowly. When mistakes are made, new trials follow. I don't think anyone wants to consider a second Franken-Coleman trial.
If you don't spend much time in court, you probably don't realize that trial lawyers, not judges, control the pace. A judge can wheedle, cajole and even threaten. But there's a limit.
One of the key roles of a trial court judge is to control what is allowed as evidence. To win on appeal, the documents and testimony have to support the contention that the trial judge made a mistake. That's why trial lawyers keep pounding away at evidence even after a judge has excluded evidence just like it. All of this takes time, lots of time.
Finally, I have to point out the irony that this is happening when the court system is "at the breaking point," as Minnesota's chief justice says. Three district judges have been pulled out of their normal assignments and somehow, some way, other judges have had to pick up the slack. If you're in the midst of a divorce or personal injury case, you know what that slack is costing you.
MICHAEL J. FORD, ST. CLOUD;
PRESIDENT, MINNESOTA STATE BAR ASSOCIATION
Vikings want a stadium
In tough times, it doesn't make much sense
As much as I like to watch the Minnesota Vikings play, $734 million is a lot to pay. What happens for the rest of the year? Even with other events, it sure doesn't make sense to spend all that money on another stadium with the economy the way it is now. I'm sure Zygi Wilf, with all his hundreds of millions, could pay for it himself. If he doesn't, let him take the team someplace else. We will survive without the Vikings.
THELMA FRITON, EDINA