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I applaud Jim Mulder for submitting a well-thought-out, forward-thinking plan ("Minnesota's budget: The 3 percent solution," June 23).
He is correct in stating that the changing demographics in our state necessarily mean we have to change the way we think about government, what it provides and how we pay for it. The reality we were living in no longer exists for a variety of reasons, and the future holds only more change.
The balanced approach he proposes is impressive. We will have to cut funding to some programs and services as our needs in other areas grow.
We will have to increase revenue, too, if we are to honor some of our basic obligations and keep Minnesota the state we love. Mulder's discussion of policy is insightful and relevant, but it is his approach to crafting that policy that is of so much value to us right now.
Neither side of this all-too-polarized debate is 100 percent right or wrong. If we as voters continue to accept winner-takes-all politics and policies, we will forever miss out on half of the solutions, and half of the benefits they can provide.
AARON GROTE, NORTH BRANCH, MINN.
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The budget crisis is exactly what the Democrats hoped for. After losing both houses of the Legislature to Republicans but gaining the governor's office, they hatched a plan to regain control of the Legislature.
The governor was to stonewall all budget plans put forth by the Republicans, then blame them for refusing to compromise. Minnesota voters would vote out Republicans in the next election, allowing the Democrats complete freedom to enact their programs and raise taxes.
LARRY WESTERBERG, HASTINGS
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A reminder to those decrying the potential wreckage resulting from passing the Republican budget: In 2009, prior to Gov. Tim Pawlenty's roughly $2.7 billion in unallotments, DFL leaders traveled the state to warn of the pending devastation.
What actually happened? Government was streamlined, services continued as usual and the cuts were eventually passed by the same DFL leaders.
MCLEAN DONNELLY, ST. PAUL
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Yesterday, while driving down main street in Moorhead, Minn., I saw a line of people coming from the door of a building I didn't recognize. As I passed, I saw that the building housed the Food Pantry for this community.
I was actually amazed at the number of people in the line -- in "broad daylight" here in Moorhead. I thought about how humiliating it would feel to be in that line.
This was a stunning reminder that there is poverty even in strongly middle-class, low-unemployment communities such as this. It also reminded me of how powerless these people are -- no lobbyists, no rich advocates, no leverage in government.
Sometimes , it seems, we have to be hit over the head in order to have our eyes opened.
DON MATTSON, MOORHEAD, MINN.
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The June 23 letter about class warfare seemed to entirely miss the point, not to mention the facts, about tax increases on the top tier of taxpayers.
While admitting that Tea Party members are not among the most financially successful in our state, the letter writer asserts, incorrectly, that government spending will not create one job.
Actually, a healthy, well-educated workforce, created by government programs for health and education, has been the engine of Minnesota's economy.
And government institutions of higher education, like the University of Minnesota, have generated many of the innovations and companies, large and small, that we depend on for a thriving economy.
Over the last 10 years, we have had ample evidence that reducing taxes on the wealthiest does not result in job creation. The true class warfare has been the Republican Party's insistence on cuts to the very programs that have created a strong middle class and made our economy prosper in the past.
BETSY O'BERRY, RAMSEY
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I'd like to add to a June 20 letter writer's comment that the National Institutes of Health could save $51 million in grant money by just realizing that sugar is the main cause of any correlation between diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure.
Let's also mention that sugar is also a huge factor in our likelihood to develop cancer. It causes inflammation, and cancer cells feed off of sugar.
This has been scientifically proven (learn more from the international bestselling book "Anticancer: A New Way of Life"), but the information is not widely known or shared.
We need to realize that our American diet is compromising our health and that it is increasing our likelihood to develop many different diseases, not just cancer. We are the only ones responsible for our health. It is up to us to change our habits accordingly.
KRISTEN WERNECKE, MINNEAPOLIS
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This weekend I will have my nieces for a sleepover. We will build a fire, roast marshmallows, tell scary stories and giggle. I am not thinking about the ozone layer or the air quality ("One person's back-yard burn is others' bane," June 20).
I am thinking of the wonderful memories created with these kids. Lighten up, folks. Build memories instead.
SUE WILSON, SAVAGE
The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.