Readers Write (April 11): Mayo proposal, underage drinking, military funerals

  • Updated: April 10, 2013 - 6:49 PM

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Things are starting to turn a bit sour

“Don’t tax you, don’t tax me, tax that fellow behind the tree!”

Russell B. Long, former U.S. senator from Louisiana

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Way back in 1964, when I first started studying economics at Ripon College, my professor uttered this economic wisdom. I laughed out loud when I read the April 10 headline “Mayo CEO: 49 states want us.” The article went on to say that Mayo may not build a multibillion-dollar expansion in Rochester unless the state approves a $500 million subsidy.

This is a subsidy from all Minnesota taxpayers to expand economic activity in Rochester. A more honest threat would be to threaten the mayor of Rochester, where the economic benefits would be huge. The clinic’s CEO, Dr. John Noseworthy, went on to say that Mayo would never leave Rochester. Reality check: It already has, improving health care in Arizona and Florida.

In general, I worry when taxes are called “investments” and when CEOs threaten state lawmakers. It puts taxpayers at risk — always.

Ryan Custer Amacher, Lake Shore, Minn.

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As a resident of Minneapolis, a former patient of the Mayo system and a businessman, I wholeheartedly endorse the request for state funds to leverage Mayo’s planned expansion. Mayo’s global stature and access to international markets is nearly incomprehensible unless you’ve experienced it. Though this proposal is not Twin Cities-“centric,” it stands alone as the biggest economic development opportunity in the state for the foreseeable future. Tired of being a flyover state? Making the Mayo system the global destination for peerless medical care will take care of that little problem. Minnesota politicians … don’t screw this up.

J. Kurt Schreck, Minneapolis

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Don’t get me wrong — I’m a Vikings fan and longtime season-ticket owner. Still, I am perplexed by our legislators. We, reluctantly, are funding a large portion of a billion-dollar football stadium that will employ a few thousand during construction and provide a nominal boost to the downtown employment and tax revenue picture. We all know the math of sports stadiums is suspect at best. The Mayo Clinic, on the other hand, is asking for a similar amount to fund infrastructure in support of a $5 billion, 20-year investment that will help ensure growth in Minnesota’s already strong medical industry, will create 40,000 jobs over a long period well beyond construction and will significantly increase our tax base.

A note to elected officials: Please put on your thinking caps, see the big picture and get this done already.

Jeff Holker, Edina

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About the Vikings, Twins and now Mayo: I’m holding a news conference on Friday to announce that I’m pursuing a $1 million grant from the Legislature to build a house in prestigious West Cambridge. I anticipate that this will increase the tax base and provide work for about 20 people in the construction trade.

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