Readers write (April 17): Totino's, taxes, legislative pay raises, Pulitzers

  • Updated: April 16, 2013 - 8:44 PM
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URBAN DEVELOPMENT

Totino’s demolition is unsavory progress

In many places, being the birthplace of a national brand would be celebrated, a reason to consider a building historic and worthy of preservation (“From pasta to apartments,” April 15). Never mind the beautiful brick façade of the former Totino’s Italian Kitchen, an example of the kind of craftsmanship that no one is willing to pay for anymore. In Minneapolis, it’s just another building that needs to make way for something new, in this case a generic apartment building that looks like it could just as easily be built in Bloomington (Indiana or Minnesota), St. Louis Park or just about anywhere else.

It’s true that the building has been neglected for years, but that’s only because maintenance is expensive. Certainly our neighborhoods can benefit from increased density, but preservation and progress don’t have to be mutually exclusive. What we need is for developers and politicians — and everyone else — to stop referring to old buildings as obsolete and start seeing them as old friends. Remember the care and craftsmanship that went into their construction. Think about generations of Minneapolitans who grew up going to one of the first Italian restaurants in town.

When we lose history — even if it’s a little piece — it is gone forever.

Chris Bubser, Minneapolis

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TAXES

Any reform should focus on fairness

Regarding the April 14 editorial (“State Senate tax plan is on the right track”): The issue should really be about tax fairness and the ability to pay. Over the last 30 years, the portion of Minnesota taxes paid by corporations has been cut in half. Many corporations are experiencing record profits; some are sitting on trillions in cash, and others are shifting millions into offshore accounts.

The Legislature can bring more than $300 million back to Minnesota by closing corporate tax loopholes to invest in schools, health care and infrastructure at a time when investment is desperately needed.

Unfortunately, the state Senate missed many of these opportunities by leaving open loopholes that allow corporations to use tax havens and lowering the corporate tax rates so the bulk of the money raised by closing loopholes is given right back.

Bill Urbanski, Mounds View

• • •

The latest madness in the Legislature is HF956, the Omnibus Energy Bill. It would tax all electric customers to raise funds to subsidize wealthy homeowners who can afford the upfront cost of decorating their roofs with inefficient solar panels. The revenue from Xcel Energy customers alone would be close to $30 million a year.

In the meantime, we are cool to the idea of supporting expansion of the huge economic opportunity provided by the Mayo expansion.

Mark Twain’s comment about legislatures comes to mind: “Few men of first class ability can afford to let their affairs go to ruin while they fool away their time in Legislatures. … But your chattering, one-horse village lawyer likes it.”

Rolf Westgard, St. Paul

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