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Continued: Readers write (May 21): Vikings stadium design, Legislature, public pensions

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  • Last update: May 20, 2013 - 7:28 PM

Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to matter which party is in the majority — the political environment seems to bring out the worst in everyone.

John Helgerson, Victoria

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The latest tax increase is a great opportunity for nonpolitical organizations to do some serious independent research and find out exactly how it affects Minnesota in terms of job creation — how many businesses relocate out of state, as well as which ones stay and expand.

It gets nauseating to hear all these dire predictions about our horrible business climate, public education, political climate, health care and other issues only to find out that studies indicate we are doing pretty well, and not just compared with the rest of the nation. No doubt some individuals and businesses are having a difficult time, and we should do all we can to provide assistance. But to say that the state is teetering on the brink of collapse only adds to cynicism and an unwillingness to even try to listen in on the conversation to solve our ongoing problems. Let’s gather the evidence, discuss the facts, and stop bombarding our brains and the media with nonsense.

Wayne Mostek, Roseville

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A more businesslike approach is viable

A recent Opinion Exchange article (“How come ‘they’ get bailed out and you don’t?” May 16) attempted to instruct us on the “promise” that we (taxpayers) made to public employees regarding their pensions. I don’t pretend to know the details of that “promise,” but I can suggest the writer is not entirely correct in his analysis of what private employers can do when faced with an underfunding situation in their defined-benefit retirement fund.

True, one part of the solution is to increase contributions. But what the author failed to recognize is a complementary approach. My employer fund has chosen to minimize contributions by not providing increases in pension payouts, in fact for the past 19 years. That is perhaps the key to keeping the fund solvent. Imagine where the public pension funds would be today if they followed this businesslike approach. Or imagine how much money my employer would have had to “cough up” (in the writers words) to keep the plan solvent. Which is what we taxpayers, many of whom are on private employer defined-benefit plans, are being subjected to by the projected surcharge on certain insurance policies.

Joe Theissen, Woodbury

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