Mixed reviews of the 2013 session
It was utterly dismaying to watch the legislative session end with ruling party members slapping themselves on the back for passing a budget that is arguably one of the most anti-growth, anti-job, tax-and-spend fiascos in modern state government history.
The mathematics of the deficit dictated, at most, if there were no spending cuts, the need to raise $630 million. What did the DFL-led government do? It imposed more than $2 billion in new taxes.
There are about 25,000 small businesses that have just been hit with a 25 percent tax increase. What the intelligentsia in St. Paul chose to conveniently ignore is that many of those businesses file taxes using their personal income tax returns.
No wonder businesses move to North Dakota (51 percent lower taxes), Wisconsin (21 percent), Iowa (10 percent) and South Dakota (100 percent). Yes, the South Dakota business climate is No. 1 in the nation for entrepreneurs according to the Small Business Survival Index, while Minnesota ranked 40th in 2010 and undoubtedly will rate even worse in 2013. Way to go, DFL, which obviously means “ Democrats for Layoffs. “
DALE EKMARK, Angora, Minn.
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When a celebration broke out following the passage of the bill to allow child-care workers and personal care attendants to organize unions, state Sen. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington, was quoted as saying, ”We’re not in charge, let them applaud. They own the place.” He was absolutely correct. The people do own the place.
For the past 10 years they have been wandering around in the desert of a Republican Legislature and administration. Finally, a responsive Legislature and governor have led them to the promised land of workplace democracy, where a free people can decide for themselves whether they want union representation. It is the American way.
CLIFFORD ROBINSON, Brooklyn Park
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RESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT
On Syria, there really are no easy answers
Lloyd Axworthy’s commitment to creative and humanitarian diplomacy is unquestionable (“Turning our attention to Syria …,” May 20). However, the violence in Syria is not simply a question of the Assad regime’s oppression, but also massive outside support for opposition fighters from Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar, and from Iran for the Syrian government.
Axworthy advocates using the Responsibility to Protect doctrine to address the behavior of the government and the plight of the refugees, ignoring in his commentary other actors who are worsening this already bad situation.
Sadly, this shows that once again R2P is being used to serve the strategic interests of major powers, especially the U.S. government, which views Syria in the prism of Iran-Israel tensions rather than actual sources of funding for the violence. While laudable in intent, R2P appears to be largely a more attractive cover for traditional power politics.
WILLIAM DAVNIE, Minneapolis
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.