Readers Write (July 6): Broadband, climate change, housing boom, medical device tax

  • Updated: July 5, 2013 - 6:09 PM
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BROADBAND’S FUTURE

Dayton, Legislature deal blow to progress

The June 30 story on broadband illuminated the critical role that connectivity plays in our economy (“New sales tax hurts rural broadband, proponents say”). It is this century’s version of the interstate highway system. A community, no matter what other advantages it offers, cannot expect to thrive without full access to its services. Members of the business community depend on it, but so do consumers, patients, students, voters and many more. It’s hard to think of any aspect of daily life that has not been transformed by high-speed access to the Internet.

Given broadband’s importance, it’s puzzling why the Legislature and Gov. Mark Dayton chose last session to make investing in it more expensive and less attractive. By repealing the sales tax exemption on telecommunications equipment, they are costing us jobs, making us less competitive and moving in the opposite direction from most other states.

The St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce is adding its voice to a growing chorus from cities and counties, businesses and farmers, young people and seniors, who are urging the Legislature to reconsider this tax increase in its next session.

JAMES McCLEAN

The writer is director of public affairs for the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce.

CLIMATE CHANGE

Yes, we do need a national turning point

While I agree with the Star Tribune editorial that President Obama’s speech on climate change needed to be “a turning point,” we won’t see congressional critics proposing “something better,” partly because over half of conservatives in Congress are climate-change deniers (“A key turning point on climate change,” June 30). The earth’s temperature and CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere have already reached dangerous levels. Fortunately, the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication showed in April 2013 that nearly two in three Americans believe global warming is happening. Still, inaction is a huge problem, not just among our congressional leaders who are beholden to their fossil-fuel corporation donors, but also among the public, which is not voting for leaders who will act courageously on climate change or pressuring current officials to decisive action. An apt example is the defeat in 2010 of South Carolina Rep. Bob Inglis.

It is time to stop talking about the right and the left and recognize that the turning point we need is for all of us to act on our recognition of the climate crisis.

I support some form of a carbon tax, and President Obama’s plan has the potential to make significant changes in carbon emissions until we are able to enact the more substantive national policy that is necessary. Inaction is no longer an option if we are going to preserve our planet.

ELEANOR WAGNER, Edina

HOUSING BOOM

Golf course could have been saved in Eagan

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