‘AGE OF MAINTENANCE’
Needs far beyond a city’s capabilities
Peter Leschak’s “The age of maintenance” (July 7) was right on target — especially as we see DFL support for studying city-owned utilities. What Minneapolis really would be assuming responsibility for is an out-of-date infrastructure that is in dire need of maintenance and upgrading.
Many of the gas, water and sewage lines leak, and breaches resulting in emergency repairs are more frequent than is commonly known. The power poles are rotting, and the wires are not only aged but undersized as well. Also, as a City Council member wisely asked, “Where would we get 1,000 workers to put back together the inner-city electrical distribution downed by fallen trees?”
However, so immense and costly has this deferred maintenance become that perhaps neither CenterPoint Energy nor Xcel Energy can afford to upgrade, repair and maintain the infrastructure — that will take tax dollars, and lots of it. Switching from a corporate-run to a city-run operation will have the same result anyway.
Bruce A. Lundeen, Minneapolis
The writer is a maintenance worker.
What’s fair and moral vs. what’s practical
In its July 7 editorial (“A fairer division of state’s tax burden,”) the Star Tribune Editorial Board starts with a false premise. It is not our government’s role to make economic outcomes equal by adjusting taxes or any other means. The fairest way to pay for government services is to have everyone pay for the services they use. That is impractical. The next fairest way is to have all users of services pay the same dollar amount. That, too, is impractical. Our current system of progressive taxes on income is the least fair method, but it is the most practical. Having one group of people, like the wealthy, pay a disproportionate amount of taxes is immoral. We do it because it is practical, not because it is fair.
I would not be considered wealthy, but I think all of us should be grateful to the wealthy for funding our government.
BOB COPELAND, Wayzata
• • •
Yikes. Another letter writer (July 10) whining about the 183-day rule that causes their wealthy friends to “count the days” in their adopted state until they can “return home” to their beloved Minnesota ... and not pay state income taxes. These folks have made good money in the state. Many have benefited from publicly funded schools, including a solid public university system. Yet, upon retirement they adopt another state for half the year, partly to avoid our state taxes.
I suggest that those of us left holding the state tax bill vote to change the 183-day rule (50 percent) to a 274-day rule (75 percent). These outsiders enjoy all the benefits of our great state for half the year without contributing their fair share. Let’s keep them out as long as we can.
KEVIN MOYNIHAN, St. Paul
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.