The Mark Dayton-Scott Walker tax policy smackdown can be tested against the economic numbers.
STATE TAX POLICY
Looks like Minnesota has the better outcome
Richard Chandler, secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Revenue, happily notes that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is cutting taxes and reducing state government spending while Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton is raising taxes while expanding government services (“May the best state win,” Oct. 12).
The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia publishes a monthly State Coincident Index. It combines four factors: nonfarm payroll employment; average hours worked in manufacturing; unemployment rate, and wage and salary distributions.
If you compare each monthly report since January 2011, when Walker and Dayton took their respective offices, Minnesota has won every month. In fact, the gap is widening. When the governors took office, Minnesota had an 8.14 percent advantage over Wisconsin; now it is 10.22 percent.
So — to Chandler, Walker and the rest of Wisconsin — I say this: The best state is already winning, and by a wider margin than ever. If you are a business and you want to be on the winning team, feel free to come to Minnesota.
MARC DOEPNER-HOVE, Mound
You, the voter, may be rendered irrelevant
When the U.S. Supreme Court hands down its decision in McCutcheon vs. FEC (argued on Oct. 8), it may no longer matter if we bother to go to the polls, thoughtful or not (“Only thoughtful voting can change the dysfunction in Washington,” Oct. 13). Money will decide who “represents” us, and it won’t be my $25 or your $50. If Justice Antonin Scalia could say during oral arguments that he doesn’t think $3.5 million “is a heck of lot of money,” are we not on our way further down the road of pay-to-play politics? The post-Watergate, bipartisan McCain-Feingold campaign finance reforms are about to be further eviscerated. Elections? How about high-stakes “democracy” roulette, where only millionaires and billionaires have a seat at the table?
PHYLLIS RODEN, Minneapolis
Inconsistent sentencing damages credibility
Legitimacy, a court’s most precious endowment, is, as the Supreme Court once observed, a “product of substance and perception.” To maintain its respect and authority, a court’s rulings must be defended by logic, they must make sense. Where, then, is the logic when a Hennepin County judge ships to prison the high school cheerleader who prostituted a teammate (Star Tribune, Oct. 12), but an Anoka County judge does not send to prison the drunken driver who killed two people (Oct. 11)? When legitimacy is lost, justice becomes mere public theater.
BRYAN J. LEARY, Minnetonka
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.