In speaking of things that weigh on Minnesota’s economy, here’s another.
Tax climate is another repelling factor
While Gov. Mark Dayton is taking bows for his minor, badly needed tax rebate, it is sobering to review the nonpartisan Tax Foundation’s recent state-by-state comparison of tax data. In virtually every category, our state taxes its citizens and corporations, large and small, more than all but a handful of other states. We are sixth-highest in combined state and local tax burden, seventh-highest in state tax collections per capita, seventh-highest in state and local tax rates, and ninth-highest in state and local tax revenue per capita. Most disturbing, Minnesota ranks 47th in terms of state business tax climate. In contrast, Wisconsin announced this week lower income tax rates for all taxpayers and a host of business tax reforms intended to make the state more attractive as a place to locate business.
Yes, we have the University of Minnesota and its rich resources. Several of America’s major corporations call the state their home, and we have a vibrant cultural community. We also have a climate that generously might be called “challenging” and a sports culture that is average at best. Businesses, largely small and medium ones, drive our economic engine and provide livelihoods for our citizens. We can’t any longer assume that our quality of life is so terrific that we can impose any governmental burden. We must convince people and businesses that they can prosper in a state that understands it cannot demand more of their limited resources.
Mark H. Reed, Plymouth
Is it racism? Reality? Or a combination thereof?
It’s more than a lack of order and school rules (“Race affects even preschool suspensions,” March 22, and subsequent responses in Readers Write). Why can’t we just call it as it is? Are we to believe that our teachers and school administrators are strongly racist? I don’t.
One of the leading reasons that kids of any ethnicity act up is the lack of a stable family life. Just say it.
Some internal family comments from parents of grade-school students confirm that children from single-parent households, broken homes and live-in-boyfriend families arrive at school with street knowledge beyond their years. These, most of the time, are the troublemakers. Perhaps more black children are the victims of the aforementioned family arrangements, hence are a larger percentage of those suspended.
Let’s ease up on so glibly calling our teachers racist.
William M. Ruva, Golden Valley
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Whenever there is an article about differential treatment of a minority group such as that about suspensions of African-American children in preschool, people are always ready to decry the notion that racism might just be at work.
These issues aren’t about racist individuals in the schools or other settings purposefully singling out African-American kids to discipline, although I’m sure that’s been done. This is about a pattern of behavior by an institution that results in the negative treatment of a group of people. The individuals of that institution may not even be aware that they contribute to the problem just by doing what they’ve always done. That’s the insidious nature of the problem. No individual takes responsibility to change his or her behavior, and the institutions don’t want to look at the facts, either.
It’s also, in part, why we continue to experience disproportionate sentencing and numerous other examples in which groups of people are treated differently because of their race.
Jeanne Torma, 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.