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Readers Write (March 28): Minnesota's tax climate, Southwest LRT, oil pipelines, crowded elections

  • March 27, 2014 - 6:29 PM

TAX CLIMATE

An individual burden maybe, but not overall

A March 27 letter writer reiterated the same conservative argument we’ve been hearing for decades, even centuries — that is, higher taxes, even a percent or two, will drive business from the state and cause new ones to locate elsewhere. While this might be true for the letter writer, speaking for himself, it is completely discredited on a macroeconomic scale by a simple state-by-state comparison of several economic and social metrics.

Virtually all of the states with lower state and local taxes are in the South, which has never been an economic engine, and in the Rust Belt, which was dealt a kick in the teeth by globalization and which, partly because of lower taxes, has not been able to recover. By 2018, Minnesota is projected to create three times the number of jobs that Southern states will create. Moreover, 70 percent of those jobs will require postsecondary education, indicating that Minnesota’s workforce is better educated now and will continue to outpace states with lower taxes. And our medically uninsured population is the fifth-lowest, indicating the healthier workforce sought after by businesses.

And there are many more. If the letter writer is upset, he should feel free to move to Mississippi — and good luck to him.

Steven Richard Boyer, St. Paul

 

SOUTHWEST LRT

Wrong thing, wrong place, wrong time

If we do not have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will we have the time and money to do it over?

The lure of “free federal money” (borrowed from Beijing, of course) seems to endlessly lure local leaders into doing stupid things.

Every light-rail line should be routed to maximize patronage. Ergo, put it where the people are. In this case, that would be — big time — in Uptown. Meanwhile, the population density along the east shore of Cedar Lake is … ah … light.

We in Bryn Mawr have quite good bus service running at grade through the center of our neighborhood (and occasionally along the north edge). A light-rail station way below grade, on the southeast fringe of our neighborhood, is likely to be lightly patronized.

Same song, second verse, for a Van White Station, in an industrial zone (though, to be fair, Dunwoody might benefit from that one).

Put the Southwest line in “the trench,” run it east to Nicollet, hang a left, and keep running the length of the renovated mall. Yes, that does assume eminent domain exercised over Kmart — the sooner, the better.

Uptown: Now there lies a concentration of people generally, and of 20-somethings specifically — who, polls repeatedly report, enthusiastically embrace transit.

Please give up already on the idiocy of shoehorning this line into a corridor that offers few passengers and maximum negative impact on the city’s lakes and parks.

Darryl G. Carter, Minneapolis

• • •

The Star Tribune should be embarrassed by the front-page headline “Delays add $300M to light-rail cost” (March 27), which substantially misrepresents the information in the body of the article. The first paragraph states only that the delays “help” increase the price tag by $300 million. The rest of the article, which provides more detail, reveals that the vast majority of the increased cost is caused by changes in the route, the amount of tunneling required and the addition of a station. The delay itself appears to account for only about $50 million of the increase.

Frank Lerman, Edina

 

OIL PIPELINES

As a landowner, I know companies seek safety

I am a landowner and farmer whose property the proposed Enbridge oil pipeline will cross. I have no problem with this. The professionalism and care Enbridge takes is just unreal, from contacting the landowner to asking questions to walking the right of way with the landowner to point out any problem spots. Enbridge does care about the land and the environment. It “smart pigs” the line to check for trouble and puts up wash stations for the equipment and trucks to make sure that soil transfer does not happen. The company is not evil — its employees don’t grow horns and sprout a tail after dark! I don’t think most people understand the safety and planning that goes into this type of project so that all of us — from landowners and farmers to Enbridge personnel to neighborhoods — can feel safe.

Troy Palmer, McIntosh, Minn.

 

CROWDED ELECTIONS

Just don’t make them too restrictive

I was one of the 35 candidates for Minneapolis mayor last year. I agree with the consensus that we had too many candidates (“Mpls. working to trim the ballot,” March 25).

On the other hand, we had too few candidates in the 2009 mayoral race, with only R.T. Rybak and a few challengers. The next race likely will consist of Betsy Hodges and a few challengers. I would hate for the discussed restrictions for mayoral registration to result in even fewer candidates than in the Rybak race. As a voter, I prefer too many candidates to too few.

I think voters were most irked by those who plunked down their $20 registration fee but did not campaign. I agree it makes sense to require a nominal number of signatures to register for mayor. Five hundred is too many; that would put more focus on getting signatures than on campaigning. We would have had half the candidates last year with a requirement of 50 signatures.

I strongly disagree that candidates should “display a certain level of public support” before they register for mayor. The concept of ranked-choice voting is to give every candidate a chance to build support. Minneapolis voted for RCV because the people wanted to vote for lesser-known candidates.

Mark V. Anderson, Minneapolis

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