Things are starting to turn a bit sour
“Don’t tax you, don’t tax me, tax that fellow behind the tree!”
Russell B. Long, former U.S. senator from Louisiana
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Way back in 1964, when I first started studying economics at Ripon College, my professor uttered this economic wisdom. I laughed out loud when I read the April 10 headline “Mayo CEO: 49 states want us.” The article went on to say that Mayo may not build a multibillion-dollar expansion in Rochester unless the state approves a $500 million subsidy.
This is a subsidy from all Minnesota taxpayers to expand economic activity in Rochester. A more honest threat would be to threaten the mayor of Rochester, where the economic benefits would be huge. The clinic’s CEO, Dr. John Noseworthy, went on to say that Mayo would never leave Rochester. Reality check: It already has, improving health care in Arizona and Florida.
In general, I worry when taxes are called “investments” and when CEOs threaten state lawmakers. It puts taxpayers at risk — always.
Ryan Custer Amacher, Lake Shore, Minn.
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As a resident of Minneapolis, a former patient of the Mayo system and a businessman, I wholeheartedly endorse the request for state funds to leverage Mayo’s planned expansion. Mayo’s global stature and access to international markets is nearly incomprehensible unless you’ve experienced it. Though this proposal is not Twin Cities-“centric,” it stands alone as the biggest economic development opportunity in the state for the foreseeable future. Tired of being a flyover state? Making the Mayo system the global destination for peerless medical care will take care of that little problem. Minnesota politicians … don’t screw this up.
J. Kurt Schreck, Minneapolis
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Don’t get me wrong — I’m a Vikings fan and longtime season-ticket owner. Still, I am perplexed by our legislators. We, reluctantly, are funding a large portion of a billion-dollar football stadium that will employ a few thousand during construction and provide a nominal boost to the downtown employment and tax revenue picture. We all know the math of sports stadiums is suspect at best. The Mayo Clinic, on the other hand, is asking for a similar amount to fund infrastructure in support of a $5 billion, 20-year investment that will help ensure growth in Minnesota’s already strong medical industry, will create 40,000 jobs over a long period well beyond construction and will significantly increase our tax base.
A note to elected officials: Please put on your thinking caps, see the big picture and get this done already.
Jeff Holker, Edina
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About the Vikings, Twins and now Mayo: I’m holding a news conference on Friday to announce that I’m pursuing a $1 million grant from the Legislature to build a house in prestigious West Cambridge. I anticipate that this will increase the tax base and provide work for about 20 people in the construction trade.
John Wheelock, Cambridge, Minn.
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Medical amnesty bill would reward abuse
Back in the 1980s and ’90s, Minnesota legislators raised the drinking age from 18 to 21. Now today’s legislators have discovered, to their surprise, that young adults in this age group drink. Some are even drinking too much. So legislators propose to grant amnesty to these adults who are underage and overintoxicated and in need of medical services.
I don’t understand this thinking. If someone is overintoxicated and is under 21, or if someone of legal age “drinks responsibly,” they will not face legal penalties. On the other hand, if someone who is under 21 years old “drinks responsibly,” or if someone of legal age is overintoxicated, they may face legal penalties.
Wouldn’t it make more sense to reduce the age to 19 and encourage responsible drinking in general?
Jim Reinitz, Minnetonka
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Volunteers on Rifle Squad bear own costs
I commend the Star Tribune on a timely and well-written article regarding the governor’s proposed funding for veterans’ organizations that perform military honors for deceased veterans at cemeteries in Minnesota (“Who pays for a veteran’s final wish?” April 2).
As a point of clarification, please recognize that the Memorial Rifle Squad at Fort Snelling National Cemetery is totally composed of volunteers from all veterans groups and that all squad activity is supported by private donations of individuals or groups.
No volunteer is reimbursed for personal expenses or receives a monetary stipend or other compensation from municipal, federal or state agencies. Bear in mind that the 130 volunteers drive approximately 150,000 miles, annually, at their own expense, to and from the cemetery.
Between June 19, 1979, and March 28, 2013, the Rifle Squad provided final honors for 62,676 veterans and never missed a duty day, during regular cemetery hours, regardless of weather. That constitutes more than 30,000 volunteer hours contributed to Veterans Affairs each year. The total tax dollar savings to the federal government are quite substantial.
Daniel Fisher, commander; Memorial Rifle Squad