All are burdened when upper incomes are

The April 16 article spelling out the 26 criteria that Minnesota uses to prove residency for tax purposes is important not only for individuals who live outside of the state but still are taxed here, but also for Minnesotans who live and work here (“Avoiding state tax net is no easy task”).

The criteria include which church you belong to, where your lawyer or accountant resides, where your bank accounts are held, where you buy your insurance, where you buy your vehicle, where your clubs or associations are located, which real estate broker you use, where your doctor is located and so on.

So why should the average Minnesotan care? Because when upper-income people move — and they will — all of these attributes will cost jobs and income to working Minnesotans. If you work in a bank, an insurance agency, a car dealership, a lawyer’s office, an accountant’s office, a country club, a church, a real estate broker’s office, a doctor’s office or a hospital, and so on, all of the spending and associated income will move to Florida or other low-tax states.

Upper-income people spend a lot because they earn a lot. All this spending and the income associated will move.

It is interesting to note that the one attribute Minnesota government does not use to prove residency is political contributions.

William A. Cooper, Wayzata

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The article states that some wealthy Minnesotans are feeling the pinch of paying an additional 2 percentage points in taxes on income for couples over $250,000. Luckily, it was reported last week that CEO pay increased 9 percent last year. The wealthy came out of the Great Recession amassing a greater portion of the total national income than they have controlled in almost a century. Wall Street posted record earnings for those with stock portfolios. Meanwhile, the average worker has less income, adjusted for inflation, than he had 30 years ago. It seems not much is trickling down.

Still, some wealthy Minnesotans have had to pay for lawyers and accountants to help them lessen their ties with Minnesota. These wealthy with homes in multiple states have had to sacrifice time in their Minnesota homes and time with friends and family. Some have even made the hard choice to cut back on visiting their grandchildren to save this 2 percentage points.

The wealthy are different from the rest of us.

Elizabeth Gawrys, Vadnais Heights



In my experience, humility is common

The final three paragraphs of Andrew J. Bacevich’s April 16 commentary (“Inside the minds of America’s war veterans”) summed up his general outlook regarding veterans. While the behavior of some senior officers, albeit a very small percentage, is inexcusable and warrants punishment, the general conduct and commitment to mission remains exemplary for the majority of our troops. As far as an appropriate response to a “yellow ribbon campaign” and an occasional “thank you for your service,” humility on the part of our veterans and active-duty military in responding with a simple “thank you” is the norm, not the exception. None of the veterans I know, and there are many, are self-aggrandizing, and many are uneasy when thanked for their service. I include myself in that group.

As far as Bacevich’s question about why we did not “win” in Iraq and will not “win” in Afghanistan, the politicians and commander in chief declared that those wars were over. The rules of engagement that hamstrung our troops and prevented them from effectively performing their mission in both theaters was the largest obstacle to victory.

Terry Crow, Minneapolis



Don’t forget bus drivers’ contributions

Concerning the April 16 letter about janitors’ and engineers’ crucial role in schools, there is another overlooked group: school bus drivers.

The bus driver is the first adult — besides their parents — the child sees in the day and quite often the last. He or she can create a friendly, comfortable atmosphere that helps students arrive at school ready to learn.

But, more important, bus drivers are responsible for the safety of students. They must handle a 7-ton, 70-foot-long vehicle, while monitoring the behavior and safety rules of more than 70 children, which is three times the size of an average class.

Bus drivers earn about a fourth of what teachers earn, have no retirement, no paid vacations, no sick time and no paid holidays, nor do they have health, life and disability insurance. So why would anyone want the job? Because there is one benefit: Bus drivers have the pleasure of driving those cute little kids to school every day and seeing their smiling faces. Sometimes it’s the kids that set the tone for the bus driver’s day.

Pat Downing, Prior Lake



A grandmother says: Keep ’em coming

In response to Allen C. Liles’ comments on the Selfie Generation (“… [t]hink before you click, click, click,” April 18): I am a 70-year-old grandmother of 11 (and counting). Never have I taken a selfie; however, I have gratefully received many. When I was young, I kept a diary and wrote journals and letters chronicling my daily activities — or at least the memorable ones. It seems to me that a selfie is the same thing; just in pictorial and technological form. I say, “Keep the selfies coming.” I might get up the courage to send out a few myself.

Kathryn Laakso, St. Cloud