TRUCKER HEROES

Their cooperation helped to save a life

 

Kudos to the unnamed truckers who helped save the suicidal man clinging to the overpass on Interstate 94 ("Truckers lined up rigs to help save suicidal man," April 17). People are often too quick to bash truck drivers, but this was a heartwarming example of how quickly they reacted to help out a person they didn't know.

SHARON RINGSTROM, BUFFALO, MINN.

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STUDENT DEBT

Use technology to keep student costs down

 

Several recent articles have discussed the immense student loan debt that college students are acquiring. In addition, rising tuition costs, the price of textbooks and other required materials also present a hefty financial burden to students.

The amount of money students receive for selling back their textbooks is often minimal compared with the amount of money they have to invest in them.

Advances in technology have made it possible for students to access information for free or for much less than the price of a textbook. Courses should be designed to maximize the use of cost-saving technology and reduce the number of additional expenses.

Simple changes, such as choosing less-expensive materials, using technology and requiring students to purchase materials only when absolutely necessary, will help to keep costs down.

While textbooks and other course materials account for only a portion of student expenses, reducing this cost could save them thousands of dollars over the course of their educations.

This could decrease the number of loans students need, making higher education a more achievable goal for everyone.

CARLIE LARSON, Falcon Heights

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Tax cuts

Learn from the nation's past with budget

 

In the ongoing debate about lowering taxes for wealthy (job creators), we must consider the facts. Although the idea of creating more profit for wealthy business owners is good and will allow them to create jobs, the reality is that the extra profits stay with the job creators and never create jobs. Never.

President Ronald Reagan tried it and ended up raising taxes. President Bill Clinton adjusted taxes and created a budget surplus. President George W. Bush cut taxes for the wealthy, and once again we ended up with deficits.

So instead of the same old rhetoric, political parties must provide solid information for their budget and tax bills and intelligently proceed for the good of the people. This is not a new country, and these problems are not new, either. We should learn from past mistakes.

DAVID BERGER, MINNEAPOLIS

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Payday loans

Bill before Minnesota House is not good

 

I was glad to see the Star Tribune call attention to the problem of payday lending ("Report rips banks on 'payday' loans," April 17). Payday loans can appear quite attractive to someone experiencing a financial emergency, but they often lead to an endless cycle of debt.

The same is often true of debt settlement services. They require a debtor to pay as much as a 15 percent fee to a third party, along with a portion of the debt and taxes, in order to settle with creditors.

Then the debt settlers require people to stop paying their bills, racking up interest and late fees and provoking collections calls for as long as four years. In the end, the process fails two out of three times, often leaving people paying even more than they originally owed.

The Better Business Bureau has labeled debt settlement an "inherently problematic" type of business. A bill introduced in the Minnesota House of Representatives (HF2500) would remove the 15 percent fee cap for debt settlement, encouraging even more settlement companies to operate in Minnesota.

This bill is not good for our state, and it certainly is not good for people in vulnerable situations who are preyed upon by this business practice.

THE REV. JAY M. CARLSON, Minneapolis

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VIKINGS STADIUM

Legislature should take up-or-down vote on bill

 

We know it doesn't make economic sense from a cost-benefit perspective to put public money into a stadium. We also know that only a small minority of Minnesotans will ever sit in a stadium for a Vikings game.

I'm willing to believe that those who oppose using tax dollars for the stadium are willing for the Vikings to leave Minnesota. I'm grateful that in Minnesota, the team is safe to load up and drive away in broad daylight. I've heard that supporting a team and riding its ups and downs is good for the psyche of individuals and the general populace.

I believe that the TV viewers and stadiumgoers will be able to quickly adopt new teams to follow. That said, let the legislators be clear in an up-or-down vote that they are choosing for the Vikings to leave or stay. Let the seemingly endless debates end.

WAYNE SATHER, EAGAN

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LIGHT-RAIL FUNDING

Support the Southwest Corridor project

 

As a young, unemployed Minnesotan, I've found it difficult to find a job that I can afford to take based on my living and transportation costs. Many jobs are accessible only by car. My generation doesn't want to be stuck in gridlock each day. Unfortunately, in most areas of Minnesota there are no transportation alternatives.

Now the Legislature has the opportunity to pass a bonding bill that includes funding for the Southwest Corridor light-rail project. If this does not happen, the project will lose its position in the competition for federal funding and will delay progress in expanding Minnesota's transit options.

We cannot afford to delay. I love Minnesota, and I would like to be able to live the life I want here -- in a livable and sustainable community where I have the choice to drive, take public transit, walk or bike to work each day.

BRIANNE WHITCRAFT, ANDOVER