Minnesotans brought this upon themselves


All the Minnesotans who are upset with the new loss of their homestead property-tax credit ("Jettisoned tax break sets off feud," Aug. 30) should have thought of the consequences before they voted in a Republican Legislature. It's time to belly up to the bar and pay the tab!

And as you do, you might look around and see the upper-income Minnesotans laughing at you.

Of course, they will be telling you it was Gov. Mark Dayton who agreed with their removal of the tax credit, and they would be correct for the most part -- he did agree in order to stop the government shutdown that the Republicans had forced him into.

So stop bellyaching and learn from your mistakes. In 2012, we have another chance to correct this insanity.


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Legislator would 'toss' the state's future


The advice of Claire Robling, Republican state senator and chair of the Finance Committee, to new University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler is to "toss" the ambition for the U to become a top research university in multiple fields and focus on agriculture-related fields (agriculture being the primary industry of her district).

She says we don't have the "resources" to achieve it ("First-day-of-school advice for the guy in charge," Aug. 28).

This is the single-issue, antitax chant of our Republican Legislature that is turning Minnesota into a less and less competitive state with lower education attainment, higher unemployment and fewer well-paying jobs.

Where would the Minnesota economy be if a prior generation had been unwilling to invest, yes, tax dollars in the U research that led to the founding of our mining and medical-device industries?


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Don't delude yourself; population will grow


In response to Prof. Allen Levine's commentary about world hunger ("It's world hunger (and it's our world,)" Aug. 21), one letter writer and several readers who commented online argue for population control as an essential part of the equation.

In reality, fertility rates have dropped markedly over past decades. Demographers understand that, even at today's relatively low rates, today's children will have children of their own faster than older generations will die off.

An aggressive program to lower fertility rates will not alter that reality.

For those concerned about feeding, clothing and fueling the world's population, accepting that we will have another 3 billion residents on the planet by 2050 is essential.


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A bit of cross-training is in order for students


I was encouraged to read about businesses partnering with schools to incorporate ideas for helping students make the transition into the workforce ("Businesses writing new school lessons," Aug. 26).

A spokesperson for the "Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood" asks if the purpose of education is to create literate people who can think critically or to train a workforce. Why not do both?

In my post-Depression high school years, in addition to all the classes needed to enter college, there were courses in journalism, typing and shorthand, bookkeeping and accounting, home economics, auto mechanics, woodworking, mechanical drawing and others for those who could not or would not be going to college.

I know that the higher the percentage of students who go on to college, the better the reputation for a school, but even today there are many who will not attend college and who have no marketable skills with which to obtain a job.

The ideal is for students who do not attend college to be able to think critically, and for those who do go to college to have some exposure to other skills. It is an asset for a college student to know what goes on under the hood of a car, and for those living independently how to do more than microwave a frozen dinner.


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Required reserves stabilize the system


Money that health plans keep in reserves stabilize the state's entire health care system -- that is why reserves are required by law. As spending on care increases, so must reserves.

Minnesota's health plans spend $27.3 million a day, 365 days a year for care -- up 45 percent since 2005. While recent letter writers are concerned that health plans have more dollars in reserve than in the past, the amount needed in reserves is linked to how much is spent on care.

The fact is that as a percent of medical expenses, health plans have just 0.09 percent more in reserves than they did in 2005.

JULIE BRUNNER, executive director; Minnesota Council of Health Plans

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Message may have been lost in translation


Michele Bachmann "jests" that God is using natural disasters to send a message to politicians about spending. Perhaps she should consider that Mother Nature is sending a message to those who deny global warming.


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Putting numbers to public safety


In 2009, the most recent year for which fatal accident data is available, far more Minnesotans died in bicycle and pedestrian accidents (52) than in fires (32).

At the margin, having at least one person working full time to improve bicycle and pedestrian safety in Minneapolis ("Despite fiscal woes, city aims to hire bike coordinator," Aug. 25) is liable to save more lives than one additional firefighter.