The tax hike called temporary is here to stay
The Minnesota Senate tax committee is proposing an income tax increase to help the state out of its financial woes. But committee members also are saying that this will be just a temporary increase, and that it will expire in 2014.
I'll believe that expiration date when I've seen our legislators repeal the "temporary" 3 percent sales tax that was instituted decades ago to bridge a gap in revenue. Temporary has become permanent, and has grown by more than 250 percent. Don't think for a moment that a temporary income tax increase won't find itself suddenly becoming permanent.
DICK BIELKE, EDINA
PERSONAL CARE ASSISTANCE
The final safety net for people with disabilities
The disability community agrees very strongly that we cannot tolerate any fraudulent Personal Care Assistance (PCA) practices (editorial, April 20). We support many current proposals that ensure fraudulent providers are not allowed to continue. At the same time, we believe that valuable PCA services for thousands of Minnesotans should be preserved when making changes to the program.
Much of the recent growth in the PCA program can be attributed to two deliberate policy decisions made in Minnesota. First, the state decided to serve individuals with disabilities in the community rather than in more costly institutions. Second, we drastically cut other community-based services, which left the PCA program as the final safety net for people with disabilities in our communities.
Many of the PCA proposals moving forward in the name of "reform" simply eliminate or limit PCA services for many of the individuals and families who genuinely rely on this program to live in and contribute to our communities. The needs of these 6,000 to 6,800 individuals with disabilities and older Minnesotans will not go away if their PCA services are cut. We will simply pay for them elsewhere in the system at a much higher cost.
STEVE LARSON AND Jeff Nachbar,
St. Paul; cochairs, Minnesota Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities
Zoning for trader joe's
If its granted, every city grocery is disadvantaged
Jon Tevlin's April 22 column about the interest by Trader Joe's to obtain a variance to build a store in the Whittier neighborhood was an insult to members of the Wedge Co-op and the community they have served for 35 years. I drive past numerous grocery stores to shop at the Wedge because of the high-quality food, as well as the kind and knowledgeable people who work there. They do this at prices as low or lower than the corporate chain stores like Trader Joe's. Perhaps the analyst from Mintel International who made the derogatory comments about co-ops and their shoppers could learn from the success of the Wedge Natural Foods Co-op.
Most important, why should an international corporation, such as Trader Joe's, be given the advantage of selling wine and beer when this has been denied to the Wedge and every other local grocery business in Minneapolis? It makes you wonder why the mayor and City Council members would risk alienating constituents to get this passed?
KATHLEEN DION, MINNEAPOLIS
THE U.S. SENATE RACE
It's official: Coleman is delaying the inevitable
Many have suspected Republican Norm Coleman of just trying to delay the inevitable seating of Al Franken as Minnesota's second senator. That seemed overly cynical until his legal team's recent filing, asking for more time to file a brief "to fully develop and consider the issues on appeal."
If Coleman and his attorneys have a good case for an appeal, which they have been developing since before the ruling, they should be able to file quickly. Their need for more time indicates that they know they don't have a good case for appeal.
Clearly, the only reason Coleman is appealing is to delay the inevitable.
JAMES MATHEWSON, FARIBAULT, MINN.
The ABCs of beekeeping
When honey bees sting, it's for a good cause
James Lileks ("Beekeeping's all the buzz, but it comes with ... bees," April 19) would like to have his readers believe that honey bees exist only to sting children, when in fact honey bees sting to protect their hive.
The "bee" on the school bus was more likely a yellow jacket or a wasp.
Lileks should have informed his readers that even in the city, without pollination, there will not be fruit on the fruit trees, nor flowers, etc. With the decline of honey bees in the United States, educating readers about the value of this resource might be a good idea.
LARRY CHISMAR, CROSBY, MINN.;
MEMBER, NORTH CENTRAL
THE DEBATE ABOUT TORTURE
American standards are independent of Al-Qaida
The writer of the April 22 Letter of the Day suggests that since Al-Qaida wouldn't abide by the Geneva Conventions then the United States needn't either.
So, when we seek ethical guidance for our actions do we no longer ask ourselves, "What would Jesus do?", but rather, "What would Khalid Sheikh Mohammed do?"
Is this what has become of our city on a hill?
BILL KARNS, MINNEAPOLIS