Pawlenty's budget is simply un-Minnesotan

I was at the State Capitol last Thursday with several hundred other people with developmental disabilities, their parents and their support staff. Our message to the governor and our state legislators was, "Cuts to human services is the same as a tax increase on our most vulnerable citizens!" After hearing about the governor's budget proposal, it sounds like our message hasn't sunk in yet.

My daughter has significant disabilities, and the programs that have benefited her for many years have helped her live in the community and become more independent. Instead of promoting greater independence, however, the governor's budget increases the burden on our vulnerable citizens. By asking them to help bear the burden of balancing the budget, his cuts are, in effect, a tax on the already limited resources we provide to our citizens with disabilities.



In these uncertain times, some of us are fortunate to have enough income or assets to balance our budgets. Minnesota isn't so lucky. Its budget doesn't balance.

Is the state going to ask me to help out? Probably not. The state's just going to spend less on people, organizations and communities who are already having a tough time.

Come on. This is Minnesota. We can do better than this!



In reading the recommendations of Gov. Pawlenty that we reduce the taxes of the rich corporations and cut the life-saving services for the poor, I was reminded of Jonathan Swift's 1729 satire. He recommended that a solution to economic problems of England was for the rich to eat the poor children of Ireland, and he suggested ways to cook the children so they might be more tasty.

I wonder who are we as a people when something that was satire almost 300 years ago now passes as political discussion.



Could be preferable to government gridlock

After reading James Lenfestey's Counterpoint ("Third parties are nothing but trouble," Feb. 13) I have a simple question for him: Does he prefer the low graduation rates; poorly plowed streets and high property taxes of Minneapolis' single party political system or the $13 trillion national debt of our federal two-party system?



Jim Lenfestey is right that plurality elections have not served Minnesota well, but simply blaming the "spoiler" Independence Party is not a solution to the problem. Ranked choice voting lets voters choose their true first-choice candidate and also specify who would be acceptable to them as a second or even third choice. It encourages competition among multiple parties, without spoiled elections and split votes, and produces a winner who has the support of the majority.


Health care reform

Advice for Minnesotans and their U.S. senators

I am 91 years old and am thankful to be in good health. With that said, it may seem that if funding cuts were made for Medicare Advantage, it wouldn't affect me much. That would be an incorrect assumption. Without my Medicare Advantage plan, I do not know how I would have been able to afford the appropriate medical treatment over the years.

It is a great security and comfort to know I will receive top-quality health care coverage through my Medicare Advantage plan. I urge Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken not to back health reform that cuts Medicare Advantage.



I see health care costs continuing to rise until two factors change:

• We begin to stop asking what my health insurance can do for me and start asking what can I do for my health assurance. (Exercise, adequate rest, eat right. Just do it. No excuses or rationale.)

• We begin to see that money is not the greatest asset. Health and relationships are the greatest asset. (You don't know this until you don't have your health and your relationships aren't fulfilling.)