WHICH SIDE TO BLAME?
Dayton keeps moving; GOP won't budge
Sunday's front-page headline: "Dayton's moment to decide: Will the embattled governor stick to his principles, or seek compromise?"
The facts in this same story: Gov. Mark Dayton's latest proposal is to reduce his proposed tax increase on the wealthiest in Minnesota so that only $700 million is raised in taxes and $2 billion is found in cuts -- down from $2.9 billion raised through tax increases.
The Republican proposal? More of the Tim Pawlenty approach: Delay payments to schools and spend tomorrow's tobacco revenue today.
A better headline for the story would have read "When will the embattled governor stop compromising and simply give the Republican leaders what they demand?"
PAUL BUDDE, MINNEAPOLIS
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Rep. Greg Davids, R-Preston, reported that his constituents are strengthening his resolve to shut down the state rather than raise taxes on the wealthiest Minnesotans.
He quoted customers at the Branding Iron restaurant, "Hang in there. Don't you dare raise my taxes."
With all due respect, unless there was a meeting of the 7,700 wealthiest Minnesotans at the Branding Iron for cod night, the governor has no intention of raising your taxes, but I am guessing that Davids didn't mention that.
BONNIE JUDE, BROOKLYN CENTER
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Republican legislators asked Dayton to call them into session to pass a bill keeping the government going while they continued to debate the budget. He refused. Dayton alone is responsible for the shutdown.
CHRIS SCHONNING, ANDOVER
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It's interesting the way this Republican Legislature operates. As the last few days of budget negotiations were winding down, Republican negotiators came back with a number of proposed policy changes that Dayton and the Democrats had previously opposed.
These were: new abortion restrictions, needless bargaining rights, photo ID voting requirements, a reduced state workforce and prohibited stem cell research. Who do you think these legislators are getting their orders from, or are these their own ideas?
BEN G. ZIMMERMAN, FALCON HEIGHTS
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It is illogical to shut down the following:
Whatever one's ideological leanings, there are two broad categories of government services that it was simply illogical to shut down.
First, the state requires individuals and businesses to obtain licenses for many of the activities in which they engage. If the licenses have been deemed essential by the state, then issuing them is an essential state function.
Qualified individuals and businesses should not be deprived of their liberties simply because the governor and Legislature have reached an impasse. The court should restore all license-issuing functions immediately.
Second, several activities that have been shut down are net revenue producers for the state, including the racetracks, state parks, Minnesota State Lottery and MnPASS lanes.
It makes no sense for the governor, who is insisting upon an increase in state revenues, to allow these existing revenue sources to lie dormant.
The governor should immediately agree with the Legislature to fund all net-revenue-producing operations. If he refuses to do so, the Legislature should make clear that it will deduct all lost revenues from its proposed $34.2 billion budget.
GREGG J. CAVANAGH, MAPLE GROVE
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Make sure you know meaning of 'millionaire'
I just read "Dayton's moment to decide," and I was disappointed to read: "Dayton's last offer Thursday would have raised income taxes on the state's 7,700 millionaires."
The state has a great many more millionaires than 7,700. The 7,700 is the number of people who make a million dollars a year.
There is a huge difference between a millionaire and someone who makes that much money in one year.
Clearly, raising taxes on the millionaire group is a very different thing than doing so on those who make a million a year.
This fact makes a real difference in how people understand this issue. There are many millionaires who may be struggling in this economy.
There are very few who make a million a year who could not afford a little more state tax.
JOSH REITAN, MINNEAPOLIS
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PUBLIC VS. PRIVATE
One sector suffers more than the other
It rankles me to read the articles in the paper dealing with the hardships that state government workers are going to undergo with the layoffs due to the budget woes. Although I sympathize with their predicament, I find myself shrugging and thinking, "Welcome to the real world."
The private sector has been laying off workers regularly, and, although there are articles about that, there haven't been any of the first-hand hardship stories that the current government situation has evoked.
The difference between the two is quite stark. When laid off in the private sector, we are left to find employment again, lately in a hostile job environment, while the government workers only have to wait for our legislators to pass a new budget.
Hopefully the crisis won't last long -- it's not good for government employees nor the citizenry. However, for those unemployed government employees, be thankful that your unemployment will be short-lived and you won't be forced to compete in a harsh job environment.
STEVEN ERICKSON, BURNSVILLE
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Things to think about come election time
Choosing an effective leader involves more than just buying into campaign sound bites and a candidate's elevated fashion sense or physical attractiveness. All over this country, voters have become lazy, taking party rhetoric as gospel instead of doing their own research.
It is our responsibility to look into past votes, ask the questions we want answered and demand real answers, not fluff disguised as "fiscal conservative/social liberal" policy.
Your candidates should not find an easy ride to office; they should have to claw and scratch their way into public service with answers to you and plans for the issues that matter to you.
You also have a right to examine candidates as people. Are they reasonable, intelligent and willing to admit when they may be "less right?" Are they patient? They need to be, and so do the voters, so we can achieve long-term success.
The current situation is not a dysfunction of our government, or of our chosen leaders; it is a dysfunction of voters' desire for immediate gratification.
LISA GONZALEZ, MINNEAPOLIS