On behalf of my entire family, I express our profound disgust with the “elected representatives” of our Minnesota Legislature. I felt an important step in guiding my four children into their adult lives was in teaching them the give-and-take in learning to play with others; they learned, and each works within communities of people with differing ideas. You as a body seem to have missed that stage of development.
You appear only to listen to those holding out your campaign dollars. When did you forget about the people and become so obsessed with the “me” — your election, your grab of your perceived slice of power? Shame on every one of you. You deserve to be replaced.
Meanwhile, the people of Minnesota are the ones stuck with the abysmal consequences of your churlish nonaction — we are the reality of life, not a reality show. As a lover of Minnesota and its citizens’ strong ethic of caring for one another, I’m as embarrassed with this incompetence and waste of time, money and constructive ideas as I am as an American with the Donald Trump debacle. What has happened to our society?
Implosion? This body of legislators is a continuing saga of ineptitude.
Claudia O’Neill, Burnsville
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Please, Gov. Mark Dayton, do not call a special session of the Legislature. Let the legislators of both parties, the party activists who recruited and endorsed them, and the voters who voted for them bear the consequences of the Legislature’s inability to get its work done.
It is tempting to blame one side or the other for the stalemate, but that is exactly what the politicians want us to do, in hopes that blame can be pinned on the other side for electoral advantage. The legislators and lobbyists knew the deadline. They could have gotten their work done if they had wanted to. This has been going on too many years. They have had their chance. Go home and face the voters in November.
Jay Fonkert, Roseville
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So whom do we indict for negligence when the next bridge collapses or the next fatal accident occurs on a poorly maintained road? This reminds me of the Legislature of do-nothing budget-cutting during Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s era, during which the Interstate 35W bridge collapsed, blamed on a structural defect that could have been corrected if funds had been properly appropriated.
Guess our legislators have short memories. Perhaps they will also have short tenures come election time.
Robert Riskin, Minneapolis
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The Legislature failed to pass a bonding bill as the session ended. Despite the House doing its job and looking out for all of Minnesota, Senate DFLers dug their heels in. Sen. Ron Latz even tweeted: “No light rail funding, no bonding bill. When will the House figure this out?” With roads, bridges and water towers crumbling in Minnesota, Sen. Latz, and others, refused to pass a bonding bill unless it contained funding for light rail. They owe the taxpayers of Minnesota a collective “sorry.”
Chris Lund, Hamburg
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The weekend’s legislative meltdown makes clear how dramatically Minnesota is diverging from most of the country on transportation.
This spring, new light-rail lines opened in Phoenix, Seattle, Denver and Los Angeles. New streetcar service begins this year in Cincinnati, Kansas City, and Washington, D.C. In total, at least a dozen rail lines across the U.S. will open in 2016.
Meanwhile, here in Minnesota, the House Republicans were bent on killing Southwest light rail. They claimed to support buses, but their transportation proposals were very short on bus projects and long on borrowing and spending for highway expansion.
In the end, neither transportation nor a bonding bill got done. As a result, Minnesota could lose a federal transit grant of nearly $1 billion to another state. Goodbye, construction jobs.
Jobs are not the only thing Minnesota is going to lose if these anti-transit actions continue. We will lose young workers, retirees and businesses to states that are making investments in a more cost-effective, equitable and cleaner transportation future.
Barb Thoman, St. Paul
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There has been a lot of use of the word “revolution” when young voters describe how they feel about Bernie Sanders, and why they are putting so much energy into following his presidential campaign, door-knocking and attending his rallies. What some of them missed was that we almost had a revolution at the State Capitol this session: paid family leave, which would have allowed hardworking Minnesotans to take care of sick family members and bond with their infant children for 12 weeks without worrying about loss of income. This would have been a game-changer, especially for working mothers. A “revolution,” if you will. While this managed to pass the Senate, it failed to secure enough votes in the House to be included in the tax bill. This is due in part to the failure of the current elected officials to work together across party lines to make it happen, despite the support it had from constituents. So to all the young voters who are fired up about getting involved and starting that revolution, I am here to tell you that it starts locally. It’s time to start paying attention to your own state’s elections. Time to help elect people who will support those little revolutions that may impact your life someday.
Kara McManus, Minneapolis
If we want people to stay here, are the rich necessarily the ones?
Peter J. Nelson and Dale Kurschner argue that Minnesota’s tax policies attract, and repel, certain kinds of people (“Take a deeper look: Minnesota is, in fact, losing the ultrarich,” May 21). They focus on the migratory patterns of the rich to and from the state. But if tax policy attracts and repels people like Nelson and Kurschner say it does, then the Legislature ought to consult with labor experts to determine the state’s labor needs and craft tax policies to attract the people we need, whether health care workers, teachers, carpenters or whatever, and not necessarily the rich.
The authors seem to assume that the state needs as many rich people as it can get and that tax policy should be crafted to lure and keep the rich here. But the authors fail to distinguish between the productive rich and the idle rich — that is, between successful innovators and entrepreneurs on the one hand and trust-fund kids, heirs and speculators on the other. Our state economy probably can use more of the first kind of wealth but the other kind maybe not so much.
This is a potential area where tax policy should be allowed to work its demographic magic: Clear out the idle to make room for the (not necessarily rich) productive.
Kenneth Jopp, St. Paul
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It would appear that a May 23 letter writer was channeling Marie Antoinette when he suggested that Xcel Energy customers critical of recent rate increases should simply purchase company stock to collect dividends to recoup losses. For those of you who snoozed through history in high school, if this is even still taught, in the mid 1700s in France there was a widespread bread shortage, about which Queen Marie Antoinette was commonly thought to have remarked, “Let them eat cake.” Years later, Antoinette was convicted of high treason and executed by guillotine.
So, if I’m living paycheck to paycheck and unable to afford my higher electric bills, I should simply buy stock in Xcel. Mmmm, I like cake!
Bret R. Collier, Big Lake, Minn.