As a longtime election judge, having seen absolutely no voters who were trying to abuse Minnesota's voting system, I was left to wonder after reading Lori Sturdevant's Feb. 14 column ("Voter ID is back to haunt Minnesota democracy") : Who exactly does state Sen. Scott Newman think is cheating our voting laws? Black people? White people? Asians? Native Americans? Latinx people? Women? Men? New young voters? The poor? The wealthy? Urbanites? Suburbanites? Outstate residents? Those with haircuts and/or clothing that is "different"? Those with tattoos? Those who served jail time and have now been released? Those with kids? Those without kids? Those with a physical disability? Those who are overweight? Those with new addresses? New residents to Minnesota?
We have in place laws that protect the state's voting system from anyone who is not and cannot be legally registered. So my question to Newman is: "What exactly are you trying to do by introducing this legislation again?"
R.A. Fuller, Woodbury
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I will never understand how Sturdevant and her Democratic allies think. To them, it is horrible to ask for an ID to vote, but I cannot get a fishing license without my ID and my Social Security number. This makes so much sense.
Darcy Kroells, Green Isle, Minn.
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Sturdevant hit the nail squarely on the head. Every word was a Valentine's Day gift to all of us.
First, Minnesotans already voted down this idea eight years ago, and the current author, Scott Newman, cannot prove that the need for it has grown. It is a solution in search of a problem (that doesn't exist). Worse, it's racist. And finally, it is just the latest in a long line of Republican admissions that they cannot win elections without cheating.
Just to be clear, I consider any voter suppression efforts to be cheating. Republicans know that Black people vote Democratic in overwhelming numbers, and it doesn't seem to bother them to deprive Blacks of a vote because "those people" shouldn't have the vote anyway. The GOP is thereby denying them their full humanity. Removing Black-sounding names from the rolls, removing ex-felons to whom voting rights have been restored (and many of whom should not have been arrested in the first place) and making it harder and harder to become registered are just a few methods they have used, along with requiring IDs to vote. Newman is weakening democracy, not strengthening it.
I suggest that Newman find out how many will be disenfranchised by his bill, and compare that number with the number of illegal votes; that will show the world how minuscule is the need, compared with the number he is trying to deprive of their lawful rights. Game over.
Mary McLeod, St. Paul
Measures emerge: Fairness by the numbers, relocation by the hats
Thank you to Gov. Tim Walz for proposing a budget that funds paid family leave, education and help for those hardest hit by the pandemic ("Walz plan provides small tax cut to many," Feb. 14). As noted in the Business section the same day, wages have recovered quickly and have gone up for people at the upper end of the income spectrum, but job loss is still enormous at the low end of the income scale and among people of color.
Critics are correct that the tax incidence study referenced in another Feb. 14 article, "New income bracket just part of the tax picture for highest earners," shows that an increase in corporate tax will be paid in part by individuals in the form of increased prices. The tax incidence also shows that the top 10% of households by income pay total taxes — income, sales, property and miscellaneous — at a lower percentage of income than most other households. Therefore, it is eminently fair for Walz to ask for an increase in the income tax on households with income over $1 million or with high capital gains.
All of us, no matter where we live or what our job status is, deserve to have access to a quality education, the ability to take time off to care for ourselves and our families, and support when we have lost a job through no fault of our own. And we all need to pitch in our fair share.
Leota Goodney, Northfield
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Though never having had an income of the level that would be affected by the governor's tax proposal, I was interested by the perspectives presented in last Sunday's article on the subject. There is too little coverage of the actual unintended consequences of tax policy.
Before I retired and prior to the 2017 tax changes, I was fortunate to earn enough to touch the federal 33% bracket and the state 9.85% bracket. My wife, an engineer, worked for a local electronics company in Eagan. My income placed her, including her Medicare and Social Security taxes, at a level of taxation that exceeded 50% of her taxable income. Instead of working for half pay, she left the workforce and devoted more time to our daughter with cerebral palsy.
In the 25 years we have lived in Minnesota, major Minnesota-based corporations involved in mergers have domiciled elsewhere. This happened even when the acquiring company was Minnesota-based (Norwest). The exodus of these corporations has cost Minnesota thousands of jobs. Walk around Tampa with a University of Minnesota hat on, and you will meet an amazing number of Minnesota "refugees." Even California — with the nation's best weather, Silicon Valley, Stanford, Cal Tech and the entertainment industry — is losing residents due to taxes. California's aircraft industry has decamped to Washington state, South Carolina and Alabama (Airbus) along with the smaller, and far more numerous, subcontractors. Tesla is the only car manufacturer left there, and it's expanding in Texas. Austin, Texas, is booming!
Walz's proposed $2.7 million threshold on the estate tax will ensnare many middle-income families who dutifully funded their IRAs/401(k)s over decades and paid off their homes by retirement. Why penalize responsible behavior?
There is also the question of fairness. Why should, for example, a doctor working for the Mayo Clinic have a $2.7 million estate tax exemption while another doctor in an LLC has a $5 million exemption?
The net result of the governor's proposal will be a lot more U of M hats in Tampa and more traffic in Austin.
Corey Glab, Prior Lake
In regard to the "Other Views" published on Feb. 14 ("Biden's unity pledge: Stimulus plan is a sign he'd rather go it alone"): It seems to me that when Republicans vote to spend money, it is because it is needed, but when Democrats vote to spend money, it is pork and vote-buying. The article ends: "The downside for the president is that he and his fellow Democrats will own this giant vote-buying porkapalooza all by themselves." I disagree. That is the upside.
Montez Beard, Lilydale
WOLVES IN THE NORTH METRO
The cruelest solution: Snares
The Feb. 7 issue carried an article about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service eliminating a pack of wolves that had lived on the outskirts of the north metro area. Several of the wolves were shot. What disturbed me most was the mention that one of the pups had been killed by being caught in a snare. One of the most painful ways an animal can die is to be caught in a snare. Once the snare tightens around the animal's neck, blood travels to the brain but not back out again. This causes a death called "jelly head." Blood pools in the head as it swells, exerting excruciating pressure and pain on the animal. It was very disheartening to learn that the Fish and Wildlife Service still uses snares. Time is long overdue for these barbaric trapping methods to be banned.
Lynne Farmer, Rushford, Minn.
The writer is a retired state park naturalist.