Letters to the editor for Feb. 15, 2013

Disregarding Constitution

To the Editor:

Am I missing something? The Constitution of the United States of America makes it perfectly clear that two of our basic rights include freedom of religion and freedom of association.

It appears to me that newly-elected Sen. John Hoffman is disregarding these two aspects of the Constitution.

I believe the testimony that he gave (while he was an Anoka-Hennepin School Board member) on Oct. 22 asking for the removal of Anti-Bullying Task Force member Bryan Lindquist is telling.

His reasons or motives? Hoffman objects to Lindquist’s presence on the task force because of Bryan’s religious beliefs and association with the Parents Action League.  Go to www.parentsactionleague.org  to read Sen. Hoffman’s complete testimony.

Just who will he be representing in the state Senate as he begins his first term? Will he uphold all of our rights, or only a few of his choosing? Will he represent me, you, or only those who think like he does?

Marshall Posey

Burying us in slew of taxes

To the Editor:

After promising to raise taxes only on “the rich” Gov. Dayton and his fellow Farmer Laborites are going to bury all of us in a slew of regressive taxes that will punish the poor and working classes. The list is exhaustive, here are just a very few examples.

Live in the seven-county metro area? You’ll pay an extra .25 percent sales tax to fund mass transit.

And then there are the new sales taxes for services.  Do you get your hair cut? You’ll now be taxed for it. Oil change? Yep, more taxes. Do your kids take swimming lessons? You’ll now be taxed for that, too.

Here’s my favorite. Do you pay taxes? You’ll now be taxed for paying your taxes! That’s because you’ll now be charged a sales tax for going to a tax preparer.

These regressive sales tax increases (too many to list here) punish the poor because the poor pay a higher percentage of their disposable income in order to cover them.

Why are the Farmer Laborites ditching their big campaign promise not to raise taxes on average Minnesotans right out of the gate?

Why is the DFL going to raise taxes on everyone and darn near everything?

The answer is contained in the governor’s budget.  So they can increase state spending at three times the rate of inflation.

Tom Knisely

Poor, middle class tax hike

To the Editor:

For years, Gov. Dayton has been clear that he wants the rich to pay more in taxes while claiming he will protect middle and low income Minnesotans from tax hikes.

After the governor proposed his budget to the Legislature, I was surprised with the myriad amount of tax increases that will hit poor and middle class Minnesotans the hardest.

The governor’s proposal calls for $3.7 billion in new taxes. This is the largest tax increase ever proposed by a Minnesota governor in our state’s history. So let’s outline what that means for poor and middle class Minnesotans:

A 5.5 percent sales tax on over-the-counter medication plus an additional .25 percent sales tax in Anoka County due to the seven-county metro area tax for buses and rail. A bottle of children’s Tylenol at Target is $6.99. Add the new taxes on top of that, that bottle becomes $7.39.

The sales tax applied to auto repairs will increase the cost of a standard oil change from $19.99 to $21.14 with the 5.75 percent sales tax.

Or what about a more expensive repair on the body of your car that costs $250? Add the 5.75 percent sales tax and you now have to pay $264.38.

Want your son to get a haircut? A standard haircut at Great Clips is $10.99. Add the 5.75 percent sales tax and you’re playing $11.62.

Gov. Dayton has also spent a lot of time touting the $500 property tax credit rebate. Keep in mind this rebate is for homeowners only with no guarantee that the cities will pass this on to the homeowner.

Essentially, this is a gimmick where the government can hand you money from their right hand and take it out of your pocket with their left hand.

The business-to-business tax proposed by the governor is going to cost companies more to conduct routine business in the state.

For instance, it will now cost a great Minnesota company like General Mills millions to use legal or accounting services for ordinary business purposes. The cost will be passed on to consumers in the form of a higher priced box of Cheerios.

The cost of energy for Minnesota families is also likely to go up. With an extra proposed 10 percent solar energy mandate, the electric bill for our household will jump at least 16 percent. A home of around 2,000 square feet would likely see an increase of $22 per month.

As isolated events, perhaps the effect of these individual tax increases may not seem too burdensome.

However, when added up on top of the fact our paychecks just got smaller with the payroll tax increasing again, our families – especially the poor and middle class – cannot sustain the growth of government under Gov. Dayton’s budget.

Please contact Rep. Peggy Scott and Sen. Branden Petersen to tell them to oppose Gov. Dayton’s budget proposal.

And while you are at it, contact Gov. Dayton and tell him that his budget that spends $16 in new money to every $1 in reductions is anything but balanced and will hit the poor and middle class the most.

DeeDee Larson

Budget helps state grow

To the Editor:

It’s great to see a governor finally propose a budget that will help Minnesota grow.

Dayton’s plan does that. It realizes what’s important – investing in our kids, investing in our colleges, investing in our transportation network in a way that supports good jobs now and into the future.

It’s great to see a governor finally deal with budget deficits without using gimmicks to dodge the real problem.

Dayton’s plan takes a balanced approach – it’s got some cuts, and also asks all of us to kick in a little.

It’s great to see a governor who’s getting rid of corporate tax loopholes, who’s getting rid of tax advantages that benefit the rich and who’s finally looking out for the middle class.

Dayton’s not only making sure the top 2 percent pay the same share as the rest of us. His property tax rebate will make a big difference for those of us who have seen our local taxes go up and up.

And his commitment to LGA and local schools means our cities, public safety, public works and libraries will finally be able to stabilize their finances and preserve the services we need.

Mike Nelson
Coon Rapids

Improving education

To the Editor:

Many of you know I have dedicated much of my life to improving our schools and strengthening the learning opportunities available to all children. Now in the state Senate, I am proud to be part of legislation authorizing funds for voluntary all-day kindergarten.

Last week, the Finance–E-12 Division committee I serve on started a much-needed discussion about all-day K funding for all Minnesota children.

Numerous studies show quantifiable education benefits of full day kindergarten: improved literacy, language development and math skills.

When we look at investment in all-day K, we see a significant financial return.

Economists with the Federal Reserve of Minneapolis estimate 7 to 16 percent in annual monetary returns for every dollar invested in early education.

Some may argue that all-day K is government intrusion into family life.

To that, I want to remind people that the legislation proposed is for voluntary all-day K. Parents and schools have a choice about which kind of program is best for their kids and their district.

More than half of Minnesota children already participate in all-day kindergarten. However, some of these are fee-based programs making full-day K an impossible option for some low-income families.

Lengthening the school day at an early age will improve Minnesota’s educational outcomes and help put our kids in the best position possible for future success.

John Hoffman
DFL-Brooklyn Park, Champlin, and Coon Rapids

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