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Tuesday Talk:  Why protect millionaires over students?

July 12, 2011 By Joe Sheeran, Communications Director

With cuts, budget shifts, and delayed payments, Minnesota has been balancing its budget for the last decade partially on the backs of our school children. To maintain their “no-new-tax” pledge, conservatives are floating the idea of another K-12 funding shift.

Why are we protecting millionaires over Minnesota’s future workforce?  

Why are business leaders willing to sacrifice Minnesota’s best long-term economic development asset for short-sighted fiscal policy?      

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  • Jerome Linser says:

    July 12, 2011 at 8:39 am

    Very simple answers:
    1. Educate only their Children so they can perpetuate their dominance.
    2. Uneducated populations means lots of cheap future labor.
    3. Foder for their wars.

  • Rick says:

    July 12, 2011 at 8:49 am

      One has to admire, grudgingly, Grover
    Norquist’s genius in the pursuit of a no-government nation.  His vision of starving the beast until it can be “drowned in a bathtub” is being enacted nationally and locally.  It
    remains to be seen where the initial
    drowning will occur.

  • Geryon says:

    July 12, 2011 at 9:03 am

    Both sides claim they are listening to their constituents. Unfortunately, neither side is listening to ALL their constituents (especially the Republicans). Both sides seem to be listening only to the people who give them the most money. It’s very disheartening.

  • Mike Downing says:

    July 12, 2011 at 9:17 am

    Here are other questions to ask:
    1) Why do 51% of Americans pay NO federal income tax?
    2) Why do 43% of Minnesotans pay no state income tax?
    3) Is the answer to both of the above questions the Democrats want a majority to not pay taxes to ensure their reelection and the further destruction of America?

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    July 12, 2011 at 9:47 am

    It is time to move back to the Independent School District model, (pre teacher union). It is time to return education decisionmaking and funding to the local districts. While some adjustments may be needed at the state level to help some smaller rural districts, we can eliminate about 90% of the bloat we call the State Dept of Ed. or(Children Families and Learning) by remaking it as a cooperative buying and solutions center instead of it’s present top down, dictatorial, connector to the federal teet. We also need to limit retired educator/administrator ability to run for School Board positions as a way to counter their 30+% dominance on those positions while only being 1% of the population. By pushing power back to the local level we begin to reverse 45 years of movement toward Socialist centralization of power that has steadily undermined our state and country.

  • Bill Graham says:

    July 12, 2011 at 10:01 am

    Can there be much doubt that there is a quid pro quo between the super-rich country club set and the leadership of the Republican Party?  The former shower Republican candidates with cash.  The latter promise on pain of political death they will defend the big tax cuts and tax dodges that have made the deserving rich who they are today.  How else do we explain that from John Boehner at the top all the way down to the most junior state legislator, all Republicans sing in perfect unison from the identical song sheets?  They can’t even tolerate minor variations in rhetoric.  And woe be unto anyone who deviates from the Party line.

    The question is who, besides the Koch brothers, are these super fatcats who are holding the rest of our nation hostage?  We need to know their names and see their pictures.

    Bill Graham

  • Mary S. says:

    July 12, 2011 at 10:05 am

    This is a good question - why indeed? I, for one, am getting very tired of hearing that it is these millionaires that are creating the jobs that will grow our economy. If that is the case - where are the jobs, because they have been enjoying a lower tax rate for some time. Isn’t it possible to create a tax increase on the millionaires that would give them a credit for every job they create. I think they should be paying the same percentage of their income as the rest of us.

  • Joshua says:

    July 12, 2011 at 10:23 am

    It seems that this standoff, in spite of the rhetoric, really seems to be about which side can make the other blink first.  The Governor doesn’t want to appear weak or beholden to any particular interest, while the conservatives have a vested interest in positioning him as ineffective and argumentative (while simultaneously casting themselves in the same light???).  We are seeing this mirrored on the national stage as President Obama and the Republican party “try” to hammer out a deficit deal. All the players are talking about doing the “right thing”, but so far the “right thing” doesn’t seem to include the interests or well being of the majority of Americans.  Our political system, and our politicians are so disappointing.

  • Dave says:

    July 12, 2011 at 10:26 am

    It is the responsibility of the legislature to submit a budget the governor will not veto, or if vetoed, to override that veto with sufficient legislative votes.  If mega-millionaire lobbyists can not muster sufficient votes to override a veto, it is because of the representation the rest of Minnesota’s voters put in place in the last election. 

    A legislature that chooses to ignore both the state constitution and the will of the state’s voters chooses to ignore democracy in the process.  This is not 17th century France, and our legislator’s “let them eat cake” mentality is childish, self-serving, and WILL be remembered come next election!!!

  • Mike Banks says:

    July 12, 2011 at 11:29 am

    I think the Republicans are listening not only to the people that financially supported them, but to the people that actually elected them.

  • Dan Conner says:

    July 12, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    I think education is no longer the concern of the rich because they can easily send their children to private schools, which begs the question about why they feel it is necessary to pay school taxes.  Also, I believe the rich don’t find much use in general public education.  Why would they want educated people to understand the economy and the workings of government.  They only want people to understand the menial duties they assign them.

    I think the rich want to see education deteriorate in our country.  Even if they value deucation, when they compare its value with what they can do with the additional taxes, they say to heck with education.

    I think our country and state have for too long spoiled the rich in our country.  There used to be a time that the rich realized they owed more to the community because of the dispproportionately high benefits they have reaped.  They view shared sacrifice as having to put up with the slovenly middle-class.  I think the rich need to do at least their share of lave and find a place to live that will allow them to “coast.”

    I am also sick of the lies they tell the public through their FOX propaganda machine.  Now that the Newscorps secret is out about hacking in on the public and the political bribes, I think Rupert Murdock might have his first really accountable time in his life.

  • Yi Li You says:

    July 12, 2011 at 12:38 pm

      I don’t understand Republican legislators’ mentality at all. They seem to be so stubborn to protect millionaires, rather than our children, and the mostly needed in society.
      I read Tom Emmer’s article on Star tribune (June 28). I am not agree with what he wrote. He said: “Republicans must not back down”. What he means is that they still want to hang on: “cut off all necessary services for health care, EMA, dental care, etc. for the needed; while opposing tax on the top 2% richest popolation. He advocates to “reform”.

      Now I have question here: to cut off all necessary services are the way of reform? That is too simple-headed.
      We need to reform Medicaid, MN care and GAMC, not by cutting them off. but by taking differrent strategies to reform really.
      The actual strategies can be:
    1) Collect $4-5 monthly premium for MA, GAMC recipients;
    2) Ask them to pay $3.00 co-pay for each office visit;
    3) Ask them to pay some restorative co-pay for dental care like before 2003 for deep cleaning and root canal treatments, but not cut them off.
      These payments are affordable for recipients, and reduce abuse use of recipients on these free medical care. In the meantime, they reduce cost for the state and federal governments.

      4) MA should reduce reimbursement to senior adult day centers to max 3 days per week for each attendant;
      5) MA should also reduce reimbursement to other foster care, group home facilities.
      Keep audit system more efficiently.
    For 4) and 5), these facilities create numerous loop holes between MA and health plans. Health plans reimburse these facilities not based on the daily attendance at all.
      6) With above measures, MA should resume dental benefits to before 2003 level;
      7) Restore EMA for low income LPR who have severe medical conditions, e.g. diabetes, hypertension, and any urgent surgeries, etc not only for LPRs over 65 and below 65.

      Why republican legislators don’t see all of these factors? just stubbornly protect those super rich?

      Yi LI You

  • cathy says:

    July 12, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    We are in this mess because of tax cuts. We are at an all time income tax low equal to the 1950’s. I invite everyone to read Paul Krugman’s commentary in the paper. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in economics. He knows far more than any of us on this subject. The Tea Party has taken reasoning and compromise out of their vocabulary. They are holding not only the citizens of this state hostage but moderate republicans, also. Our state government could collapse because of the posturing of Amy Koch and Kurt Zellers.

  • Bernie Bauhof says:

    July 12, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    Your assertion that conservatives want to protect Millionaires over students is without merit. According to a Star Tribune article the Governor recently offered to abandon his demand to tax the rich if the legislature would agree to sales tax changes, cigarette taxes, sin taxes, and the elimination of some tax breaks. The legislature turned down his offer as they are opposed to tax increases for anyone. The governor on the other hand is perfectly willing to throw the middle class under the bus in order to get his way and increase spending.

  • Everett Flynn says:

    July 12, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    The idea of a further shift in payments to K-12 schools is the most profane obscenity I’ve yet encountered in following politics in Minnesota.  It is truly beyond the pale.  I don’t know how Republicans can manage to spew that from their own throats.  In the desperate, last hours before the deadline, and in the face of the feigned “negotiations” by Republicans, I hear that Gov. Dayton actually bit at this turd.  He can be forgiven for this lapse, although I gather he’s very much ashamed of having been willing to consider such a thing even for an instant. 

    Who knows… maybe another shift will be in the mix when they finally seal the deal on a new budget.

    The fact is, our willingness to effectively steal from our children’s schools (and who really believes that the State will EVER catch up and re-pay schools for these billions of dollars in IOUs???)—our willingness to do this effectively makes us all cowards.  We are ALL complicit in this fiasco.  This is not strategic cost-shifting.  This is not smart budgeting.  The idea that we would resort to such a skeezy solution to our financial problems makes us all the citizenship equivalent of cockroaches.

    For the life of me, I cannot fathom how it is that the local papers and news agencies didn’t absolutely excoriate this idea and its proponents.  It’s obscene. 

    And I thought they were pathetic in California. 

    If anybody’s wondering about T-Paw, this—this current fiasco and obscenity—THIS is the Tim Pawlenty legacy.

  • Ross says:

    July 12, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    The GOP is trying to kill public schools and all things public. Its a nationwide trend (see Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Idaho, etc.)Its been their goal all along. Why do you think they were okay with a “lights on” bill? So that they could then go on to hammer education funding, and force their social agenda.  Dayton saw that coming and didn’t bite, thankfully. The GOP walked in the door certain they’d have a WI/MI situation with Tom Emmer as their king.  It didn’t work out that way, so now their plan B is….stick it to Dayton and all public workers the best they can.


  • Dan Conner says:

    July 12, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    Bernie, are you sure that isn’t Madoff?  Republicans care of tax cuts over education is obvious.  They continually lobby for tax cuts, despite failing educations, roads, bridges, inspections services, and now they want to take Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid away from people who really need it.  That’s concern of money over people. 

    The record and media are replete with evidence Republicans, the selfish bas^%$#$, are only concerned about not paying anything for all the wonderful advantages they have had.

    Considering that 70% of all wealth is inherited, that most of the rich did not “earn” the money, and that there are needy and deserving people in our country and State, only selfishness can describe Republican attitude.  They want to live and make money off of our society, but they don’t want to pay their share.

    I think Republicans need to move to some selfish society where everyone lives for themselves, but it makes no sense to want to be part of a nation and not contribute your share.  The rich aren’t doing their share.

  • Rick says:

    July 13, 2011 at 7:54 am

    What a ridiculous idea this is! I frankly think if we are going to find methods to fund education, I think we should scrap money from property taxes and start looking a a state and national education program.

  • W. C. Salberg says:

    July 13, 2011 at 9:01 am

    Good point….also we have 7,700 millionaires in MN….some say, ‘go ahead tax me’.  Why are we protecting those 7,700 over the 5,000,000 other citizens of MN?  Some of in the middle class say we are willing to pay a little more but let’s move on!We can make some cuts….but let’s move on!!!!

  • Christeen Stone says:

    July 13, 2011 at 11:41 pm

    I appreciated the great ideas above and would just say, I can not understand the thinking of the Legislators in power. I chose to live in Minnesota some 67 years ago because it was such a terrific state. I liked the idea it had Unions to protect the people’s rights and paid a living wage.
    In the nineties we were so progressive we were one of the first to pass a health care bill (Minnesota Care), to have Charter Schools the list goes on. That was because we were willing to invest in the future. Now we are reluctant to ask those
    who profited most to share their profit.
    Doesn’t make sense to me.      CMS

  • Jim Ford says:

    July 19, 2011 at 9:09 am

    I agree with most of the comments made here, but differ on the issue of tax cuts for the rich.  This country has long ignored its responsibilities to education, health costs, infrastructure and myriad other areas.  To address this, while facing the challenges of future energy costs and supply on our society, will require more sacrifice by all. Further, there are a lot of past luxuries, including tax cuts, that we can no longer afford. In contrast, to see our democracy going down the tubes in exchange for a supposed “free market” system is obscene. An unwillingness to pay taxes is unpatriotic!!