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Letter: The era of Minnesota's decline

In addition to the great fox pee case that has so riveted this town's attention and that has apparently attracted the attention of crackpots from all over the nation, a few other interesting items have appeared in the news recently.

The Feb. 23 edition of this newspaper carried a front-page account of the reluctance by some members of the Willmar City Council to make a civility pledge. One member suggested reciting the Ten Commandments at council meetings. In light of the recent antics of the Willmar-Alabama wing of the City Council, I am much more concerned about the displays of overt stupidity than about incivility.

I propose that council members make the following pledge: I (your name) do solemnly pledge that I will to the best of my ability avoid saying stupid things and doing stupid things that embarrass me and my community despite my strong personal inclination to say and do stupid things.

On the subject of stupid things, according to the Feb. 25 edition of this newspaper, Gov. Pawlenty was recently in town urging support for his proposed budget that, in the face of a $5 billion state deficit, proposes to reduce revenue further by cutting the "business tax" and then kicking thousands of less fortunate Minnesotans off of their health coverage to save money. The term "business tax" that Republicans have begun using recently seems to be a too clever replacement for the term "corporate tax." They evidently think they can put one over on the public if they refer to the corporate tax as the "business tax."

Minnesotans have traditionally paid higher taxes than residents of many other states. Those higher taxes have enabled Minnesotans to be more educated and skilled, to have higher average incomes, to have higher levels of employment and job growth, better public infrastructure, and a better safety net than the residents of the low-tax states. The Pawlenty era has been the era of Minnesota's decline.