Mark Swenson, East Grand Forks, ND, Letters: Don’t let Minnesota join race to the bottomMark Swenson writes in about Minnesota's budget.
By: Mark Swenson, Grand Forks Herald
EAST GRAND FORKS — After reading Thursday’s editorial, I had to write in response (“Dayton tackles revenue but not costs,” Page A4).
Evidently, the Herald’s editorial board has forgotten that the past few years have left Minnesota in the lurch.
The Republicans in Minnesota refused to bring in any additional revenue to offset the budget deficits. They insisted on cuts and budget gimmicks to reduce dollars to everything. Kick the ball down the road was their rallying cry.
Cities and towns lost most of their Local Government Aid, schools haven’t had a true increase in their general fund revenue since the early 2000s (from 2003-2013, per pupil aid went up by 13.5 percent while inflation was nearly 43 percent), and many state infrastructure needs are showing.
Now, Gov. Mark Dayton proposes a different solution to putting off the pain and actually deals with the fact that Minnesota is a great state and wants to keep it there.
But the Herald’s editorial board has always shown a loathsome attitude toward public schools and government. It shows up in every editorial. Take Thursday’s example: Really? Saying that North Dakota taxpayers get a better bang for their buck by keeping their teachers at one of the lowest rates of pay in the nation? Are you kidding me?
A state with strong bargaining rights gives a higher standard of living to its citizens. The only thing “right to work” means is that people have the right to work for less.
It is time for the Herald’s editorial board to wake up and see what really is going on. Last time I checked, North Dakota can do a heck of a lot these days due to the oil spigot being turned on and running unhindered. It is pretty easy to talk tax relief when you have free money rolling in and you can’t find enough lock boxes to stash it away forever.
We here in Minnesota don’t have the option. Bringing our standard of education and living down to the level of North Dakota is not the answer; getting North Dakota up to Minnesota’s level of success is what should be happening.
Just take a drive in the country and compare the quality of the rural roads sometime. Case closed.