Open Forum for week of Feb. 21
EDITOR’S NOTE: Letters will be accepted for the Open Forum for publication in the next available issue after receipt. Letters may be sent to Forest Lake Times, 880 SW 15th St., Forest Lake, or by e-mail to email@example.com. Letters should not exceed 250 words and must be signed with the writer’s name, address and telephone number. Deadline is noon Monday. The newspaper reserves the right to edit letters and assure that rules of libel and good taste are not violated.
Back At It
Minnesota Republicans are up to their deceptive practices again. They are claiming they turned a $6 billion state budget deficit into a $1 billion surplus. That is wrong. The perceived change to the budget happened in spite of the Republican-controlled House and Senate!
Because these Republicans reduced state revenue sharing, our county commissioners had to reduce the money they give to our cities and townships, causing our (the 95 percent) property taxes to balloon while our home values dropped. These same Republicans, after shutting down our government for weeks, also withheld $2.4 billion from our schools, making our administrators have to severely cut budgets, increase class size and cut programs. All this was done to save the wealthiest Minnesotans from paying one more cent in state income taxes, even though it has been proven they pay a much smaller percentage than we, the 95 percent, do.
They said they would refuse state dollars but the Republican House used the federal money to contribute significantly to their so-called surplus. This shifting of money shouldn’t be a surprise after reading how the state Republican party couldn’t keep up with the rent of their own office space.
These Republicans are again telling our new Democratic leaders they will not support tax increases to the wealthiest 5 percent. They are still not listening to we the people. Now is the time to call your Minnesota state representative and senator, because they are deciding how to balance the budget for the coming year!
End the Monarchy
As the City of Forest Lake has grown through development and annexation of the former township it appears evident the present City Council composed of one mayor and four council people is no longer adequate to represent the people of Forest Lake.
The spending and taxing power now rests in the hands of just three people. The majority of the council vote determines the outcome. I believe the city needs to expand the council positions to at least two more seats, maybe even four more with the mayor voting only in the case of a tie. It is true we do elect our city officials to represent us, but it is obvious this is too small a group to represent the diverse needs of the citizens.
The issues the city is now facing would never have happened if the council were larger.
I think it’s time the citizens are represented. The other city commissions are composed of more members for this very reason. Let’s end the monarchy.