Open Forum for week of May 30

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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 clint.riese@ecm-inc.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.

 

Tax Effect Hazy at Best

“We haven’t had a tax increase for 10 years.”

This plaintive response came from one of our legislators at the Capitol last week. I felt this was almost the same as saying that he hadn’t had an auto accident in 10 years and was due. A tax increase and an auto accident can both be tragedies.

One of the many taxes that are now the law of the land is an increase – almost a doubling – of the tax on cigarettes. I am not a user, but I know that this increase will trigger some reactions from the public.

Prohibition is a word used to describe the scarcity of a commonly used product through governmental action. Bootlegging is the public’s response. Minnesota has four adjacent states which will have lower-priced tobacco products after July, when our tax goes into effect. There has also always been a pipeline of illegal cigarettes that are brought into the state from the Carolinas without any federal or state taxes applied.

This tax is designed to bring in $400 million. I believe that with the bootlegging that will naturally occur, the state will collect only a portion of that, which is sad, for as I understand it, this is the money designed to take care of the state’s share of the Viking stadium.

The tragedy which may occur is that the state will feel that, with the loss of taxes, it will have to stamp out the bootlegging. This would prompt border inspections and high-speed chases.

Tom Obst
Wyoming

 

No Charity in Loophole 

A charity used to be an organization that did real charitable work, like helping the elderly, poor, sick and disabled, and could seek tax-free status for doing so.

These days a charity is a group of lobbyists spending money from wealthy donors on trying to influence elections. The 501C4 status allowing this practice of getting tax-free status to spend money on elections is a joke. This is not what a charitable tax-free status was intended for and is morally corrupt and legally questionable.

Since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that corporations are people and the unsavory practice of using money supposedly intended for charitable purposes for buying elections went into full swing last election cycle, previous abuses that happened were inconsequential compared to the blatant buying and outright owning of politicians that is occurring now.

Our once-great and nearly clean election process has been corrupted by elitist, right-wing billionaires and politicians along with the far right of the Supreme Court who believe that the corporations and wealthy should rule the country for themselves and that us regular, working folks are just lucky to be allowed to exist in their world.

Max Anderson
Linwood

 

Check the Manual

It seems Rep. Bob Barrett has trouble with the facts. The February ruling from the Office of Administrative Hearings where he was found to have committed a misdemeanor, fined and reprimanded by the three-judge panel for having false information in a campaign flyer is one huge example.

After going through all that, one would expect that Rep. Barrett would be very careful in what he writes for the public. However, in his 2013 Legislative Survey, on question eight, he makes the statement: “The Chisago County Auditor and Assessor are currently elected positions.”

The county auditor is, in fact, an elected position. The county assessor is not. Chisago County wants both the auditor and treasurer elected positions to be appointed by the board once their current terms expire in 2015 and would like Rep. Barrett to carry that legislation.

There’s a big difference between a county assessor and a county treasurer. Once again, a simple check of the Legislative Manual or other resources and Rep. Barrett would have avoided both these mistakes.

Georgia Anderson
Center City

  • http://www.EricLangness.com Eric Langness

    Georgia Anderson –

    You’ve made a point, in fact as far as I’m aware your facts are correct. What you’ve shown to me is that in all your digging for dirt on Rep. Bob Barrett that all you’ve found is an error he admitted to months ago and a minor error on a question survey. We all make mistakes and your inability to find anything of significance on this representative gives me all the more reason to walk in parades with him in the coming election cycle and send him a check this time too!

    Thanks for doing your research and reporting to us that you’ve found nothing to be concerned about.

  • Phil Fishman

    Max is at it again. He has his President, who is a Democrat, his state Senators who are Democrats, a Democrat as Governor Goofy, a Democratically controlled state Senate and House and yet Max is still convinced that wealthy Republican donors are corrupting the otherwise clean electoral process. It’s already been proven that the IRS targeted conservative and Tea Party groups, yet Max has the audacity to make such mindless accusations about corporations buying elections. If so, they certainly haven’t been very effective. Maybe it’s because of all the Union money filtering in – which Max doesn’t seem to have a problem with because it suits his political perogative. Or perhaps it’s the fact that Democrats essentially buy votes through their entitlement agenda – make nearly a majority of the population dependent upon aid and assistance from the government and they will surely vote for you. Sounds a lot like socialism to me… If you truly believe in your position, why don’t you have the same scrutiny for the Hollywood campain contributions and George Soreos? Oh wait, it’s because you agree with their liberal causes.

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