Governor Dayton seems to have survived all the flap and negativism about increasing taxes this legislative session. The major and most publicized feature of his comprehensive tax proposal was to increase state income taxes 2 percent on the top 2 percent of income earners. That increase was loudly decried by many, most of whom will likely never be affected.
One of the minor things the Legislature did this past session is a good, small step in financing our political campaigns. The Legislature reinstated and funded our pre-existing Political Campaign Refund (PCR) procedure. While some of us argue for a lot more in the way of public financing of major elected office campaigns, and some countries totally fund campaigns, we are not at such a point in this country at present or, likely, in the near future. Our state PCR program is a small step in a good direction. It is scheduled to be re-enacted as of July.
Patriotism is not partisan. To most of us, patriotism is simply love of our country. Arguably, it is loving our country, warts and all. The Republican claim to the moral high ground is tiresome and unsettling. We can be liberal Democrats and have strong faith in an almighty God, and, at the same time, support and participate in our imperfect government, which is us.
We are told that the only two certainties in life are death and taxes. It may be further stated that taxes are the most certain of the two, as we have been convinced by repeated personal experience. Taxes, a rather boring subject at best, a costly one to all, will likely come to the public forefront this week as the hoopla over last week’s issue subsides. It does make some sense to be talking about taxes since the issue has the most to say about how our government functions, and has the most overall direct effect on most all of us.
The overused term “not sustainable” is, I hope, not sustainable. Of everything claimed to be “not sustainable,” much has been sustained, is being sustained and will be sustained for sometime forward — whether others of us like it or not. If that sounds like a bit of gobbledygook to you, we agree.
As a society we don’t need health care insurance. What we need is health care assurance, with or without insurance companies. Insurance has been the biggest bane of our health care “system” in the United States. Admittedly, insurance is a very necessary evil if the primary source of payment for health care is the individual recipient. Also, insurance is necessary for smaller employers who provide insurance benefits for their employees. There, insurance serves to collect from many to pay for individuals when needed, thus spreading the burden when calamity occurs.
An excellent example of government at its best occurred right here in Pequot Lakes last Saturday afternoon. Sadly, only a very few local citizens attended. There were nearly more elected officials than citizens. Our local state representative, John Ward, scheduled and conducted a town meeting at city hall, open just for the occasion. The event was hosted by Mayor Nancy Adams, who personally assured that doors were open and the meeting room comfortably set up.
First I’d like to respond to last week’s column of my Abler conservative cohort on the subject of meetings. On it, we can agree. Like Pete, I’ve attended an awful lot of meetings over a lifetime, and a lot of them have been boring and unproductive. I think I started as a 4-H member at age 7, and ever since have attended, and in many cases chaired, political and governmental meetings, neighborhood meetings, church meetings, civic meetings, professional meetings, work meetings and more that I’ve missed or conveniently forgotten.
Most might think that this is an unlikely time to be talking, writing or even thinking about the influence of money on our political decision-making. No major elections are being contested right now, other than a couple legislative special elections, and they will be decided soon. All of the elections that concern most of us were decided last November. It is too early for many to be interested, even if they live in the communities that have municipal elections culminating this November.
I hadn’t planned to write about guns. Too much has been written and not much has been done on the subject for 40-plus years. I don’t have anything profound to add to the complex matter, but am writing about how we deal with it.