Budgeteer Letters to the Editor - March 14, 2010See what's on our readers' minds this week.
Respect soldiers’ right to vote
Let’s see if I’ve got this straight: Budgeteer columnist Ralph Doty
doesn’t think it’s necessary to make sure soldiers deployed overseas, who are defending our right to vote, get to vote themselves — just so other Minnesota voters aren’t inconvenienced by moving the primary election to August. (Mr. Savageau is referring to Doty’s column in the March 7 issue of the Budgeteer News.)
Obviously, Doty does not fully appreciate his right to vote and what it takes to preserve that right. I am a veteran who has voted absentee and who has been deployed to where there is no right to vote and where religious law is the law of the land.
Because of my experiences being deployed, I know there are people in the world who would like to take away our right to vote and the other rights we enjoy. The men and women of our Armed Forces are risking their lives to make sure those people don’t have their way. The families of our veterans who stay behind also sacrifice to keep the home fires burning, because they know their sacrifices are worth it for the common good.
You would think Doty and other Minnesotans wouldn’t mind that little inconvenience considering the inconveniences our veterans and their families endure to preserve the most fundamental of our rights.
Editor’s note: In defense of Mr. Doty, he intended no
disrespect to members of our Armed Forces. He was simply advocating for a better solution to the problem of delayed absentee ballots.
Making lemonade out of a lemon
Duluth’s economy depends on people and services moving easily across the border. That’s why I was so concerned last summer when Gov. Tim Pawlenty eliminated a nearly 50-year reciprocity agreement between Minnesota and Wisconsin.
I worked with members in the Minnesota and Wisconsin legislatures, and Department of Revenue Commissioner Ward Einess, to find a solution. Despite this hard work, a solution to the liking of Governor Pawlenty was not reached and reciprocity was allowed to die. Now 15,000 Minnesotans who work in Wisconsin will have to file taxes in both states; and 8,000 will pay higher taxes because of it. An even larger number of our friends in Wisconsin are impacted as well.
With a new tax year underway, it’s officially too late to revive reciprocity this year. But I haven’t given up — and neither have legislators on both sides of the border in Minnesota and Wisconsin. We know the program is in the best interest of both states and thousands of cross-border workers. That’s why we’re working to find a lasting solution.
An important part of that effort is getting reliable data about cross-border workers who benefit from tax reciprocity. For years the reciprocity formula has been based on a study done more than 20 years ago. That’s why I’ve introduced legislation to update that important data so we can create a functional reciprocity agreement that meets the modern demands of these workers.
Once this study is completed in 2010 we will have a better understanding of who cross-border workers are and what they pay in taxes. With that information in hand, we can reinstate a reciprocity agreement in 2012 that benefits all.