When my wife and I moved to Duluth from Michigan two years ago, we didn't expect the cost of living here to be so high. Living in the city of Duluth and the state of Minnesota hit us where it hurts the most, in our pocketbook. Eating out and renting a large apartment were luxuries that, over time, we could ill afford, what with our current monthly income.

After we had adjusted to the rise in living expenses, we were shocked to get our first Minnesota tax return. Flabbergasted at finding out what we would have to pay, we called our tax preparer in Michigan, who told us that "Minnesota taxes everything." She advised us to pay an estimated amount to lessen what we would have to pay on our return. We sent $1,000 in estimated tax, only to be hit with $1,300 after receiving our return.

There are many social and welfare programs that cost the state money, but my guess is that there are more government jobs filled than are needed. That is bureaucracy.

With what I know about Minnesota tax levels, I was nearly shocked out of my recliner when I read an article in the News Tribune on Aug. 3 stating, in effect, that the state of Minnesota Department of Human Services had a part in overpaying two Indian bands more than $25 million. The kicker was that the entire amount likely would land in the laps of Minnesota taxpayers.

You would think the state of Minnesota, which taxes its citizens at one of the top rates in the country, would be more diligent trustees of its citizens' money. When I see my hard-earned money being flushed down the toilet, it does not engender confidence in state government.

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Ron Trethewey

Duluth