To the editor:
According to data gathered from citymelt.com, Lyon and Redwood County have a combined 242 families that earned more than $200,000 in 2009, making up less than 1 percent of all the households in the counties (0.8 percent). Meanwhile, in 2005, some 5,374 individuals or more than 17 percent of Lyon and Redwood County workers were employed by the government in one form or another. Almost none of these government workers come from families that earn more than $200,000.
Statewide, something like 2 percent of Minnesota families earn more than $250,000 a year and as we know, most of that wealth is concentrated in the Twin Cities and metro area.
Here are the facts:
Lyon County Family Income of $200,000 or more in 2009: 137
Redwood County Family Income of $200,000 or more in 2009: 105
Employment in All Industries Lyon County 2005: 20,110
Employment in Government and Government Enterprises Lyon County 2005: 2,996
Redwood County Employment in All Industries 2005: 10,139
Redwood County Employment in Government and Government Enterprises 2005: 2,378
Lyon County and Redwood County are represented primarily by Representative Chris Swedzinski of Ghent and Senator Gary Dahms of Redwood Falls. Both have endorsed and voted for an all-cuts budget that savages local institutions in their districts like Southwest Minnesota State University, Minnesota West Community and Technical College, hospitals, nursing homes, police and fire departments, libraries and local school districts.
They have passed a budget that will continue a problem of dangerous and crumbling roads. They have passed a budget that will lead to regressive increases in property taxes. And they passed a budget they knew Governor Dayton would not sign and will likely lead to a government shutdown.
They have done this in one of the poorest regions in the state and they have done so to protect 0.8 percent of their constituents while threatening some 17 percent of their constituents with unemployment.
Governor Dayton has proposed increasing taxes on families that earn more than $250,000. Those families would have to pay about 2 cents more in taxes on only those dollars they earn above $250,000. Governor Dayton's proposal would create greater fairness in the tax code and will help Minnesota maintain its quality of life while holding down property taxes. Representative Swedzinski and Senator Dahms oppose this.
Their intransigence makes no sense in House District 21A and Senate District 21 and it makes no sense for Minnesota. It is time for compromise.