Looking out for businesses, but hurting middle class
THUMBS DOWN: As much as we like the notion of business expansion and retention in Minnesota, we can't get on board with the Minnesota House passing legislation that would put a one-year freeze on a state-imposed property tax paid by businesses and corporations - it's not the freeze we disagree with, it's how Republicans plan on paying for it by proposing a reduction in rent credit, which would affect about 300,000 renters - those who earn less than $55,000 per year. Republicans say the bill known as the "tax relief and job creation act" means Minnesota is "open for business," and while it's good that our elected officials are watching out for businesses and are looking for ways to stabilize Minnesota's economy, they should've found a way to cover their lost expenses from the possible elimination of the commercial/industrial tax in a way that wouldn't harm the poor and middle class. We don't think the business climate in Minnesota is a sinking ship, and it's not as if the state's job market is downtrodden. The state gained more than 6,000 jobs in February, and at 5.7 percent is well below the national unemployment rate of 8.3 percent. Look out for businesses, fine, just keep the middle class out of it.
On bonding: common ground needed
SIDEWAYS THUMBS: Republicans in the House and Senate and Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton need to find a little common ground on their respective bonding recommendations. While Dayton's bonding package sits at $755 million, the House's came in at a paltry $280 million (more if you include $220 million for Capitol restoration). We like that the two sides are taking different approaches to the bonding bill but are concerned that they are so far apart. Is Dayton's list of recommendations too large and does it spend in the right places? Is the GOP House package too thin? Compromise - there's that word again - will be key in putting out a bonding bill this year; let's hope the two sides learned some lessons in 2011 about working together and can come to an agreement that will best serve the entire state.
Well-deserved award for 'Goodie'
THUMBS UP: Look for a story in today's sports section on Marshall resident and long time official Doug Goodmund, who is being honored Saturday by the Minnesota State High School League between state championship games at the boys state basketball tournament. Goodmund, Marshall Community Services assistant director, has just about seen it all in his 39 years as a high school official, and his nearly four decades of service on and off the court has earned him a Distinguished Service Award. Imagine having the same job for 40 years - it doesn't happen very often and we speak for thousands of current and former athletes, coaches, and fans when we thank Goodmund for all he's done for high school athletics in Minnesota.