State economy bears watching

To the editor:

Recent letters reflect the importance of continued government investment in our state’s economy. The good news about our state’s improving economic picture and resulting revenues to the state treasury are tempered by the governor’s withdrawal of business-to-business taxes from the state’s revenue proposals.

Nevertheless, the emphasis on adequate K-12 funding this year and progress on repayment of borrowed money from school funding are good news. The proof of that pudding will be the size of classes this coming fall. Failure to prime the economic pump with a good education makes any recovery short-lived.

Other essential elements include ongoing funding for road and bridge repair, continued emphasis on transit development, innovative public-private partnership in areas like housing, job and business development, and help on property taxes for low-income seniors and other vulnerable people.

As the economy continues to improve, there may come the cry about how we should “return the money to the taxpayers.” I hope we can consider the value of a state rainy-day fund so can retain solvency while not endangering the state’s bond rating. Over time, this has been one of the bigger challenges facing our state. With judicious watchfulness, we can shepherd Minnesota back to a full financial and economic health.


  • Jan Dobson

    The role of government is not to be a good shepherd. The role of government is to protect individual citizens so the country as a whole can grow and prosper. Sadly, all levels of government in our country today are turning into wolves in sheep’s clothing.

  • Jan Dobson

    It isn’t government’s job to shepherd our state economy. It’s government’s job to protect individual Minnesotans so they can be productive and create prosperity. As it stands right now, Minnesota’s government is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

    • Paul Hoffinger

      Education for a good job in a smoothly-working economy is the kind of “protection” that makes the greatest difference. The view of government as a villain is what gave us policies toward the wealthy that has them pay a lesser portion of their wealth in taxes than the rest of us, according to the State Department of Revenue. When corporations don’t accomplish that good-working economy, it’s the job of government to do what it can.

  • Jan Dobson

    Here’s the thing. Government doesn’t create successful businesses, entrenpreneurs do. Generally speaking, motivation for an entrepreneur to attempt to create a successful business is profit.

    Profit is a GOOD. Society stagnates in the absence of profit. Populations starve in the absence of profit. Even tyranny fails in the absence of profit.

    Entrepreneurship involves innovation, vision, planning, risk, grit, tenacity, clear headedness and a ton of really hard work. A little luck thrown into the mix doesn’t hurt. More than anything, entrepreneurship requires the potential—no matter how slim—of reward. Entrepreneurship isn’t the same as charity. It isn’t the same as a hobby. And it most certainly isn’t 9-5 with weekends off and triple time on holidays.

    Entrepreneurship motivated by potential profit has raised the standard of living for average NON-ENTREPRENEURIAL productive Americans to a level higher than that once reserved for royalty. However, suggesting that entrepreneurs should be motivated purely by a yearning to advance Mr. Hoffinger’s proletariat is unrealistic and unreasonable.

    As far as education is concerned, in this country it’s dictated by an ironfisted teachers union. Teachers union (NEA) president, Dennis Van Roekel, proudly delivered a speech in which he outlined what he considered should be the three prime motivators for public school educators.
    “1. Leading the efforts to reform public education;
    2. Helping to rebuild the middle class by strengthening the labor movement;
    3. Building our capacity as an organization…to ensure that our power if felt and
    our influence is clear.”

    Shouldn’t priorities 1, 2 and 3 be teaching kids, Mr. Hoffinger?

  • wageslave

    Everyone loves profit. Corporate earnings are fantastic, and they ARE fantastic. They’re helping me out in my 401(K). Maybe those cash-rich corporations could actually HIRE some more Americans, but that’s another post.

    You say profit motivates entrepreneurs. Of course.

    Why would teacher unions NOT be motivated by profit? Why should that class of people be cut off from the animal spirits that motivate everyone?

    Maybe vouchers are the answer — funneling public money to religious schools where the teachers now choose to accept lower salaries. If that were done on a large scale, I suspect those darling teachers would jump up and form a union of their own.

    But maybe not. Some of us are just so pure.

    • Jan Dobson

      Are you claiming that the NEA is a FOR-PROFIT organization?

  • Rosie from Rosemount


    Many parochial school teachers are in a teachers’ union, and many private college instructors are as welll. Interestingly, the parochial school teacher unions I am familiar with hold educating the students as their main objective and their by-laws support ideals corresponding with this mission. This is a far cry from NEA tomfoolery.