Readers Write: State Budget Surplus, Minneapolis Teachers’ Strike, Smooth Changes, Rent Policies, Ukraine, DST



A chance to ease the pain

Politicians sometimes talk as if budget surpluses and budget deficits are just a reflection of tax laws, but the truth is that they are also affected by the strength of the economy, additional federal funding, or savings made when a program spends less than expected.

Kudos to Gov. Tim Walz for offering to use a one-time surplus for one-time expenses (“Walz Proposes Bigger Reimbursement Checks,” front page, March 18). A gas tax exemption would not only make your next tank cheaper, but could also impact the cost of groceries delivered by gas trucks. A direct payment not only helps the person who cashed the check, but the merchant who can sell more because Minnesotans have a little more in their pockets next fall.

As inflation eats away at everyone’s household budget, our elected officials have a chance to ease the pain. I hope members of both parties will hear the governor’s proposal and that the public will give it a chance.

Matt Flory, St. Louis Park


We watch in real time as the lives, hopes, homes and cities of decent human beings are shattered. Yet we are unable to stop the madness, individually or collectively. Certainly not politically. Hardly a climate in which to sympathize with our legislators as they quibble over the “problem” of allocating a $9.3 billion surplus in our state budget. I would ask those who represent us to recognize the grief we are experiencing as we witness the desecration of humanity by allocating a significant portion of this surplus to humanitarian needs in Ukraine. Our grandchildren will ask us one day: “And what did you do to help?”

Carrie Kemp Lilydale


The turn of the neighborhood

It’s strange how, seemingly with every contact negotiation, increments are something teachers have to fight tooth and nail to maintain, but as soon as it benefits a district’s bargaining position, it’s are “step increases that teachers automatically receive each year”.

If Minneapolis Public Schools Chief Financial Officer Ibrahima Diop wants to assert that the district’s position (“The District Must Also Protect Secure and Stable Finances,” Counterpoint, March 18), maybe that’s something that should be codified in contractual language: salary freezes are eternal. off the table, so negotiations start from “step increases are automatically received every year”.

Somehow, I don’t see the district sticking to that position for actual negotiations, just for public relations. MPS is welcome to prove me wrong.

Mike Phillips, Minneapolis


Believe it when I see it

The March 18 editorial (“A Better Search Warrant Policy”) expects Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey’s new anti-coup policy to lead to “significant improvement in policing.” But that’s if the police follow the new rules. What is the probability of this happening?

John Stuart, Minneapolis


Voters have spoken

I’m proud of the constituents of St. Paul who said “yes” to ensure our neighbors have predictable housing costs and stable housing. This vote is undermined.

State senators are once again attacking our democracy by working to pre-empt (outlaw) decisions made by voters in St. Paul and Minneapolis on rent stabilization.

No matter what we look like or what’s in our wallets, we all deserve to raise our voices in our democracy and come up with bold solutions to address the crises we face on issues like housing. Let’s protect our right to vote on rent stabilization, let’s not take it away.

Gaye Sorenson, St. Paul


Local businesses are hesitant

In “Congress Hears Zelenskyy’s Plea” (March 17), the Star Tribune editorial board points out that “tough sanctions have real bite” and that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy “has called for the bite to go deeper… asking American companies to immediately leave a Russian market that is “inundated with our blood”. “

It’s impressive that more than 400 American companies have withdrawn from Russia either permanently or temporarily, according to Jeffrey Sonnenfeld of Yale University, who updates the list daily. However, on Sonnenfeld’s list, several companies have dug in and are not leaving or planning to leave anytime soon – two prominent local multinationals on this list are Cargill and General Mills. Apparently they have decided that profits are more important than peace.

America can help thwart Putin’s aggression by hurting the Russian economy, which is why American companies should stop doing business with Russia. Americans, as individuals, can help this effort by ceasing to do business with companies like Cargill and General Mills that continue to do business in Russia. For a complete list of these multinational corporations, visit Sonnenfeld’s website at

Jane Mackenzie, Chaska


Skiing event deserved attention

The Loppet Foundation recently hosted the USA National Junior Cross-Country Skiing and Snowboarding Championships at Theodore Wirth Park. This brought more than 400 of the best skiers between the ages of 16 and 20 from across the United States to compete in four events over the course of a week.

The local skiers, part of the Midwest team, won three national titles. Nine other local skiers were on the podium and another 25 in the top 10. The fact that the Star Tribune did not cover any of these events was extremely disappointing.

In a few weeks, the Women’s Final Four will be here and the newspaper will have cover pages and it should; there will be great interest in the event. However, given the thousands of skiers from Minnesota, Jessie Diggins and other local athletes who are part of Team USA in Europe, interest in a National Cross Country Championship is just as high for the greater community of local skiing and, no doubt, the community as a whole, who have embraced Jessie for her determination to never say die in her races.

There’s also the fact that hundreds of skiers, coaches and families came to the Twin Cities for this event and our local newspaper completely ignored it. It was frankly embarrassing.

The resulting excitement and publicity as the 2020 World Cup cancellation approached was wonderful, but that excitement and publicity shouldn’t be limited to a World Cup-level event. The document covers hockey at the high school, college, professional and Olympic levels. The Junior Nationals certainly fall within this range of coverage and should have been covered. This was unfortunately a missed opportunity.

Gary Maher, Minneapolis


Oh so they get things done

It was announced with great fanfare that our blind American senate could finally agree on something. It had nothing to do with the economy, poverty, tax fairness, climate change, education, pollution, or any of the other twelve issues facing our nation today. No, it’s to do summer time permanent (Nation + World, March 16).

Good start, people. We are proud of you. Now those who are so burdened with having to turn their half dozen clocks twice a year are relieved of that burden. I’ve never been a fan of the time change twice a year – that’s stupid. But that’s the least of our problems in America today. Now, I would like to see some unanimity around the serious issues we face in this country.

Harald Eriksen, Brooklyn Park


What’s wrong with earlier sunrise in winter? What’s wrong with late sunsets in summer? So maybe there are a few days of circadian confusion. I like the current system. Leave alone.

Peter Smyth Eden Prairie


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