Letter: Candidate says she will use common sense, work for allLast year on July 1, Minnesotans experienced a state government shutdown that lasted for 21 days.
By: Cheryl Avenel-Navara, Worthington, Worthington Daily Globe
Last year on July 1, Minnesotans experienced a state government shutdown that lasted for 21 days.
At that time, I wrote to Rep. Rod Hamilton asking that he show leadership as the Republican Whip and compromise with the governor to settle the impasse. I asked that he vote to raise the tax on the 7,700 wealthiest Minnesotans.
I reminded him of the median annual income in Nobles County ($45,468), Worthington ($37,806) and the State of Minnesota ($56,767), according to the 2010 census. I also let him know that these 7,700 millionaires made $19,230 per week. That meant that the 7,700 wealthiest Minnesotans made more in two weeks than the average resident of Worthington, or more in three weeks than the average resident of Nobles County or more in for weeks than the average citizen of the State of Minnesota made in a year.
As we know, that tax increase did not happen.
Instead, the work on Highway 60 south of Worthington stopped! The steel beams that were ordered for the bridge and were a priority for the company producing them were immediately placed at the bottom of the priority list. In addition, good construction days were lost, meaning that the work that should have been completed by December 2011 was not completed until spring 2012 (thank goodness for a mild winter). It means that the steel for the bridge won’t arrive until later in July 2012, and that segment won’t be started until August. And that means increased wear and tear on the detour roads, increased cost to moderate income taxpayers and increased inconvenience to all who use Highway 60. All so the richest 7,700 people could avoid a tax increase.
Instead, $2.4 million in school funds was “shifted,” causing many schools to borrow money from banks to fund their daily operating expenses and pay interest on that money. While Worthington did not have to borrow funds, Mountain Lake did. Mountain Lake School District borrowed $800,000 to operate last year, and they will need to repay that money plus interest.
Republican legislators will tell you that they increased the formula by $50 per pupil unit. That is true. What they don’t tell you is that the reason for the increase was to cover the interest they knew schools would have to pay. That increase was not to lower class size, hire more teachers, fund all-day-every day kindergarten or to provide early childhood education for children whose parents cannot afford to send them to pre-school. That increase was to pay for the interest on money the schools had to borrow to operate.
So, while the wealthiest did not pay more income tax, we moderate income earners paid, and will pay, increased property taxes to offset the school aid shift and the decrease in Local Government Aid. We moderate income earners saw and will see services cut.
I am running for State Representative in District 22B because this lack of common sense and compromise always leads to more gridlock. The overriding concern of the people to whom I have spoken in Worthington, Ellsworth, Westbrook, Lakefield, Fulda, Heron Lake, Okabena and even Mountain Lake is the inability to get along and do what is best for all of us, not just the wealthiest of us. It does not matter their political persuasion; what matters to these voters is that they elect someone who will work with all other members of the Legislature to move our state forward. If elected, I will be one of these people who can compromise and do what is best for all of us.
I will not be beholden to the wealthiest Minnesotans. I will act in the best interests of the people of District 22B.
I believe that by working together we CAN make Southwest Minnesota a better place for all of us.