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Thursday, July 31, 2008

A Response to the Editor's Response

The letter to the editor at the Post Review by Brian Berg was also printed in the July 24, 2008 edition of the Chisago County Press (not available online). The editor of the Chisago County Press made the following comments in the same issue in response to his editorial.

Editor’s Note:
We have one letter this week opposing action taken by the Minnesota Legislature to raise the gas tax for the first time in years; and another letter from a writer who saw wisdom in the move by the legislature.

The best explanation we’ve come across on the gas tax hike came from North Branch City Engineer Julie Dresel. She said that in 1999 North Branch was alotted [sic] $334,705 in state aid for construction and maintenance accounts.

Nearly 10 years later-- this allotment for 2008 is $384,490.

The main reason for lack of funding in state aid accounts has been because construction needs have grown in all cities; plus the merging and combing of townships and cities has resulted in more cities qualifying for this allotment based on population.

In other words, as Dresel put it, the “pie” known as state aid is only so big, but more and more people want a piece. Without new revenues this would never keep pace with construction and/or road maintenance costs.

It could be argued Minnesota state government has revenue, and funding should have been found elsewhere in the budget-- but the system is set up to be funded by gas tax revenues, meaning those who consume fuel pay for the roads.


In the July 31, 2008 issue of the Chisago County Press, Berg responded to the editor’s July 24th note. This is not available online.

Kalin taking more from Taxpayers
To the editor:
Last week I wrote that Rep. Kalin deliberately and significantly raises [sic] taxes on all of us just prior to the release of the state’s economic report which revealed we were facing a billion dollar deficit in the state budget.

The editor of the Chisago County Press responded by praising the increase in the gas tax. I did not itemize the gas tax, but referred to the whole tax increase levied to fund the $6.6 billion dollar transportation bill.

The gas tax is just one of several tax increases legislated to pay for the enormous cost of the bill. Kalin increased vehicle license tab fees by at least $25 per vehicle per year. The sales tax on vehicle purchases will increase in some places in the state. Kalin voted to fund the transportation bill by increasing the tax on propane and natural gas.

The editor of the Chisago County Press defended Kalin’s tax increase, arguing that the state aid funding pie for roads and bridges must be increased in size by raising taxes since there are not enough pie slices to go around.

The editor is not at all concerned about the size of the average taxpayer’s pie. Government’s pie must increase in size, but the pies of all of us were forced to shrink by Kalin’s taxation vote. In an economic slowdown, we are expected to tighten our belts, but legislators like Kalin keep grabbing a bigger slice out of Chisago County families’ shrinking pies to fatten the state’s pie.

Jeremy Kalin does NOT put people before politics.

Brian C. Berg
Taylors Falls


Anonymous said...

Matt Silver is very uninformed with reality. He agrees with the tax increase Dumb and Dumber voted for this past session, but was confused as to why more people were not at the resort area where he spent a vacation. Matt, Gas tax added onto already high price of gas equals less travel. Do you need education in the real world? All the other taxes D&D voted for will effect everyones pocket books. Oh, I suppose you will blame the Republicans for the bad economy too! Matt open your eyes!!!

Anonymous said...

What Berg writes is right on the money! The editor of the CC Press is wrong in his assumption that the pie is too small! The public's appetite is too big! Berg, keep it up. Thanks for this blog.

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