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Governor is an obstacle to a program that works

The Star Tribune Editorial Board was right on in calling for action to strengthen Minnesota's alternative education programs. The excellent report from the Legislative Auditor pointed to even better-than-expected benefits of additional learning time for at-risk students, such as extended-day, after-school programs and summer school.

Unfortunately, in 2003, Gov. Tim Pawlenty and the Republican-led House cut school funding for the first time in state history. These effective programs were cut as well and have never been restored.

On Feb. 16, the House K-12 Finance Division will hold a hearing on the auditor's report. But because the governor continues to refuse to address the state's structural budget imbalance, it is difficult to imagine capitalizing on these findings for those students most at risk until we have a new governor.



Not the Minnesota this letter writer wants

I have to give Tim Pawlenty credit: Rarely has the crossroads we face in Minnesota been defined so explicitly by those who want to destroy our progressive tradition.

Praising the good-natured Minnesota spirit while systematically dismantling the policies it spawned, the governor asked us in his State of the State address to squander the commitment to the common good from which we've all benefited, leaving a shell of Minnesota to our children.

This is not the Minnesota I dreamed of when I was growing up back east, and I refuse to let a fundamentally antisocial ideology drag it down the path of suspicion and scarcity. We need a government that treats all its citizens with dignity, and that starts with preserving programs like General Assistance Medical Care, which keeps our poorest neighbors from dying. Our caring spirit is only as good as our willingness to make it real.



Maybe 'crook' is a better label for him

Why does the Star Tribune continue to insist on referring to convicted felon Tom Petters as a "businessman"?



Don't judge all carriers based on this bad apple

Too bad one letter carrier's inexcusable crimes mar the image of the rest of those delivering your mail six days a week ("Mailman pocketed kids' mail," Feb. 11). As many of us complain about the snow and cold from inside our homes, cars or offices, remember that 99.9 percent of the mailmen and women are out in this weather getting your letters, packages and magazines to you each day, no matter what the weather.

So please, be kind to these folks. They are tired, sore and probably more eager for spring than you. I know -- I am married to one of these dedicated letter carriers. Please shovel your walkways and paths, keep your dogs from getting loose, and understand if your mail comes late.



Time away makes one appreciate what was left

I just read the article about people moving away from Minnesota and some of the online comments. I moved to Seattle about a year and a half ago. I did not move to get away from winter, and I definitely did not move to get away from taxes. I moved to Washington, where there is no income tax -- and it shows!

Poor public schools, selling off state parks, a critical public ferry system in horrible shape, environmental needs going completely unmet, and sales and property taxes that are through the roof.

So, while I like my new home and new job, I miss snow and I miss a progressive tax system that makes for a high quality of life.

Don't let the antitax nuts ruin that beautiful state!



Try holding some Dems up to the same standard

Great editorial cartoon making fun of Sarah Palin (Star Tribune, Feb. 10). Never let up on the merciless and unceasing attacks on conservatives. But would we ever see such a "comment" about, say, Al Gore, who makes far more in speaking fees and appearances? Let's just say we won't hold our breath.



Finally, a plan that makes fiscal sense

Thank you, Star Tribune, for printing Jill Burcum's Opinion Exchange item regarding Rep. Paul Ryan's Roadmap for America's Future Act of 2010.

It was a refreshing read, as just three days prior I pulled the bill and the Congressional Budget Office analysis to study it. At 391 pages, it was an easy read compared with all three monstrous health care reform bill versions recently presented by Congress. This bill reforms health care, Social Security, our tax codes for business and individuals and the budget process. It puts Medicare and Medicaid on a sustainable path. It was shocking to view the CBO charts showing how the debt would be drastically reduced under his bill.

This is the bill that our congressmen and women should be taking the time to study.