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We Minnesotans are doing all we can to pitch in during this COVID-19 crisis. We are staying home to protect health care workers, educators, store clerks, all front-line workers and our loved ones. We are always willing to pitch in and help our neighbors.

In the May 5 StarTribune.com article “What people are saying about Minnesota’s projected budget deficit,” state Rep. Steve Drazkowski says much I disagree with but also says we should “not take more money from Minnesotans who are already struggling.” This is correct. Regular Minnesotans and small businesses are struggling. The wealthy and big businesses need to step up and pay their fair share. Too many people are hurting; we as Minnesotans know that it’s time for the 1% and corporations who benefit from wonderful Minnesotan workers to pitch in. Our government needs to make sure there are jobs to grow Minnesota out of this crisis when we can safely return to work, with a robust bonding bill. We can’t cut our way out; fear and scarcity thinking won’t help. We are greater than fear! As Gov. Tim Walz said, you can make an austerity mistake and cut the very things that will grow that economy, and then you end up staying at the bottom of that trough for a longer period of time.” Let’s not make that austerity mistake. Let’s help one another through this and invest in our future.

Ginny DeLuca, St. Paul

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As a pastor in the Morningside neighborhood of Edina, I have recently seen church members showing abundant care for our community — delivering toilet paper, sewing masks, making extra donations, sending cheerful pick-me-ups, and much more. Each person is making sacrifices for the common good, and I know the same is true in every neighborhood across the state.

So I was dismayed by the fearful hoarding on display from some politicians when the state budget forecast came out Monday (“State facing $2.4B deficit,” front page). Reactions in the Star Tribune showed lobbyists, corporate interests and their campaign-cash recipients flocking to the microphone and suggesting that they will not budge an inch to care for our Minnesota neighbors. Don’t they know that in Minnesota everyone chips in, makes meaningful sacrifices and takes care of others?

Our state, our communities and our neighbors are hurting in this economy. None are more harmed than those who are sick, homeless, poor, or in prison — the people whom Jesus commissions us to care for as if they were his own body. We have enough to help those whom he called “the least of these” because Minnesotans are generous with one another. I’ve seen it with my own people and my own eyes. This is a time to care about my neighbor’s need, not about self-serving greed.

The Rev. Oby Ballinger, Edina

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A deficit of $2.4 billion is now projected for the state’s current biennium, which is almost a $4 billion change compared with the February forecast. Revenue is expected to be $3.6 billion lower, and spending, including appropriations enacted since February, is expected to be $391 million higher. The nearly $2.4 billion budget reserve remains available to mitigate the budgetary impact of the crisis. Just imagine if legislators had acted on the counsel of many Republicans to give the surplus back to taxpayers as they had wanted? Can you imagine raising taxes in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic? This is why we continue to need a reserve to avoid slashing public services in an emergency.

Larry Piumbroeck, Edina

MINNEAPOLIS SCHOOLS

These are not the circumstances for pushing through a redesign plan

Transparency was a key value of the Minneapolis schools superintendent and school board when they started developing a plan for the future of our schools.

A final version of this long-term plan (CDD) was released in late March after schools closed because of a global pandemic. Public response to this final plan has now been limited to 200 words and a total of 100 responses in order to meet an arbitrary deadline for a school board vote. No one expected a pandemic, a stay-home order, distance learning or canceled high school graduations. There may be many excellent ideas in the new CDD plan, but none worth silencing the voices of Minneapolis families, students, staff or businesses just to stick to a timeline that was created before people’s lives were totally disrupted by COVID-19.

A drastic change in a major school plan should be transparent, inclusive and thoughtful. Getting ownership of change is never easy, especially if it is rushed with little chance to communicate. Inflexible timelines will not produce the quality product we need to educate our students. Voting on this plan should be delayed until Minneapolis stakeholders can see what is in the final version and give feedback. We need to get this right!

Rosemary Lawrence, Minneapolis

STAY-AT-HOME WEIGHT GAIN

Be careful how you present this COVID-19 phenomenon

Thank you for the Variety story acknowledging concerns about weight gain during the pandemic (“Don’t stress about the Quarantine-15,” May 6). But while I appreciate the helpful advice on home cooking, I was dismayed to see a study based on “internet-connected scales” discussed as if it were representative of the “average American.” I am a public health professional with one of those web-synced scales, and I have put on far more than a quarter pound. I would also suggest that there are many Minnesotans who use scales without internet. I was left with the impression that my 5-pound weight gain is a significant outlier, and I felt fat-shamed.

Although my family has had a few more takeout meals in support of local businesses, when I took stock I realized my problems have more to do with how much home-cooked food I was eating at each meal and how often I was snacking during the day. It has taken some effort to get back on track and to recognize modest progress, celebrating a simple pound or two of movement in the right direction. It’s a start.

Even if the majority of your readers are not gaining weight, I would encourage you to be more sensitive to those who have struggled with overeating, particularly during a pandemic. We need to support one another, and pointing out that others haven’t had significant challenges is not productive. In fact, it may increase the stress and anxiety of the very readers you were trying to help.

Matt Flory, St. Louis Park