As a parent and coordinator of the Brainerd Lakes Early Childhood Coalition, I am reminded daily on how important the early years of a child's life are in determining future success in school and in life. Did you know that roughly 80 percent of a child's brain is developed by the time they're 5? And yet, the state invests less than 1 percent of the state budget in early child care and education programs, like child care, Head Start and pre-school. In fact, it's been proven that every dollar we invest in high quality programming for young children will yield up to $12 return on investment. Kids can't wait to learn.
Brainerd Lakes Area Early Childhood Coalition
Minnesota taxes and seniors
A letter in the Oct. 28 Dispatch states: "Minnesota does tax wealthy seniors, those who have income in addition to Social Security." Not every senior who has income in addition to Social Security is "wealthy" by any definition; they just happened to reach a certain income threshold and so are taxed. They may have obligations where any extra income would be welcome. Right now, Minnesota is one of only eight states that still taxes Social Security retirement income.
Rep. Al Doty voted against an amendment that would have excluded Social Security retirement income from Minnesota state income tax. Doty could have helped the seniors who needed it, but he didn't. If 42 other states can operate without taxing Social Security retirement income, why can't Minnesota?
One of the early votes taken by Doty and other legislators was to raise their per diem from $66 to $77 per day. This income is not subject to either Minnesota or federal income taxes no matter how high their other income might be. Most of these legislators have retirement or other income in addition to their legislative pay. It doesn't seem right that Doty votes to give himself a raise that's exempt from Minnesota income tax and yet votes against exempting senior citizens' Social Security from the same tax.
Incidentally, Doty's opponent, Mike LeMieur has stated that he will work to exempt senior citizens' Social Security retirement income from Minnesota state income tax.
To those who have stolen Mike LeMieur campaign signs and thrown them in the Mississippi River, that was a very unsportsmanlike thing to do and casts an unfavorable light on your candidate's campaign. Shame on you.
CLARA KEDROWSKI is a vice chair with the Morrison County Republican Party.
Read through the Constitution
In a 2001 forum on Chicago public radio, Mr. Obama refers to himself as a constitutional professor. Yet he called the U.S. Constitution a document of negative liberties, fundamentally flawed, and does not bring about true equality.
Obama conceded the Warren Supreme Court had provided some level of social justice in the civil rights movement. He also maintained the courts were limited in their ability to provide greater liberties in economic justice, i.e. redistribution of income.
Does this interview translate into loss of our 401K deductions, replaced by mandatory government savings plans? Higher taxes to pay for the vast social welfare programs? Reparations for all relatives of slaves? We can only give an educated guess. But combine these concerns with the promise to cut the military by 25 percent, restrictions on our second amendment rights, continuing partial birth abortions, and appointment of as many as three supreme court justices, this is certainly the most important election in my lifetime.
Read through our Constitution and Bill of Rights, and consider how Sen. Obama will seek to change a document that most of us consider to be perfect, not flawed. This has enormous implications for our society.
Election year promises
Beware of candidates making campaign promises they can't deliver. The most common one is tax cuts. No elected official likes to raise taxes, but government services, infrastructure, and regulations aren't free. Government needs to spend money. The real issues are: what to spend it on, and who to get it from.
The major parties differ greatly on those issues. Republicans have been spending it on the war nationally, and they've given billions to companies like Haliburton. They've given us Part D of Medicare, which gives billions to insurance and pharmaceutical companies. Who have they gotten that money from? Not the highest income levels. They all benefited from the tax cuts that were supposed to 'trickle down' to the rest of us. They didn't move down, they moved sideways .... to the pockets of CEOs and large stockholders and speculators. Because the money didn't trickle down, those on the bottom had to borrow to buy what they wanted or needed. When the interest on that borrowing came due, and the extra spending stopped, the housing and stock markets crashed. The middle class is worth trillions less than it was just months ago, and retirement may no longer be an option for many. The tax cuts for the wealthy are still in place. The middle class is still paying the bills through higher income tax rates and property taxes and fees. Those tax cut promises sound great to the lower and middle classes, but remember...the ones who are promising them are the ones who cut taxes before...for the wealthiest.
We can take this country and this state back, but we'd better hurry. Tax cuts and borrowing through bonding got our nation and state into this mess; don't fall for another round of election year promises that benefit only the wealthiest!
Vote for Ward
John Ward deserves to be re-elected in District 12A. John has served all constituents with fairness and a work ethic that is second to none. He has worked in a bipartisan manner on many issues. We need a representative who has our best interest at heart. We need John!
We need Ward in office
I would like to encourage readers to keep John Ward in office as our state Representative. John has worked hard and proven himself to be an energetic, effective and positive representative for our region. His compassion, honesty and true family values are exactly what we need in these challenging times.
A man of the people
Through the years of getting to know John Ward more and more, it has become increasingly clear that he is a man of the people. Whether it be at a high school football game or at an organized debate, one can see that he puts everything into representing his district.
The Sons of Liberty
Like most of us I've been busy listening to the major news pundits and commentators during this election year; putting out their spin and take on the upcoming election and other important matters of the day. I became a little cynical and quite dismayed hearing the same rhetoric with a different slant promised by the political candidates of both major parties. So I decided to look back at a group of men called the Sons of Liberty, who were instrumental in igniting the flames for the cause of freedom against British tyrannical rule. Noticeable among this group were names such as Thomas Paine, Samuel Adams, John Adams, James Otis and John Hancock to name a few.
Despite coming from a diverse background concerning their religious, economic, geographic and degree of education; they were able to unite because of the one common denominator, to free themselves from the heavy yoke of the despotic rule of King George and members of British parliament. These Sons of Liberty were those who ignited the ideas and sparked the flames into the hearts and minds of men; who would later join them in the battle for American Independence and give us the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.
Does such a group of men still exist? I'll bet you answer that question while imparting some of my own thoughts. Do we choose principle and conviction and sacrifice over a life of complacency, apathy and indifference? Is government our servant or are we theirs? Is the two party system looking more and more like the tyrannical form of government we fought to free ourselves from over 200 years ago? The answers will have to come inside each of us; does the candle still flicker a sign of liberty within.
Dale J. Bauer
Ward fights for what's right
John Ward is the choice candidate to continue to represent District 12A. As his daughter I know his listening skills, negotiating and hard work will continue to bring the change that is needed in Minnesota. John Ward has always fought for what is right and he'll continue to do so.
Common sense needed
It's government by the people. Let us vote. Too - 2 - to - too much government. We don't need people in office with college degrees. Common people with common sense count too.
Vote Mary Koep, Bob Olson and Pundt.
Don't vote Ward or Doty.
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