(Note:That was the headline on this column written 25 years ago when I was editor of the Union-Eagle.The surplus then was only $1.9 billion, not the $17.6 billion the state has today. As I read it over today (Jan. 6, 2023) I thought the last two paragraphs made some sense. It's interesting to compare the debate 25 years ago with what is going on today.)
A few weeks ago I wrote a check to a credit card company to pay a Christmas bill. Not long ago my monthly mailing from that company showed that I had a credit because I had written the check for a larger amount than the bill.
The same thing happened in Princeton last year when I intentionally wrote a check too large for some items that I had charged. I didn't want to write a check for that small an amount that I owed so I wrote it larger. The next bill I received informed me that the store owed me money.
So now comes news that, once again, the state of Minnesota has a larger surplus than expected. In November it was $1.3 billion and now it's nearly $1.9 billion, including $317 million more in income tax collections than expected and $55 million more in sales tax than expected.
The answer seems relatively simple — give the money back to the people from whom it was collected. But some of the politicians from our state are making the task harder than it should be.
One legislator wants to tack an extra 25-cent tax on a pack of cigarettes so minors won't buy them. We all know how well that would work. And there's a bill to charge an additional $30 for a personal watercraft license. You have the sense that they will just keep collecting extra money even though we are getting nearly $2 billion more in taxes than projected.
Now it may be that the forecasters don't have a clue what they're doing. Or maybe all the computers in the world can't make a reasonable guess at what is going on with taxes in this state. I have heard that revenue forecasts are also off base in other states.
I talked with a state legislator Monday who made a good point about not painting all legislators with a broad brush. In other words, not all the people down in St. Paul feel the same way about the surplus. Of course, it's an election year and there is all kinds of posturing going on about what to do with the surplus.
The governor, who isn't up for re-election because he's done after this term, wants to spend $1.4 billion for tax cuts, including $750 million for a one-time property tax rebate for homeowners and renters. He would also like to use money for schools.
DFL senators, the majority in the Senate, want a smaller amount for reducing property taxes. And they would pay cash for construction projects rather than borrowing. Their counterparts in the House want to use $1.1 billion for tax cuts, including the $750 Gov. Arne Carlson would use for property tax rebates. They have come up with a gimmick of getting money to taxpayers by October of this year to help pay for property taxes. And they would throw some money at permanent property tax relief. (Is anything permanent as far as taxes go?)
Republicans in the House and Senate, minorities that they are, would return almost all the entire surplus through permanent (there's that word again) income tax cuts, property tax cuts and rebates.
There are some good ideas on both sides and there is something to be said for keeping some money in reserve. The economy won't continue this way forever. But what's wrong with writing out some checks and giving us our money back? That's simplistic, I know. But if a national company gives your money back when you write a check that's too much to cover the bill, why can't the state of Minnesota do likewise?
I guess that would be too simple.
What might have been for Gopher basketball
Imagine a lineup with Jamal Mashburn (17.5 points a game at New Mexico), Marcus Carr (17.1 at Texas), Liam Robbins (11.9) at Vanderbilt, Gabe Kalscheur (10.7 at Iowa State), and Both Gach (8.7 at Utah).
Those five players were all at Minnesota when Ben Johnson took over as head coaching 2021 and they all left for other schools. All are starters now at their schools, Mashburn with 14-0 New Mexico where former Gopher coach Rick Pitino is in his second year.Those players might fit in wells the top seven with Jamison Battle and Dawson Garcia on the current Minnesota team.
Mashburn, a junior, averaged 18.2 last year at New Mexico and 8.2 as a freshman at Minnesota. Carr, who recently had a 41-point game, averaged 19.4 at Minnesota two years ago along with 4.9 assists and 4 rebounds. Robbins a 7-foot shot blocker, is averaging 2.8 blocks a game. He had 22 points a couple days ago against South Carolina, blocked 6 shots,had 7 rebounds and 4 assists. Kalscheur, shooting 83% on free throws at Iowa State this season is a threat as a 3-point shooter. Gach shoots 83% on free throws. Gach and Kalscheur are Minnesotans.
Those five are averaging 66 points a game collectively, more than the Gophers as a team who are struggling offensively.
Jan. 4, 1968 - In the Dec. 27 Moonliters bowling league Bonnie Raymond (481) and Mary Carlson (468) were the top bowlers.
Jan. 4, 1973 - Princeton lost 85-63 to Crosby-Ironton in the Princeton holiday tournament title game. Princeton beat White Bear Lake Mariner 83-72 in the first round. North Branch was the other team. Dave Mingo (14) led the scoring in this first game and Tom Holbrook (17) led in the title game.
Jan. 5,1978 - The boys basketball team lost to Benilde and Golden Valley in the Delano tournament. Jim Wredberg had 19 points in the 59-58 loss to champion Benilde. The team was 0-9 after the loss to Golden Valley.
Jan. 6, 1983 - In the year-end sports review it was noted that the baseball and volleyball teams had won Rum River Conference titles, Curt Winkelman placed third at state wrestling and Barb Blomberg scored 44 points in a game to set the school record for a game.
Jan. 7, 1988 - The boys basketball team placed fifth in the Bethel College tournament with wins over Simley and Roseville. Mark Angstman had 20 in the Roseville game and Eric Minks (56 points in the 3 games) made all-tournament.
Dec. 31, 1993 - The boys basketball team finished last in its round-robin tournament but beat champion Hill-Murray 73-71 in double overtime as Matt Sahlstrom , who made all-tourney, scored 24 . . . The girls basketball team was fifth in the Elk River tournament, beating Little Falls and Marshall. Corrine Lundell scored 79 points in the three games and was all-tournament.
Jan. 1, 1998 - The PHS hockey team finished third in the Wadena-Deer Creek tournament, beating Morris 11-2 in that game as Erik Hanson scored four goals . . . After Jenny Burdick made a shot to tie the game in regulation, Princeton beat Monticello 42-39 at the Elk River tournament.
Dorr is the former editor of the Princeton Eagle (2 years) and Princeton Union-Eagle (32 years) and has written about sports in the Princeton area for the past 54 years.)
Post a comment as anonymous
Watch this discussion.
Welcome to the discussion.
Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.