Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down

Final countdown

THUMBS DOWN: The Minnesota Legislature seems poised to finish up its business on time Monday, now that the governor and the DFL-controlled House and Senate have decided just how far into the taxpayers’ pockets the state will be sticking its hands.

Gov. Dayton and the other privateers running the Legislature came up with an agreement on taxes on Thursday, one that will raise the income tax on the highest-earning two percent of taxpayers, will bump the tax on a pack of cigarettes by $1.60, will squeeze commercial taxpayers a little harder, and extend the sales tax to some business-to-business transactions.

The tax increases will raise $2 billion to cover the $627 million budget deficit, and then some.

North Dakota is responding with billboards touting the tax-free living in that state. Why shouldn’t they?

Good weather for farmers

THUMBS UP: Spring came roaring in like a breeze from a blast furnace on Tuesday, but at least the weather is turning into something suitable for farmers who have been itching to get out into their fields.

Farmers are way behind their planting, especially compared to last year when an early spring made for a fast start.

This area’s economy is very dependent on agriculture, so we hope farmers can catch up in good time for the growing season.

Gophers’ Chalk Talk

THUMBS UP: The University of Minnesota Athletics Department is making a real push to connect with outstate Minnesota this spring. On Friday, Athletic Director Norwood Teague and nearly all the U of M coaches stopped in New Ulm for lunch and a talk at Turner Hall. It is one of 16 stops they are making around the state.

We don’t recall the last time such a collection of U of M coaches made a swing like this through the state. It is a good way to build support, and for folks around here to get an idea of what will be going on up on campus.

We hope the U of M makes this a regular event.