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Quite a gift

THUMBS UP: District 88 has received a magnificent gift this week, the donation of the former Windings buildings on North Valley Street and on Third North, to use for a Careers and Technical Education (TCE) center. Windings has moved into the former Elkay building in the Airport Industrial Park, and former Windings owner Roger Ryberg, who sold the company to his employees through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan, but still owned the buildings, decided to donate them to the District for its technical education program.

Technical education in the trades is a growing and important trend in high schools, and this gift will provide all the space District 88 will need to prepare students for fulfilling, important careers in the trades.

Thank you, Roger and Carol Ryberg, for your continued generosity to New Ulm.

Budget snaps back

THUMBS UP: Minnesota’s financial forecast on Friday put the state back in black ink, and made the job of the legislators and the governor a lot easier. From an estimated $1.3 billion deficit in November to a $1.6 billion surplus is a remarkable turnaround. An improved U.S. economic outlook, bolstered by stimulus measures the federal government has taken has made the difference, said Minnesota Management and Budget Commissioner John Showalter.

 Whatever it was, Republicans and Democrats in the Legislature can now argue over how to use the money, rather than whether to slash budget or raise taxes. There is still much economic pain felt in the small businesses throughout the state, and $1.6 billion should help ease that.

There should be no need for the kind of tax increase the governor was suggesting in his earlier budget message. Republicans were not going to budge on that, and now they shouldn’t have to. As Gov. Tim Walz said, “It’s time for democracy to begin.”

The Legislature could start with a quick approval of an emergency fund that Walz has proposed to bolster Minneapolis security during the trial of Derek Chauvin.

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