Driving County Roads

An on line journal sharing my views. The content reflects my background as a rural person employed in agriculture and as a retired elected official of local government.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

This is not my job!

Congress better assign and fund their own staff people to get the job done! What job you ask? Catching up with the people who do not report income each year which results in more than $300 billion of lost tax revenue.

Rather than holding IRS staff people accountable, Congress, in all their wisdom, placed a provision in the health care reform legislation which would require folks like you and I to report-- in the form of filing 1099s --for all payments we made to incorporated vendors and the requirement could be expanded to cover goods and services too.

What would that mean for a farm business like us? We would have to file 1099's for products we buy from folks like: veterinarians, lumber supplies, repair parts, feed suppliers etc. It is not my job to file a form to let the IRS know that one of my suppliers did not report some income they may have derived me. If the Congress is concerned about unreported income ---- they better well fund the IRS so they can hire staff to find the tax evaders. This is not my job! end

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Planning and Orderliness

The big guy and I just got back from a trip down south. We can't say that we are extensive travelers, but we have visited more than several states. While each state has its good qualities, the poor ones are very noticeable.

  • poor signage. Directional signs to attractions get you off the interstate; but then you are on your own. Street signs missing and when they are there, they are so small, they are almost impossible to read. Many states allow vegetation to be planted in the boulevards and trees and shrubs hide important traffic signs. (We don't let that happen in Minnesota.)
  • inconsistency in regard to sizes of roadways. A public road so narrow, cars must move to the side and stop to allow meeting one coming in the opposite direction.
  • zoning? It appears they do not have it. Nothing is less appealing than mixes of conflicting uses hodge podging in the cities. A convenience store on every corner in the middle of residential areas? What are they thinking? Mobile homes next to upscale houses? Industrial businesses mixed in with residential? Farm fields in the middle of cities?
People complain about not being allowed to do certain activities on their property. But in the end, everyone benefits from orderly planning and zoning. end

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Niceitys Or Necessities?

Rep. Mary Liz Holberg speaking on MPR talked about our budget situation and deciding between niceties or necessities. She said, "Minnesota offers programs that no other states offer. Maybe these are not necessities." Maybe Rep. Holberg is correct about some of those programs. I hope our elected officials do not use the broad brush approach.

I have visited many other states and made observations and asked many questions. So far, I have seen only one other state I would consider living in and that is Oregon. Let's not drop all of the programs we offer and lower our ability to make Minnesota the wonderful state it is. We need to encourage people to come here, not give them a reason to go someplace else. end

Friday, March 04, 2011

One person/One vote

Rep. Duane Quam of Byron is leading an effort to allow people who own land in school districts or counties other than where they reside to vote on levy referendums in the other areas. Rep. Quam wants to put this on the ballot as a possible amendment to the constitution of the state of Minnesota.

This is nothing but bad policy. The constitution of the state should not be altered or amended willy nilly just to satisfy the whims of special interests. This document is the basis of our laws in this state. More and more, elected people are taking the "easy way out" and passing the decisions that they should be making on to the voters who happen to show up at the next election. Constitutional amendments should not be used to make law. That is what we elect representatives and senators to do.

Rep. Quam's proposal would go against the Supreme Court ruling of 1964 which guarantees one person/one vote. His proposal would give an unfair advantage to wealthy people who own land in many places. The Supreme Court ruled that each voter must be treated equally.

The farmers/businessmen who cannot vote on referendums in districts or counties where they do not live had a choice when they purchased the property. If they wanted land, then they need to live with their own decision. They should not be given any more privileges than other citizens.

This is a bad idea and bad public policy. end

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Cooperative Spirit?

In light of the new state budget forcast, Governor Dayton has indicated he may back away from his increased tax on the highest income Minnesotans. I am waiting for a cooperative movement from the Republican controlled House and Senate. Good legislation starts at the extremes and moves toward the center and usually the end result is that both sides do not get all they want.

There has been talk of working together. Now is the time for some action. end