Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Legacy SalesTax

Minnesota's Legacy Sales Tax

This is the text of the questions I offered to Ron Shara at his press conference with Bob Lassard and Bud Grant along with the Pheasant and Duck folks just before the constitutional sales tax was voted in. He was very rude and right in my face. He asked where I got my facts. I said the DNR, EPA, MPCA.... same as him. Then he got really rude and ugly. Ron Shara is a very small, petty man.

A Point by Point on the Legacy Amendment.

By: Forrest C. Wilkinson, President of The Northern Oak Trading Company. L.L.C

POINT: By Roger Holms, Former DNR official. “Habitats, and the fish and wildlife that depend on them, are at risk of being lost forever.”

FCW: For goodness sake… Minnesota is the third greatest property owner in the nation, behind the U.S. Federal Government and Alaska. Minnesota is still acquiring property, be it through wild and scenic areas or scientific and natural area designations or parks and trails... or what not. And then there’s the counties and cities purchasing property, and also the perpetual and decade easements being arraigned through R.I.M and C.R.P and C.R.E.P and legacy programs and the like… funded by special license plates, special lines on tax forms and other means. And groups like Ducks Unlimited and the Sierra Club can purchase property and set it aside as well. There is lots of “protected” Habitat in Minnesota, and more being set aside each year already. With lots of funds to do so.

POINT: Senator (ret.) Steve Morse: ex. Dir. Minnesota Environmental Partnership. ”Two in five lake tested that are too dirty for swimming or fishing.”

FCW: I cannot believe that two in five of Minnesotas’ 10,000 plus lakes are not suitable for swimming or eating fish. Maybe the criterion for designation as “un-swimmable” and “un-fishable” is unreasonably low and is often triggered by normal background readings.

Look at the number’s, there is nothing to get alarmed about, if we’re down to worrying about soil turbidity in rivers and alga growth in lakes, were doing fantastic.

POINT: Senator (ret) Gene Mirrium, President of the Freshwater Society, and member Guardian Council. “The Minnesota River is one of the most polluted rivers in the nation.”

FCW: If you think of soil as a pollutant, then it is, I guess. I’ve swum in the Minnesota River lots of times ate the fish too, yes it’s full of silt, due to its unique geology. And the Nitrate argument suggests we should seek drinking water nitrate standards for rivers. Not reasonable. Methomoglobonemia, “blue baby” syndrome is serious, but the last reported cases were two children in the1980’s. Since then we’ve seen the creation of the



The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), under the direction of the United States

Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA), formed a Nitrate Work Group to develop guidance for use by state, county, and local government units to map nitrate contamination. The nitrate work group participants represented various federal, state, and local government agencies, including the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA), Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MDNR), Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR), United States Geological Survey (USGS), Olmsted, Brown-Nicollet, and Carver counties, University of Minnesota, University of Minnesota Extension, Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCD), and MDH.” FCW: And they are doing a fine job. Do we really need another “council” to “direct efforts”?

POINT: Governor (ret.) Arne H. Carlson. “Without accelerated attention, our cherished natural resources and cultural heritage will become nothing more than a fond memory, and with it will go the wonderful quality of life that binds us to our state. Future generations will not enjoy the same access to clean water, wildlife, natural areas, and arts and cultural heritage.”

FCW: The drinking water throughout Minnesota is safe. All municipal wells and water supplies are required to report water quality data to the state Dept. of Health. Our tap water is safe and will remain so, with or without this Amendment passing. Implying anything else seems unnecessarily alarming. You can sleep well voting no.

POINT: Paul Douglas: “…it might slip away…what we have is a natural treasure and its not going to stay that way by accident and we have a moral responsibility to do the right thing….”

FCW: The rain will fall on Minnesota with or without this amendment, (and with the normal, naturally occurring, mercury levels as expected.). Yes, Minnesota is a treasure; no one knows that more than I. I also think we have a moral responsibility to not scare people into things. Let’s share this treasure with all people, come to Minnesota, and bring your swim suit, and fishing pole. Swim in our waters, eat our fish. Come to Minnesota; and fear not, it's O.K. if you don’t make it this year, it will still be a treasure when you get here, no matter what the vote on the Legacy Amendment. I’ll have a shore lunch waiting for you.

POINT: By Vote Yes Minnesota (Website)-“Our lakes are getting dirtier. Our fish and wildlife are facing harder times. Our history and culture are fading from lack of support.” And from their TV ad “Our drinking water is at risk”.

FCW: Please, this kind of “over-the-top” rhetoric is unwarranted and unsubstantiated by the data gathered on the ground. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is the lead state agency for most aspects of pesticide and fertilizer regulatory functions.” To date, no impairments for pesticides have been identified.”

POINT: By Governor (ret.) Wendell Anderson: “We are nearing a tipping pint in the fight to preserve what we enjoy today for future generation.”

FCW: No, I don’t think so. I think we have done remarkable things to clean up our nest after the wars and tumult of the twentieth century; and we now have systems in place to manage all outputs of cities and industries. I see a very bright future for Minnesota.

Conclusion: The language often used to support the Legacy Amendment is exceedingly harsh, alarming and frightening beyond the ecological situations they attempt to describe. In Minnesota, the earth is good, the air is clean and the water is fresh and it will continue to be so, even if you vote no.

Minnesotans can sleep guilt free if they should vote no on the Legacy Amendment.

Forrest C. Wilkinson:

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