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Commentary - Who are our local legislators fighting for?

By Alan Perish, Browerville, MN If you're like me, the hairs on your neck probably stood to attention when you saw the price at the pump at the gas station. It's not the fault of the little gas station owner who only gets a couple of cents per ga...

By Alan Perish,

Browerville, MN

If you're like me, the hairs on your neck probably stood to attention when you saw the price at the pump at the gas station. It's not the fault of the little gas station owner who only gets a couple of cents per gallon, but the price jump is coming from the big corporate giants that are using events in the Middle East to gouge the public and run up record profits. It's what I call corporate welfare.

If you're wondering who these corporate giants are, we only have to look to two brothers who are making a lot of news lately: Charles and David Koch. Are you aware that they own (or are majority stockholders) in the following gas industries:

Chevron

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Union

Union 76

Conoco

David Koch, who is the 19th richest person in the world, is worth over $14 billion! It was Governor Walker in Wisconsin who took a prank phone call for over 20 minutes thinking he was speaking to David Koch. On this same day, a bi-partisan group of more than 300 local residents of a northern Wisconsin county traveled to Madison for their annual legislative day (which they have done annually for over 40 years) to talk about local issues only to be told that the governor didn't have time to see them. I guess it does go to prove that money talks!

Remember all those ads during the election season that bashed health care reform, against taxes on soda pop and other bottled beverages, and a wealth of other forms of corporate welfare. These ads were sponsored by a so-called group called "Americans for Prosperity" funded largely by the Koch brothers. Yes, I dream as much of prosperity as much as you do, but not at the backs of working people who end up paying for corporate welfare.

Our legislators that represent House District 11B and Senate District 11 are holding fast - without any semblance of compromise - not to raise taxes on the wealthiest Minnesotans. They say that these wealthiest people are the ones who provide the jobs to build our economy. I say bull! These wealthiest people have had dozens of years for these jobs to trickle down and if I look up and down our communities here on Highway 71, I don't see a lot of new businesses opening or new jobs created.

Here in House District 11B, according to the last census figures available, the median household income was $35,765. Not one of these people would have their state income taxes increased under the Dayton plan. As a matter of fact, only 5.5 percent of the households in this district make over $100,000 a year, and even then, many would not be affected by the tax increase because the plan calls for the increase over the amount of $85,000 for single people and $130,000 for couples - and then that is after adjusted net income (and one only pays the increase on the amount over the $85,000/$130,000). The statistics show in this district that only 0.9 percent earn over $200,000.

Knowing that the Koch brothers are one of the biggest contributors to the Republican Party, I just would like to know if our Legislators are with these big corporate welfare people and if this is why they will not compromise with Governor Dayton. If Senator Bill Ingebrigtsen and Representative Mary Franson were truly representing the face and people of this district, I'd just like to ask them who they're for - corporate welfare or us?

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The following is an opinion column written by an Echo Press editorial staff member. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Echo Press.
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