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Pioneer Editorial: Cheers and Jeers

Take a hard look at governor’s proposal

There’s been quite a bit of talk this year about Minnesota’s budget and tax proposals from the state’s elected leaders.

Last week, Gov. Mark Dayton released his budget proposal – with an array of tax cuts and hikes.

The state’s budget wasn’t broken overnight. And it appears there are no easy fixes, either.

On the surface, some of the ideas sound sensible and popular. For example, Dayton’s proposed $500 property tax rebate for most Minnesota homeowners sounds attractive.

But there are several proposed new taxes.

Some proposals impact everyone equally, while others taxes target where people buy goods and services (in the form of a sales tax).

Some taxes target behavior, high-income earners or those who read print editions of newspapers and magazines.

Dayton’s goal is to even out state revenues from property, income and sales taxes. But there could be unintended consequences.

So the state’s Senate and House members should vet the governor’s plan, listen to Minnesotans and gather input on the proposals before making any decisions about the viability of any and all proposals.

Following standards

One of the worst-kept secrets became more than a rumor when Beltrami County prosecutors filed sex abuse charges last week against a former Bemidji elementary school teacher of 30 years.

A Fargo television station broadcast details of an investigation into John Thorn Wangberg’s conduct as a teacher. Social media circles perpetuated rumors.

One of the pillars of our criminal justice system is the idea that the accused is innocent until proven guilty.

Local media, abiding by standards requiring an arrest or charge before naming a suspect, waited to report the allegations until prosecutors filed official charges.

Now Wangberg faces two felony counts of sexual conduct in the second degree and a gross misdemeanor charge of non-consensual sexual conduct in the fifth degree.

The media, including this newspaper, will report the case fairly and objectively as the court process unfolds.

Renewed energy

Curtis Webb, the new executive director of the city-owned Sanford Center, appears to have brought renewed energy and enthusiasm to the facility.

That’s good for staff morale and even better news for the community.

Sanford employees, city officials and advisory board members all seem to agree: more events are needed.

More events means more people coming through the doors, more diverse offerings for the community and more money to offset operational expenses.

It’s too early to tell whether Webb’s momentum will be sustainable. However, early signs look good.