Thereâ€™s been a quite a bit happening at the Legislature in the last couple of weeks that didnâ€™t have to deal with Redistricting. These include a stadium plan that includes eliminating corporate property taxes and reducing the renter refund for property taxes to help lower corporate taxes. On top of these bills there is the constant drum beat of â€œmillionaires are job creatorsâ€ that keeps getting toss around.
Here are some sample letters to send it to the various papers around. The local Sun and Patch papers are always looking for letters or, if youâ€™re feeling particularly wordy, guest columns (Hey â€“ we know this guy!!).Â
Take one of these sample letters and add some small flavor to make it your own. If you have another letter idea youâ€™d like to send but want somebody to read it first feel free to send it my way. Please let me know if you do send anything in so we can keep an eye out for it and track what weâ€™re sending out to the various papers.
Sample Letter 1:
The Republicanâ€™s in the legislature apparently werenâ€™t happy with just raising property taxes on homeowners last year. Now they want to go even further by eliminating property taxes on corporations as part of a Vikingâ€™s Stadium plan. That Sen. Roger Chamberlain thinks that business will buy billboards on a stadium because they donâ€™t pay property taxes is beyond unbelievable. This only shows how out of touch this Legislature is with what Minnesotanâ€™s are dealing with every day.
Sample Letter 2:
Rep Greg Davis wants to help eliminate income taxes on corporations by reducing the renterâ€™s refund in property taxes. This bill would hit the people who can least afford a tax hike when our economy is still trying to recover. Seniors, students, low income families, and the disabled rent because it is what they can afford to do. Reducing their refund to help corporations pay less in taxes is not the Minnesotan thing to do. Shame on Rep Davis for trying to help his corporate pals by taking from the most vulnerable Minnesotans.
Sample Letter 3:
All this talk about Job Creators has really got me thinking. When I went out to the store today I met a job creator: it was a woman who was buying from our local grocery store. I met another while out in the yard: my neighbor who had just gotten back from seeing a movie. Tomorrow Iâ€™ll see quite a few job creators at my office: my co-workers who shop and eat at all the stores around our office. Everywhere you turn youâ€™ll see another job creator. Its people just like you and I who are out supporting our local business and our community stores. We are the job creators.
There are quite a few things going on right now both in Congress and the Legislature. At the moment, the conversation is leaning our way but it will be really easy for us to lose it. We need to make sure that we keep writing letters and discussing our ideas and our values and why they are better or we’re going to lose the broader public support. There are already TV and Radio ads running that are working against us. We need to make sure that we at least drive the conversation in print.
The President has played the budget issue extremely well. He let the Republicans get their radical proposal out, in full, and let the House Republicans go so far as to vote, unanimously, for the Ryan Plan. Then, and only then, did the President respond with the powerful language we now must adopt and push forward.
President Obama has framed this issue in a most favorable way. Which is your choice - more tax cuts for the wealthy or the continued existence of Medicare? Now that he has teed up the question, our job is to hit it, and hit it hard.
As leaders in the DFL, it’s our job to make sure that our message is getting out there. President Obama and Governor Dayton have done a wonderful job of setting up our efforts, it’s our job to bring them home. We are the DFL.
Budget issues will likely be the big issue for the next few months and letters regarding that will be more likely to be printed and be more influential in showing our values. Below, as always, are some sample letters. Please take these and work them in to your own words and submit them to the Star Tribune and Pioneer Press. Work these ideas in to comments that you post online to blogs. Take and tie in a local issue and submit a letter or editorial to your local Sun paper.
Sample Letter 1
The Tea Party Republicans are finally starting to show their true colors with the constant proposals of tax advantages for the rich and reduced services for the rest of America. This war on the middle class has been going on for years and now has a new face. Reps. Eric Paulsen, John Klien, and Michele Bachmann should take some time and read the bill if they really think the recent Republican budget proposal will bring about any cost savings. All this does is provide more tax advantages for the rich while hurting the vast majority of Minnesota.
Sample Letter 2
Rep. Paul Ryan and his tea party allies have finally introduced a budget plan that is designed to kill Medicare and Medicaid. By putting costly middlemen into the system they will drive up costs and force seniors to navigate a complex insurance mess that will provide no long term cost savings. This privatization of Medicare helps nobody by the rich insurance companies at the expense of the rust of us.
Sample Letter 3
For the party of “small government”, it seems strange that the Republican party is has passed a bill that will duplicate Medicare 50 times. The increased overhead and extra middlemen this budget plan introduces takes a system that works well for our seniors and sets it on the road to ruin. It is disturbing to hear the republicans talk about how this is a good idea. The only people this helps are the republican allies who will benefit from more tax advantages while the middle class suffers again
For more ideas and information, visit the Pocket Progressive website and read this post: http://pocketprogressive.org/tiki-view_forum_thread.php?forumId=2&comments_parentId=115. As always, please let me know where you submit your letters and what you submitted so we can try and track our progress.
The new budget forecast came out today and the numbers are starting to look better. We need to start writing letters about this to make sure that we can keep the pressure up on the Republican party. The line already from the GOP has been that tax-cuts will continue to improve the situation, but they still won’t discuss what plans they have for their all-cuts budget.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to write letters to the editor on these issues and to write our legislators. If we don’t keep getting our message out there and using our frames, then we will lose the public debate on this and force Gov. Dayton into a lose-lose situation. While it’s almost a guarantee that we won’t change any GOP minds, we can at least make them feel the heat and let them know that we are watching.
Again, please let me know if you submit anything so we can track where our efforts are working.
Where to Submit:
Star Tribune: http://mpls.startribune.com/dynamic/feedback/form.php (max 250 words)
Pioneer Press: When submitting a letter, please include your full name (or first and middle initials and last name) and your city of residence, for publication. For verification purposes only, and not for publication, include your street address and daytime telephone number. Limit letters to 150 words or fewer. All letters are subject to editing. Please send your letters in the body of the e-mail, not as an attachment to email@example.com.
Sun Papers: http://mnsun.com/forms/letters/ (max 250 words)
Sample Letter 1
It’s great for our state that our budget deficit has improved and that the solutions to balance it will be less painful. We still need to do more though to get Minnesotan’s back to work. With unemployment at 22.5% in construction, a bonding bill this year would help us repair and enhance our infrastructure, allow us to borrow when rates are low, and help put people back to work.
Sample Letter 2
It’s time for the GOP to show up with their all cuts plan for Minnesota. With 70% of our budget dedicated to K-12 Education and Health and Human Services, the GOP would put seniors and our children at risk. It’s time for the GOP to admit they can’t cut their way out of the mess they created and to start working with the governor to get real results.
Sample Letter 3
It’s time for the Republicans to step up and start taking a reasonable approach to the state budget mess Tim Pawlenty left us. Govern Dayton has shown that he is ready to work to help get the deal done. Will the Republicans be adult enough to join him?
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