Et Cetera …

Sales tax on the ballot

Blue Earth City Council has decided to let voters decide the fate of a 0.5 percent local option sales tax that would generate $2.5 million over 25 years. Voters will decide whether to boost funding and spending for wastewater infrastructure, streets and recreation. The question will be on the ballot in November.

We believe Blue Earth has outlined some valid priorities for the additional funds, should the referendum pass. Voters also should note that the local sales tax would be small, and shoppers who come to town will help foot the bill.

Partnership aids students

The Sentinel recently reported on a program that lets Fairmont Area students shadow those who work in various departments at Mayo Clinic Health System here. We believe this is a great partnership that will give students insights they need as they consider careers in health care.

The school and medical facility have started small, with eight students taking part in the program. School officials note that about three times as many students are interested. We hope the partnership can grow to accommodate them. It would be wonderful to see other outlets for students in the community as well.

Another bad budget deal

The federal government finally has budget deal. Too bad. Our elected leaders’ cowardice in the face of out-of-control spending apparently knows no bounds. Despite a $20 trillion national debt and projected budget deficits for the foreseeable future, Republicans and Democrats took the easy way out and increased spending.

How did the two sides finally agree to avoid a shutdown? They bought each other off. Republicans get huge spending increases for the Pentagon, while Democrats get to spend more on domestic programs.

This is not sustainable, and the day of reckoning is drawing ever closer.

Gunther offers caution

Speaking of debt, our state representative, Bob Gunther, R-Fairmont, had some words of caution about the state of Minnesota’s borrowing this week. Unlike the federal government, states like Minnesota must balance their budgets. They do, however, borrow money for capital improvements. But the credit card is not limitless.

Gunther says the state cannot get into a position where it has borrowed so much that it has to worry about being able to make interest payments on the debt. He says a sensible approach to borrowing is a must, despite all the demand for projects around the state.