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Moscow on the Mississippi

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Looking out the window on icy snow this cold, gray mid-November morning, it is hard not to make the comparison. Minneapolis is looking more and more like Moscow on the Mississippi. Predictions by global warming enthusiasts not withstanding, the weather is not the only similarity. 

A grayness hovers over Minnesota like a fog. It is a heaviness. It feels oppressive. The gray funk resulting from the reality that the Left has strengthened its grip on this state and its government. The Governor-elect wasted little time announcing that we should brace for the jolt of a hefty tax increase on gasoline. While some peasants who voted for him ask, “where did that come from?” Others who didn’t vote for him have resigned themselves to the reality that this is a precursor of additional “revenue enhancements” to come. Of course, that means higher taxes, especially on upper income Minnesotans. They are told that they shouldn’t complain. They can afford it. And we all know that government can spend and invest their money so much better than they can themselves. No need to donate to church or charity. 

We must first raise our gas tax. We desperately need more roundabouts. Especially in locations where stop signs have worked well for 100 years. A handful of noisy Minnesotans are also demanding more bike lanes for the two dozen folks who use them…three months a year. Once the mass transit interests get an oversized slice, there will be some left for more legitimate transportation needs like roads and bridges. Higher gas taxes are the only answer. 

The peasants will just have to pay it. They will deal with the new taxes, just as they deal with the bitter winter winds. They might grumble, but they will hunker down. We have been promised by our new Governor that we are on our way to becoming a Sanctuary State. He will need more money to cover additional welfare and crime related costs. The weight of the wagon gets ever heavier. 

Some of those better informed serfs wonder aloud, how did this happen? How did an angry Islamist become our Attorney General? They read the fluff pieces on the liberal candidates in the StarTribune and mutter that this would not be happening if Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor were still alive. Wasn’t he once a conservative State Senator? He bought the newspaper. Maybe they neglected to print his obituary? 

They read the campaign disclosure reports and see that three respected businesses in Minneapolis were among the largest donors to to Kieth Ellison’s Congressional races. How can it be that TCF, General Mills and Thrivent Insurance for Lutherans each contributed more to him than the Teamsters?

Not all Minnesotans are going to simply tighten their scarfs and take it. They’ve started voting with their feet. One study found that Minnesota lost (or began losing) an estimated $2.1 billion in taxable income from the 3,099 wealthy taxpayers who fled the state over the past two years. These successful people discovered that they can live quite well, in nicer homes, just on the tax differential. They can play golf and enjoy their patio parties nearly year round. Does anyone doubt that more wealth will surely follow? There are now so many Minnesotans living in exile in Florida that the Minnesota Revenue Department pays special attention to people who move. Their mission is to try to prove that these people aren’t really Florida residents and thereby squeeze more tax money from them. 

Our Leftist leaders, their supporters in the Minneapolis business community and their apologists at the StarTribune pretend we don’t see all this. They have taken to wealth-shaming any resistors. They have somehow convinced themselves that we can just continue to export wealth and import poverty without consequence. That the people who create the real jobs and those who actually pull the wagon will just have to pull a little harder. All so that the liberal politicos can redistribute the wealth that the producers created. 

But, there is mounting evidence that a growing number of the very people who pull the wagon and have made Minnesota such a wonderful place are following the lead of our song birds. They are migrating. They are leaving the cold and gray Moscow on the Mississippi and heading for sunny places that are much more hospitable. 

And don’t bet your parka that they will be back in the spring. 

Gil Gutknecht served six terms each in the Minnesota and the U.S. House of Representatives. He writes about healthcare and political issues of the day. 

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