It’s been a bit of an emotional roller coaster the last few weeks around the office, and I’m reminded that perspective is what helps us manage through the lows. My perspective right now comes from the knowledge that as we go about our work and home lives there are hundred of thousands of our fellow humans who have been violently evicted from their homes and from their communities in eastern Europe. I will count my blessings and pray for peace in our world.
Let’s start with a state-wide “low”. The Minnesota legislature FAILED to pass a most important piece of simple and straight forward legislation that everyone agreed was not just important but critical for our business community. The Unemployment Insurance Fund was depleted and then some during the pandemic leaving a billion-plus dollar deficit. By law that deficit must be remedied or an additional business tax kicks in for Minnesota businesses. Keep in mind that we are already the 4th highest taxed state and that we’ve already lost several businesses to competing states over the tax issue. Also keep in mind that more than 30 other states used their federal COVID assistance funds to fix their deficits. Minnesota has those funds available yet has let this obscene situation spiral downward. The deadline was missed, and a double-digit tax increase is now in effect for 1st quarter taxes. Where does the responsibility for this incredible disservice land? I believe on the culture that has been celebrating divisiveness instead of rallying together for best outcomes.
Now on to a couple of community blessings in the last weeks. Our farm and ag-business friends gathered at the American Legion for our Agri-Business Brunch on Ag-Day. This committee is special to us. One of the key functions is Ag in the Classroom. A couple of our volunteers go to third grade classes in our community and share with the students the basics of bacon, hamburgers and other farm output that they can relate to. I guess that what we do is give the kids perspective on their food! The event always has the feel of a reunion, and the close-knit nature of hard-working people permeates the air – along with the smell of the Legion’s famous egg-bake. Great speakers and proud sponsors took turns at the podium and attendees lingered long after the program shaking hands and catching up on all the important news and happenings.
Our Flannel Formal drew around 500 participants to our beautiful downtown to enjoy music, hotdish and a lot of plaid comraderies! It was great to see so many old friends as well as first timers from surrounding communities. My friend Rob and I were visiting later during the event, and he marveled at the idea that after 7 of these events where it’s crowded, and alcohol is being consumed that not once has there been a fight. After some thoughtful analysis I wondered if the idea that because everyone was united in flannel there was more tolerance for the minor conflicts of line cutting, spilled drinks from being bumped into and the guy in front of you who took the last scoop of the best hotdish. Perhaps we need a world-wide flannel party. Better yet – we need our legislators to have a flannel party.