Editor’s Column – June 2005

John Tschida recognizes that this is the ninth special session in recent history. Does a special session give the governor […]

John Tschida recognizes that this is the ninth special session in recent history. Does a special session give the governor or legislators an advantage in negotiations? Some political analysts suggest that it does give one party an advantage over the other, but there is no hard proof that this is true. Some of our freshmen legislators early on talked about writing a bill that would eliminate pay for legislators during special session. Needless to say the idea was squashed almost as fast as it was brought up. One would think that if legislators were truly concerned with the budget, considering it costs about $15,000 a day to run the special session, they would put much more effort into compromising and finding the best solution for their constituents. Unfortunately, our legislators did not foresee the shortfalls that their generosity would create with tax cuts and rebates several years back. Now, fair and equitable taxes’ (a rose by any other name) need to be increased to raise the necessary revenues to maintain quality of life for all Minnesotans. If by chance when you read this there hasn’t been a resolution yet call, write, and/or email your legislators, as well as Speaker Sviggum, Majority Leader Dean Johnson, and Governor Pawlenty. Let them know that you feel that taxes need to be part of the long-term solution. If some of the cuts that are proposed are enacted into law, they will directly impact the Minnesotans least able to bear the losses.

On page 4, we have an article about the cuts to Metro Mobility. How will they affect you? If they do affect you, please, as I wrote before, write the Speaker, Majority Leader, and Governor and explain to them how this will affect your quality of life.

Access Press is celebrating its 15th year anniversary; Access Press has hit the street on the 10th of every month with 180 issues. Do you have them all? If you don’t, check out page 5 and see the highlights of the last 15 years. As you read through, remember how many of these stories you read about first in access Press. Think about the information that Access Press provided, did some of the information improve your quality of life, increased your income, help you find a place to stay, or inform you about new legislation that directly benefited or affected you? Write up your stories and send them to us; we would love to hear them and pass them on to other readers in future issues of Access Press.

I was fortunate enough this last month to have an opportunity to spend some time with the new CEO of Courage Center, Jan Malcolm. I think Jan is going to make a good leader for Courage Center. She wants to get involved in all aspects of the organization. I asked her what I would hear if a year from now I were to go to any resident and asked them if they know Jan Malcolm or if they have ever talk to her. She responded with “I want to be accessible to all of the staff, resident, and other organizations that have connections with Courage Center. But I’ve only been here for four weeks now and I can’t guarantee too much other than I have a extremely knowledgeable staff and board and I will rely on them to help me keep focused and connected to the real issues that concern all of the disability community. I will do my best.”