By Terry Lehrke, News Editor
There weren’t many people who responded to a call from Jim Storlie and Greg Smith to meet and exchange ideas to bring about positive change. But, it was a start.
About eight joined Storlie and Smith at the Royal Cafe Wednesday, and the focus was on jobs and job creation.
The meeting was not about politics or political affiliation, but a place to throw around ideas and suggestions. Not only were political affiliations not discussed, but participants didn’t even have to offer their full names, just a first name and a last initial.
The meeting was held before the precinct caucuses, so that any idea generated might be made into a resolution to be presented at the caucuses Tuesday night.
Storlie said the long-term goal was to get the conversation started in this community, and spread it to other communities. Once people begin to talk and come together on issues that affect them, they can become a force to speak to their city councils, commissioners and legislators to work for positive change, he said.
Storlie said most people don’t understand the legislation that is passed. He’d like to see bills, laws and acts that come through be written in language ordinary people can understand.
“There are too many weasel words and too much wiggle room,” he said of current bills and laws that get passed. Only attorneys can understand them, he said.
“When things get that complicated, we end up with single issue voters. They find things like pro-life, pro-choice and gun rights, and pick the one they understand,” he said.
Much of the conversation centered on residents in local communities relying on each other for their needs, as in farmers markets and cooperatives. Also, working to raise awareness on the need to buy products made in the U.S.A., to keep money and workers in the United States. Looking at labels to see where a product is produced before purchasing it.
Another idea proposed was tax credits for job creators. “But make them work for it,” said Storlie. He used an example based on a business with a $300,000 tax obligation.
Storlie’s idea, to give that business a $150,000 tax credit, provided it is used to hire workers or buy new equipment. He also suggested businesses receive a credit for any products they purchase in the United States, manufactured by American workers.
Another idea was to give a tax credit to employers who pay 80 percent or more of their employees’ health insurance. That way, Storlie said, the employer and the employee both benefit. The extra money in employees’ pockets would benefit area businesses as well.
An idea for a single “bill” health care system was also offered, whereby patients would receive one bill for a procedure, not multiple bills from different providers seen during the same procedure.
“It would save insurers money in administration costs,” said Storlie. It would also create a consumer friendly market and ensure a competitive market, he said. “All helping all,” he said.
With a decision made to meet monthly for a while, the first Wednesday of the month at 6 p.m., at the Royal Cafe in Little Falls, individuals were encouraged to return and to bring one or two friends.
Before disbanding for the evening, the group agreed it needed a name and decided on “Morrison County Action Committee for Progress” (MCACP).
All those interested in bringing their own ideas to the meeting, are invited to attend Wednesday, March 7.