Et Cetera …

Too much red tape

It’s baffling, to say the least, that Fairmont’s Housing and Redevelopment Authority cannot sell off a small parcel of land it owns without approval of the federal government. The local HRA wants to sell the plot to Pizza Hut, which is also planning to develop the former Smokin’ Joe’s gas station site along State Street.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has an in-depth process for the local HRA to complete the sale. Such a process might make sense in a metro area. It does not here, where we the people are under the thumb of them, the bureaucrats.

Locals could lower bids

Fairmont city administrator Mike Humpal makes an excellent point: If the city always chose local bidders over lowest bidders for projects, the difference in costs would add up, hurting the city budget and taxpayers in the long run.

We have noted here before that it would be nice if local bidders had the opportunity to at least match the low bid. That way the work and tax dollars would stay here. This would require a change in state law, though.

There’s also this: Local bidders could start doing a better job of bidding. If they want the work, why not go low. It would give taxpayers here a break too.

Tax plan needs revamp

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton’s tax overhaul plan is sparking lots of concern among business owners, who are seriously worried about possible sales taxes on business-to-business transactions. We have to agree with those worries.

States generally don’t tax those transactions because they make businesses less competitive. And Dayton’s push comes as other governors are trying to make life more comfortable, not less, for the businesses in their states.

We have recommended that state lawmakers nix the business-to-business taxes. That still leaves room for Dayton’s goal of extending sales taxes to services while lowering the overall rate.