Et Cetera …

Time to amend deal

Biofuel Energy in Fairmont is not producing ethanol, given the high price of corn and an ethanol surplus. That’s bad news for the company, workers and the city of Fairmont.

This week, the local Economic Development Authority recommended that the City Council approve an amended JOBZ?agreement with Biofuel. It will allow the firm to retain tax breaks even though staffing is minimal and production is idled.

The hope is that Biofuel can get back on its feet, perhaps this fall. The proposed solution at least gives the company a chance.

Not enough being done

We note that Truman Public Schools made program and staff reductions this week as it prepares for the next school year. Which again sparks our curiosity about some area school districts, their small enrollments and their ongoing financial issues.

Stepping back from the local emotions involved, it is clear that districts like Truman and Granada-Huntley-East Chain should be partnering with others, moving toward consolidation. We’ve seen that happen successfully in northern Iowa. To not make such a move does a disservice to students and taxpayers.

City leery of stepping in

There doesn’t seem to be any great push from the public for the city of Fairmont to take over the local movie theater, but perhaps some. We agree with city officials who say getting involved would be a mistake.

It is a shame that Fairmont’s theater is closed, due to high costs for needed repairs and installation of new digital projectors. The city is trying to attract a proprietor, but frowns on public ownership. It is not clear the theater is financially viable. It is also likely that a city-owned theater would spark controversy if it chose to screen movies some citizens found offensive.

Farmers right on target

We have to agree with area farmers who traveled to the Minnesota State Capitol this week to discuss ag issues with state lawmakers. Farmers are most concerned about a possible fourth-tier income tax bracket that would hit them when they sell equipment or buildings.

This highlights one of the major problems of trying to tax “the rich,” whether on the federal or state level. Small businesses, including farms, pay taxes as individuals. Farmers help support local economies, while small businesses employ people. Creating disincentives for them carries forward to hurt the economy as a whole.