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GOP legislators look to eliminate corporate income tax

MORNING EDITION ALSO: The shooting aftermath, Bachmann’s presidential appeal, Tom Horner on education, Target store plans, and deer who love the urban life. Plus skiing with Lonnie Dupre.
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MORNING EDITION

Tradition. It’s a beautiful thing. It’s such a clear demonstration of the values we hold dearest. Senate File 1, the bill that represents the controlling party’s prime legislative initiative, has been announced by the new GOP command. Tom Scheck reports for MPR:The Minnesota Senate will focus on cutting corporate taxes and reducing permitting in Senate File 1.” And: “The key question is whether House and Senate Republicans intend to cut any corporate taxes in the upcoming two year budget cycle. If so, how do they justify deepening a budget hole that is already projected to be $6.2 billion.” Because, you see, just like a family, by reducing income, you have no choice but to cut. Cut what, we have yet to hear, but cut.

Heather Carlson at the Rochester Post-Bulletin reports: “[T]he new Republican House Tax Committee Chairman [Greg Davids] from Preston will introduce a bill Monday to phase out the state’s corporate income tax entirely by 2020. ‘We have to get on board and have an incentive for businesses to come to Minnesota, or we are going to continue to lose revenues and continue to lose jobs,’ he said. Under the proposal, the state’s 9.8 percent corporate franchise tax would decrease by 1 [percentage point] per year beginning this year.” I assume that particular income stream will cease being a “job killer” when it gets to zero.

Minnesota’s congressional delegation has vowed to continue with business as usual despite the killing of six people in Tucson by a suspected anti-government loner. Never the less, Betty McCollum canceled a press conference on the Republican majority’s determination to hold a vote on repealing last year’s health insurance reform. Jeremy Herb writes in the Strib’s “Hot Dish Politics”: “The cancellation comes as no surprise, as the House has postponed all legislative action this week in response to Saturday’s attack. That includes the vote on repealing health reform that was planned for Wednesday. McCollum, a Democrat who supports health care reform, had scheduled an event Monday at West Side Community Health Services in St. Paul with state House Minority Leader Rep. Paul Thissen and Jaeson Fournier, C.E.O. of the West Side clinic. Instead, McCollum plans to meet privately with participants, according to the cancellation notice.”

John Nichols of The Nation throws in his loose change on Congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s presidential appeal: “It is no secret that the most enthusiastic encouragement of a presidential bid by Sarah Palin comes from the Obama White House. No Republican with her level of name recognition polls worse than Palin in a head-to-head race with the Democratic president. Indeed, fresh surveys by Public Policy Polling suggest that in much of the country Palin ‘would lose by the biggest margin of any Republican nominee since Barry Goldwater.’ This, of course, only makes Palin more appealing to the true believers on the Republican right. But what if the former governor of Alaska decides she would rather peddle ghostwritten books and plot a career as the Arctic Oprah? Where could conservative crackpots turn? Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, the wild-eyed Minnesotan who is so extreme that members of the House Republican Caucus rejected her for a leadership position in the new Congress, makes the GOP’s 2008 vice presidential nominee look like a mainstream moderate. And Bachmann is dramatically more ambitious than the Grizzly Grandma.” I tell ya’ she’s one reality TV show and a glitzy new wardrobe away from nomination by acclamation.

Tom Horner writes a commentary for the Duluth News-Tribune on the state of the new legislative session, and pretty much echoes his campaign theme … that drew 11 percent of the vote. On education, he writes: “The Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce estimated that by 2018, 70 percent of Minnesota’s jobs will require some level of post-high school training. Today, we are falling far short. Yet policy discussions in Minnesota too often revolve around fixing an institution like traditional classroom instruction in traditional schools. That is hopelessly out of date. Needed are entirely new approaches. Put teachers in charge of schools, trusting them to hire and fire, to determine curriculum and to make decisions about how resources are allocated. Engage students as partners in education, not just as passive sponges of facts. Use technology and student-directed learning projects in ways that allow students to create their own paths to knowledge.” I still don’t know what that last business is supposed to mean, but at least he isn’t demonizing “overpaid teachers” and their union.

The charter school environment may be a little more sensitive than some workplaces. Kelly Smith of the Strib has a story about a Bloomington charter, Seven Hills Classical Academy, that has fired a teacher and its executive director. In the letter to [teacher Suzi] Splinter, the board said her tone and demeanor to staff and students were “perceived by many as harsh, demeaning, inappropriate and unprofessional.” Director Margaret Glasch was accused of “of inappropriately discussing personnel matters during staff meetings and not addressing two employees’ behavior that was perceived as demeaning and offensive.”

You don’t have to schlep all the way up to the northwoods and fields to hunt deer. According to a PiPress piece by Bob Shaw, there are plenty of deer right here in the Twin Cities metro. “For 100 years, the deer population has grown along with the United States population. About 500,000 white-tailed deer lived in the U.S. in the early 1900s — a number that has exploded into 25 million today. Like people, deer have migrated to cities. ‘Cities have so many advantages for them,’ said Bryan Lueth, urban wildlife manager for the DNR. Cities have no predators, such as wolves or rifle-shooting hunters. Food is plentiful — in homeowners’ gardens. And the lure of the city is irresistible in winter. Deer often snuggle up to the warm foundations of houses. Exhausted by trudging through deep snow, they love plowed streets and walkways. Many eat well, thanks to feedings by soft-hearted homeowners.”

Scott Carlson at Finance and Commerce reports on Target’s plans to upgrade 400 stores and continue adding groceries. “Minneapolis-based Target Corp. plans to remodel about 400 of its general merchandise stores across the nation in 2011, building upon the discounter’s latest strategy to bulk up its grocery offerings. That’s on top of the 350 general merchandise stores in the nation that Target remodeled last year in rolling out its “P Fresh” concept, which typically increased its grocery offerings by 40 percent. At the same time, Target, which has about 1,750 stores in the nation, has scaled back new-store construction. The company was to open about a dozen new stores last year and anticipates opening 21 new stores in 2011, including one SuperTarget.”               

So maybe you’ve cross-country skiied. But have you cross-country skiied while wearing an aluminum ladder? KSTP reports on Minnesota adventurer Lonnie Dupre skiing up a crevasse-filled glacier on Mount McKinley before attempting a solo climb … in January. The link to Dupre’s website is here.