Despite efforts to avoid her Tax Committee, GOP Sen. Julianne Ortmann wants the Vikings funding bill to pass through her turf. Don Davis of the Forum papers writes: “Ortman, R-Chanhassen, said the bill should stop in her Tax Committee before heading to the full Senate.
‘The Vikings stadium proposal that passed the Senate jobs committee contains provisions that require the consideration of the Senate Tax Committee,’ the deputy Senate majority leader said in a statement released minutes before what was thought to be the bill’s final committee hearing began. … The Senate Finance Committee … was to have been the last committee stop before a full Senate vote … But Sen. Sean Nienow, R-Cambridge, said he found 174 tax references in the bill to fund a stadium, and at the time it was not scheduled to be considered by the Tax Committee.” I fail to see why a tax bill needs to be vetted by a tax committee …
At MPR, Tim Nelson says: “Stadium bill authors previously stripped out a sales tax exemption for stadium construction materials, a likely matter of interest among tax committee members. Bill sponsor Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont, said it would cost the state about $180,000 in 2013, $4.7 million in 2014 and $8.9 million in 2015. That’s a total of $13.87 million in foregone sales taxes. ‘I think that’s something you can eventually deal with,’ Rosen said, after telling the Rules Committee she planned to drop that provision in the stadium bill. ‘But this is a planning phase for next year … It’s absolutely something you can do later.’ That wasn’t washing on Monday with at least one tax committee member, Minority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook. He said the the bill should go to Ortman’s panel.”
Ol’ Sooch is still fuming over that $255K payout to Tania Chance by the Burnsville school district. Joe Soucheray, in the PiPress, wants gubmint to do something: “New legislation is the only remedy to undo decades of lawmaking that have granted too many public employees the kinds of privacy protections that could never be realized in the private sector. Whether it’s a police chief who is paid off to leave, or a school super, or a human resources director, the taxpayers, in order to better husband their own money, deserve to be told what is going on. It’s the warren of loopholes and redundant public agencies that need to be cleaned up. The law is already there, but we are seeing how easily, in this case, Burnsville got around the law.Strip away that balderdash and talk straight!” Yeah, the private sector is a model of transparency …
Ramsey County’s air just keeps getting dirtier and dirtier … . Dennis Lien of the PiPress writes: “The county earned an ‘F’ for ‘short-term particle pollution’ in the most recent ‘State of the Air’ report distributed by the American Lung Association. That’s down from a ‘B’ in 2009, a ‘’ in 2010 and a ‘D’ in 2011. ‘I think we should consider this a wake-up call,’ said Robert Moffitt, spokesman for the American Lung Association in Minnesota. ‘Minnesota is in complete attainment status for all air-quality guidelines. But I’m not sure, if we don’t stop our current trends, we will be able to say that in the future.’ ”
Did he teach Tom Petters? Paul Walsh of the Strib reports: “A business school educator who has taught about fraud has been sentenced to prison and must come up with millions of dollars in restitution for defrauding banks. Joseph W. Traxler, 64, an accountant, senior vice president and chief financial officer for the Centennial Mortgage and Funding Inc. mortgage company in Bloomington in 2007 and 2008, was sentenced Tuesday in federal court in Minneapolis. He was given five years in prison for his role in the roughly $8 million in losses the banks incurred through bogus deals. … Traxler joined the faculty of the Minnesota School of Business in Shakopee in January 2009 as chair of its accounting program and has taught the fraud course there three times.” They could get Denny Hecker to do some adjunct work via Skype …
Roadways around the MOA are going to get a $50 million makeover. Says Janet Moore in the Strib: “The city of Bloomington and the state signed an agreement to fund a $49 million rehab of Lindau Lane, a key component in the Mall of America’s expansion plans. According to a news release issued by the city and the Bloomington Port Authority Tuesday, the state will reimburse $15.45 million of the project’s costs, with the $33.35 million balance coming from local sources, including tax-increment financing by the megamall. The state’s portion came through the 2011 capital bonding bill.”
Lucinda Jesson has probably had better days. In the PiPress, Christopher Snowbeck writes: “While Republicans on the subcommittee offered much of the tough talk for Lucinda Jesson — the human services commissioner appointed by Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton — there also was skepticism from Dennis Kucinich, a Democrat from Ohio. Kucinich wanted to know how Jesson and the state could have taken the position that Minnesota didn’t need to split with the federal government a controversial $30 million payment last year from UCare, a Minneapolis-based health plan that manages care for patients in Medicaid. The health insurance program is jointly funded by the state and federal government, but Jesson has argued the state could keep the money from a Medicaid contractor because UCare termed it a donation to Minnesota. ‘I don’t understand that’, Kucinich said. ‘What is a bona fide donation’? During a tense moment in the exchange, U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn., interrupted and asked Kucinich to give Jesson a chance to respond to his questions.”
The Food Truck court returns May 2 in downtown St. Paul. At the PiPress, Kathie Jenkins writes: “The Wednesday food-truck court — 128 Mobile Cafe, Gastrotruck, Fork in the Road, Simply Steve’s and Chef Shack — will begin May 2 at its same downtown St. Paul location on Kellogg Boulevard near Wabasha Street. On Thursday, May 3, a new food-truck court will debut on Kellogg Boulevard near Robert Street and includes Neato’s Burgers, Home Street Home, Messy Giuseppe, Potter’s Pasties and Cave Cafe.”
I forgot to post this one yesterday … Karen Rivedal at the Wisconsin State Journal writes: “Wisconsin saw the largest percentage decrease in employment in the nation during the 12 months ending in March, a new report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said. During that time period, while 27 states and the District of Columbia saw significant job increases, only Wisconsin saw ‘statistically significant’ job losses, the report said. From March 2011 to March 2012, the state lost 23,900 jobs, for the country’s largest percentage decrease, at 0.9 percent. Of the 23,900 jobs lost in Wisconsin in that period, 17,900 were from the public sector and 6,000 were from the private sector, according to the BLS. … Wisconsin also had the third-worst employment losses for March compared to the previous month, with 4,500 fewer jobs than it had in February, the report said.” Gov. Walker may need to hyper-schmooze his “job creators” to hit the 250,000 number he promised.