We’re No. 2 … in cost of day care. Jeremy Olson’s Strib story on a new study says: “Placing an infant in a child care center in Minnesota costs more than a year of state college tuition — and can consume half the annual income of a typical single mother — according to a national report released Thursday. Minnesota was the nation’s second costliest state for center-based child care last year, relative to the state’s median income, according to the report by Child Care Aware of America, an advocacy group based in Washington, D.C. One year of infant care in a center cost $13,579 in Minnesota, while one year for a preschooler cost $10,470. In 17 states, a year of infant care cost less than $8,000.”
The Duluth News-Tribune’s editorial page gets into the case of DFL Rep. Kerry Gauthier saying: “If Gauthier was an everyday private citizen perhaps a police investigation could be treated as a private matter. But he’s not. He’s a public servant, picked by the people with whom he lives to represent them in St. Paul. He carries the responsibility of the public trust. His constituents pay his salary and have every right to know whether they ought to continue to do so. If Gauthier won’t talk, at least not immediately, it seems clear law enforcement could be far more forthcoming. … the Minnesota State Patrol and Duluth police at first flat-out denied a request by the News Tribune for public information pertaining to the ‘suspicious activity’ at the rest stop.”
Of course, elsewhere in the News Tribune, Brandon Stahl writes: “The St. Louis County Attorney’s office has decided not to pursue charges in an Interstate 35 rest stop incident last month involving state Rep. Kerry Gauthier and an individual police reports have confirmed to be a 17-year-old male. The Minnesota State Patrol and Duluth Police Department earlier this week told the News Tribune that Gauthier, DFL-Duluth, had contact with a state trooper on July 22 about 11 p.m. at the Thompson Hill rest stop after a ‘report of suspicious activity.’ Records released today show that the State Patrol and Duluth police investigated Gauthier for allegedly having oral sex with a 17-year-old male at the rest stop. Gauthier, 56, who on Tuesday told the News Tribune, ‘I think it’s a private matter and I don’t need to talk about it,’ could not be reached for comment today.” Gauthier was hospitalized Wednesday with breathing problems.
You’re not alone if you wonder if the Minnesota-Wisconsin tax reciprocity deal will ever be worked out. Andy Rathbun of the PiPress says: “In February, Wisconsin and Minnesota reached an agreement in principle that would once again allow residents who live in one state and work in the other to only file one state income tax return. But before the deal can be finalized, the states must agree on how much money Wisconsin will owe Minnesota under the first year of the policy’s restoration. Minnesota is currently estimating that number to be $96 million, but Wisconsin’s estimate is $55.6 million. If reciprocity is be restored by Jan. 1, the two states must agree on a figure by Oct. 1. The 16 Wisconsin legislators said in their Thursday letter to Dayton that it is their understanding Minnesota is ‘insisting’ Wisconsin pay the $96 million amount — something Minnesota’s Deputy Revenue Commissioner Matt Massman rebutted Thursday.” Tell you what. Let’s split the difference at $75 million and you get the Packers to forfeit two games this year to the Vikings.
Speaking of our heavily armed neighbors … The AP reports: “The Legislature’s rules committee voted Thursday to extend through mid-October temporary regulations that enacted Wisconsin’s concealed carry law. The state Justice Department drafted the rules last fall to implement the Republican-authored law. The regulations allow anyone 21 years or older who can legally possess a firearm and provides proof of training to apply for a concealed carry permit. Republican lawmakers took issue with a provision in the rules that mandated applicants receive at least four hours of training, saying the concealed carry statutes don’t set out a minimum training time requirement.” Yeah, come on! If they can pick it up and squeeze the trigger, that’s good enough, isn’t it?
Some big boxes are still getting bigger. A Strib piece by Don Jacobsen says: “The Compass Report by Cushman & Wakefield/NorthMarq said that in a retail market still buffeted by a lack of consumer confidence, high vacancies and negative absorption, new mega-stores from the cash-laden likes of Wal-Mart, Menard’s and Costco are continuing to come online, with plans for more in the works. The report notes that while some big-box retailers, including Best Buy, are shrinking the size of their stores and subleasing space to smaller retailers, that’s not always the case. A prime example is Wal-Mart, which will open a 182,000-square-foot Supercenter at the former Brookdale Mall site in Brooklyn Center next month.”
Gubmint is meddling with the job creators again! Jennifer Bjorhus of the Strib reports: “State insurance regulators have sanctioned four of the largest life insurance companies that operate in Minnesota for allegedly steering death-benefit recipients to keep the money in special accounts the companies run, instead of taking lump sum payouts. The companies — Prudential, John Hancock, MetLife and ING — were each fined $200,000 and ordered to change their claims forms in Minnesota and re-establish cash lump sum payouts as the default option, according to the consent orders the state Department of Commerce released Thursday. The pacts don’t provide direct compensation for individual consumers. The department estimates that thousands of Minnesotans were affected by confusing paperwork and said the practices have gone on for years.” Really, does anyone understand the average insurance policy?
Not from Wisconsin … The Cedar Rapids Gazette fills in some details on a story that has been kicking around for a couple of days: “A 24-year-old North Liberty man has been arrested on suspicion of drunken driving after being hospitalized with a blood alcohol level of 0.627 percent, high enough to have killed him and the highest level Johnson County Attorney Janet Lyness said she’s ever seen. … Michael Takacs, clinical assistant professor of emergency medicine and an emergency room doctor at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, said 0.627 percent is higher than any level he’s seen during his eight years in the field. At that level, Takacs said, a person would have to go to the intensive care unit and would be at risk of losing heart and respiratory functions. ‘That’s astronomically high, and the highest I’ve ever heard of’, Takacs said. ‘For even the most seasoned alcoholic, 0.627 would be a lethal dose possibly.’ To get to a 0.627 percent blood alcohol level, Takacs said, a person would have to consume 35 shots, bottles of beer or glasses of wine in four hours.”
Conservative blogger Andy Aplikowski is not happy — no, sir — with his party’s operations. Post-Kurt Bills’ squeaky primary win, he writes at Residual Forces: “[W]e need to do everything we can to defeat Amy Klobuchar and that means help Kurt Bills. But, I want each and every one of you to remember this and who was telling you all those wonderful things. They were wrong. Also thanks to people believing the Taco Tony’s BS, because the State Party is understaffed and broke. And that’s not a shot at the people there now, its a shot at the people who left the party in the condition it is in. All who seem to have just transitioned seamlessly to ruining other campaigns and organizations. Its why I fight and rail so hard on the shortcomings of the Party and try to get people to make good decisions in Chair elections. Its critical that the party works well in its Primary Directive, which is elections. Well the cronyism of the last few Chairman has finally run its course. Look, you can’t win the Indy 500 in a Ford Pinto. This Party problems no doubt helped lead to the dismal performance by Bills, but its not the only reason. Don’t think Bills can just point fingers outside his own office as why it went so badly last night, because the mirrors in that office should come in handy as the reflect on what happened. I pray that someone will intervene on Bills’ campaign. An embarrassing performance like last night requires pink slips and massive changes. Its not personal, this is business folks. Very important business. You only get to remove terrible Senators every 6 years. This is fire your mother if she isn’t helping time.” I think Andy laid off his copy editor.