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And now ... a $35M tax subsidy for the Strib's stadium land?

In what will be one of the most closely scrutinized real estate deals in city history, the Strib’s Eric Roper reports: “Minneapolis and a local developer are discussing a potential $35 million tax subsidy to build a plaza as part of a proposal to bring apartments, retail and office space next to the new Minnesota Vikings stadium, officials confirmed Thursday. The prospect of forgoing property taxes to aid Ryan Companies development, which the company has not yet formally requested, is one of several details that emerged about plans for four blocks of Star Tribune land on the eastern edge of downtown. Ryan hasn't purchased the land but is in exclusive negotiations with the newspaper. … Star Tribune spokesman Steve Yaeger declined to comment for this article.” You didn’t really think the piddly few hundred million in taxpayer cash for the stadium was going to be the end of “our share,” did you?

Flu-related deaths have claimed 27 as of last night. Maura Lerner of the Strib says: “Another 23 deaths have been confirmed, and more than 400 people have been hospitalized, in a flu outbreak that is straining hospitals and clinics in various parts of the state, the Minnesota Department of Health announced Thursday. … At least one health official speculated that this could turn out to be the peak of the flu season. ‘I would guess that within the next number of weeks, we would start to see a downturn,’ said Dr. Ruth Lynfield, the Minnesota state epidemiologist.”

Mary Lynn Smith of the Strib follows up on the story of the young Indiana guy abducted as a 5-year-old by his grandparents and found in Long Prairie this week: “19 years later, the search has ended in the central Minnesota town of Long Prairie, where detectives found [Lisa] Harter's son living, now a 24-year-old man with a wife and family that Harter hopes to eventually meet.  … The grandparents, who had taken on new identities, had stopped using their Social Security numbers, which authorities could have used to track them down. ‘When they left, there was nothing. I would run their numbers every year through all 50 states and never get anything back’, [Indiana detective Jeff] Boyd said.”

The state was $114 million better off than expected at the end of 2012. Baird Helgeson of the Strib says: “Minnesota’s tax collections outpaced projections the last two months of 2012, adding an additional $114 million to the state’s general fund. Unexpectedly robust corporate income tax collections accounted for most of the new money, about $93 million, according to Minnesota Management and Budget. Individual income tax collections were slightly higher than predicted, but they were offset by sales tax receipts off 5.1 percent during the holiday shopping season.”

Well, maybe you should have won the election … Tom Scheck of MPR says: “Senate Republicans are criticizing their DFL counterparts for cutting staff salaries and jobs in the Senate Republican Caucus. The Senate Rules Committee approved the staff roster for the 2013 legislative session [Thursday] morning. It includes salary reductions of up to 40 percent for some Republican staffers — a cut GOP Senate Minority David Hann said is unreasonable. ‘What happened today was extremely mean spirited and disingenuous,’ Hann said. Complaints over staff layoffs and salary reductions are common whenever power in the Legislature shifts from one party to another. Democrats won both the House and Senate in November and have been replacing committee administrators and other staff with their own employees. But Republicans complained the cuts are unfairly falling on the GOP and would create a bad working relationship between Democrats and Republicans. ‘This is poisoning the well,’ Sen. Sean Nienow, R-Cambridge, said.” Remind me, what’s the Brodkorb legal bill as of today?

In his latest commentary on the National Institute of Health Policy site, former Sen. Dave Durenberger writes: “Researchers report this week via Health Affairs that increases in U.S. health care costs of 3.9% in each of the last three years are the lowest in 52 years. It may be Obamacare at work, says HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. It may be that patients can’t afford services, say opponents.  We need to raise our premiums, say some large national insurance plans in some states, as much as 20%. What’s really going on, most experts will say, is health reform; changes in how it's delivered and how it’s paid for. ... The real impact of the new federal law will not be felt until this time in 2015 ... And every state has had its chance to create its own version of linking informed consumer choices with reformed Medicaid eligibility, changes in payment policy and the transparent accountability of health care systems.  The president and the Republicans in Congress have a unique opportunity this year to do what was impossible four years ago because of the Tea Party drumbeat on health reform socialism and death panels:  Improve the coverage, the tax subsidy and the employer-sponsored benefits sections of the law.”

Hang on to those parking receipts … . At the PiPress, Mila Koumpilova says: “[U]nflattering national press stirred up perennial questions about the university's overhead just as legislators gear up to tackle its $1.1 billion biennial budget request. University President Eric Kaler went on the offensive: He penned an editorial. He sent lengthy email rebuttals to employees, alumni and parents. He stopped by the Capitol. There, even some Republican legislators say he's proved he is serious about a promise to rein in operational expenses he made when he took over 18 months ago. … [lawmakers] have lost patience with the idea that administrative costs are so complex an issue that they defy definition or historical comparison. [GOP Sen. Jeremy] Miller says he requested an estimate for such costs during the 2011 session. A year later, he got a breakdown of compensation for 11 top administrators and a 2010 comparison of presidential pay at Big Ten universities. For him, that response did not cut it. He said this year he plans to ask for much more detailed spending information from the U as well as the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system.”

In the … sauna? Jana Peterson of the Pine Journal reports: “Marie Margaret Majerle, 36, is accused of going to the Cloquet home of her husband, Richard Alan Majerle, 38, early Sunday and, after they had spent some time together, confronting him in the sauna with a semiautomatic rifle. … According to the complaint, Richard Majerle told police on the way to the hospital that he had been in bed asleep when he heard a knock on the door about 3 a.m. and found his estranged wife at the door. He said she asked to come in and he allowed her in. The couple talked, and at some point decided to go to sleep. About 5 a.m., Marie Majerle asked Richard Majerle to start the sauna, which he agreed to do, the complaint said. Then she told him she needed to leave temporarily to get some medication. Richard Majerle told police that his wife returned to the sauna after about five minutes, opened the door and raised a .22 rifle toward him. He flinched; at the same time, the complaint said, Marie Majerle shot her husband, wounding him in the upper-left chest area.”

“Not guilty” … is the ophthalmologist. Dan Linehan of the Mankato Free Press tells us: “Todd Gavin was cleared by a jury Thursday of all six sexual conduct charges after two women reported they had been inappropriately touched by the eye doctor or unnecessarily disrobed at his request. … Each of the two women suffered from a ‘betrayal of trust,’ Assistant Blue Earth County Attorney Michael Hanson said. ‘Both of these young women went to the doctor for issues concerning their eyes and they were taken advantage of,’ he said. The defense, though, described a doctor punished for being thorough. And even if he had wanted to molest a patient, it's implausible he would have chosen these two, [defense attorney Michael] McDonald said. ‘I'll pick the one whose mom is in the room with me,’ he said sarcastically. And the second woman had ‘shingles that could be connected to AIDS,’ making her another unlikely target, he said.” Following so close on the Minnesota State football coach “child porn” case, I’d say Mr. Hanson is making quite a name for himself down there.

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Comments (5)

Those Fiscally Responsible Republicans

You would think those "fiscally conservative" Republicans would be singing the praises of the Democrats for making fiscally responsible staffing and salary cuts, but not so, because it is happening to them. Cuts are only good when they aren't Republican cuts. Fiscally conservatism is a one-way street that only applies to non-Republicans. The Republicans have found out they can't buy, intimidate, lie, or cheat their way into power so now they are down to the need to develop a totally new philosophy that will serve all Minnesotans, not just a special few. The Republicans say their current philosophy is not wrong and, yet, they keep losing ground. They say they have many leaders, and they do, but many leaders lead to the unbridled chaos running wild through the entire Republican Party. For an organization that claims to have all the answers they are doing a horrible job proving it. The Republicans have lost all their power at the state capitol and, yet, they claim their myth-based philosophy is not wrong. Continued denial will only lead to further defeat. How long will they go on before they make meaningful changes to their failed mantras?


Right now, while the stadium is still on the drawing boards, how about making it adaptable so soccer can be played there? That would provide a lot more revenue and better utilize a huge building that would otherwise sit empty most of the year. All we need is a team.

Republican staffers

Enjoyed more staffing than Democrats when in power and then spent most of THIS years budget last year on salaries, etc. (I have heard the number of 96% already spent from this years budget). If there are cuts, the state is just doing what any family sitting around the kitchen table would do, living within their means.

Didn't the GOP Do As Much or More

to "punish" Democrats by cutting their staff when the Republicans took over? I also seem to remember reports that the Republicans had hired a collection of very highly paid "consultants" (cronies hired at state expense) to "assist" them in their work at the legislature - far more than the Democrats had usually used?

MPR, Mr. Scheck, how about a piece that compares the two party's recent actions during power shifts rather than just reporting the typically juvenile GOP whining about "it's not fair!"?

Since this happens regularly,

Since this happens regularly, how about just allocating the resources via a legislated formula, and not have this snit-fest every time a body flips control? I can think of a decent start, using the senate for numbers.

Take total budget for staffing. Adjust for inflation automatically. Each year, divide the total by 67, since 67 senators. Multiply that number by the number of R's-- that's their budget. Multiply that number by the number of D's-- that's their budget. Since the majority has extra duties, give them an extra portion of the minority budget (5%? 3%? 10%? Some fraction).

Once you have your money, you spend it as you see fit-- and yes, if your leadership indulges in personal behavior that results in >$100k of legal costs, that comes out of your side's money.