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Dayton bails on biz-to-biz tax plan, and business is happy

That sound you hear? Champagne corks in the Strib’s editorial suite. Brian Bakst of the AP says, “Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton tells the Associated Press he’s “99.8 percent certain” he’ll abandon a bid to broaden the state sales tax to service transactions, a key revenue element of his proposed budget but also one that provoked protest from the business community. Dayton said Friday that a business-to-business component was surely gone and that he doesn’t want consumers to shoulder the new load. He plans to detail other revisions to his budget proposal next week. … Dayton is standing behind his plan to raise income taxes on the wealthy.” Well, if B2B was a tactic, he better get something … .

For the Strib … Baird Helgeson writes, “Without the tax on business services, Dayton will no longer have the money for his proposed $500-per-family property tax rebate. Dayton endured blistering criticism for nearly two months as business leaders hammered on his budget proposal that called for a menu of new taxes on business services, like legal and accounting fees. … Dayton suddenly found himself in a one-man battle against some of the state’s most powerful business interests … .” Who shall not be identified specifically at this time … .

And good luck with this, too. Nick Winkler at KSTP-TV says, “The Atlanta Falcons are being required to pay $800 million of a new $1 billion NFL stadium. The Falcons will also kick in an extra $50 million for infrastructure improvements. Georgia taxpayers will not contribute like Minnesota taxpayers will for a Vikings stadium since the $200 million public contribution for a Falcons stadium will be paid for via the Atlanta hotel/motel tax. …The Falcons comparison, along with an electronic pull tabs stadium financing shortfall, is prompting at least one lawmaker to consider whether the Vikings stadium deal should be reconfigured in some manner. More specifically, some lawmakers are interested in exploring whether the state can renegotiate the deal terms and pressure the Vikings to increase their contribution. The Vikings tell us the team is not interested in re-negotiating and argue the deal is a good one for Minnesota taxpayers.”

You and I will have access to an extra 11,000 acres up in Lake County. The AP story says, “The state has reached a deal with a Duluth company to preserve public access to nearly 11,000 acres of forest in Lake County in northeastern Minnesota. Marlow Timberland will get almost $5.7 million in return for a permanent conservation easement on the land, which lies next to thousands of acres of public forests, according to the Department of Natural Resources. The agreement ensures public access to the land for hunting, fishing and other outdoor recreation.” For that $5.7 million I expect roads big enough for an F-350, a trailer and four ATVs. I love the wilderness.

At MPR Dave Peters reports on an auditor’s report that shows Minnesota cities have significantly decreased spending. “Auditor Rebecca Otto’s office put out its annual take Thursday, toting up the numbers from 2011, which, as you may recall was a year frought with angst over state aid and tough economic times. The bottom line? Minnesota’s cities spent 4 percent less in 2011 than they did in 2010. And when you look long term and adjust for inflation, city spending dropped 20 percent over 10 years. What’s interesting about this chart is that, after rising or holding steady for years, actual spending even before adjusting for inflation now has dropped in the most recent year.” And road, sewer and park maintenance? Improving dramatically?

The GleanIf Goldman Sachs is doing well so must we all, right? Jason DeRusha at WCCO-TV does on of his “Good Questions” on the disconnect between the Dow Jones economy and … everything else. “You’d think a week of record market closes would make us feel like the economy is back. Not so, according to Steve Lear and Andy Fishman, partners at Affiance Financial in St. Louis Park. ‘The stock market is not the economy,” Lear said. He added: ‘The economy has a soul. The stock market has no soul. The economy cares of whether you’re working … what interest rates are, what inflation rates are’. … Part of the recent stock market rally is because the Federal Reserve has interest rates close to zero. Investors have nowhere else to go. When you adjust for inflation in the last five years, the market isn’t much higher than it was in 2008. The Dow, by the way, is just thirty stocks … .”

Unconscionable gun-grabbin’! Says Dave Hanners in the PiPress, “As punishments go, the month Vern Hoff must spend in a halfway house for his crime may pass quickly. But as a federal judge noted Thursday, the lifetime ban on firearms will require some big adjustments for the man who took his new bride hunting for their honeymoon. ‘Your inability to possess firearms is going to require a real change in lifestyle for you,’ U.S. District Judge Ann Montgomery told Hoff as she sentenced him for his role in an ill-conceived caper and attempted cover-up involving two dead gray wolves in the Superior National Forest. … The prosecutor said Hoff had long thumbed his nose at authority in general and wildlife laws in particular. Calling the crime ‘cowardly,’ she said Hoff has ‘a deep disregard both for authority and for the law,’ and that he’d shown ‘no sense of contrition or sense of responsibility.’ ” In  other words, a champion of Second Amendment freedoms.

They did what? John Myers of the Duluth News Tribune tells us, “The good news is that there weren’t high levels of toxic substances or hazardous chemicals in any of the 25 barrels of military waste raised from the bottom of Lake Superior last summer. … The bad news is that there were thousands of tiny explosive devices in 22 of the barrels — devices called ejector cup assemblies used to separate cluster bombs in flight — that recovery project crews were unable to receive federal authority to bring to shore.
So with nowhere to bring them, crews on the project barge stuffed them into six new, bright orange containers, marked the spot on a GPS and dumped the detonators back into the lake, where they still sit today.”

The former wife of the man who died with his three young sons in that Wyoming plane crash a couple years ago is suing Jackson Hole air traffic control. Ben Neary of the AP says, “Michelle Bucklin sued Virginia-based Serco, Inc., in U.S. District Court in Cheyenne this week claiming an air traffic controller’s negligence caused the crash. She brought the suit as personal representative of the estates of her three sons who died in the crash.  … the NTSB …  noted that an air traffic controller had given Bucklin an improper flight clearance, spelling out a path that would take him over some of Wyoming’s highest mountain peaks at too low an altitude. The agency said that the improper clearance, and Bucklin’s acceptance of it, contributed to the accident.”

Comments (6)

  1. Submitted by Arito Moerair on 03/08/2013 - 01:16 pm.

    Weasel words

    “Dayton suddenly found himself in a one-man battle against some of the state’s most powerful business interests…”

    Wikipedia calls them weasel words. In this case, it’s “some of.” Wikipedia admonishes editors for using such words and strongly discourages their use if real examples or numbers can be given. Failure to provide such information can result in the sentence being removed from an article.

  2. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 03/08/2013 - 02:42 pm.

    The viewpoint matters, I guess

    If the ‘Strib were a real newspaper, “…some of the state’s most powerful business interests…” leaning on Governor Dayton to protect their own bottom line at the expense of the rest of Minnesota’s citizenry would, in print, be identified.

    If pigs regularly fly, then the Vikings’ assertion that the deal negotiated for a new Vikings stadium “…is a good one for Minnesota taxpayers” might be true.

    Refreshing to hear a couple of guys in the finance industry say, on the record, that “The stock market has no soul.”

    I can’t help but wonder, after the month in a halfway house, who will be monitoring Vern Hoff to ensure that the “lifetime ban on firearms” imposed on him as punishment is actually being adhered to. If, as the prosecutor asserted, Mr. Hoff “has long thumbed his nose at authority in general and wildlife laws in particular…” I’d be inclined to believe that, somewhere in the not-too-distant future, Mr. Hoff will test that “lifetime ban.”

  3. Submitted by Richard O'Neil on 03/08/2013 - 02:45 pm.

    and dumped the detonators back into the lake, where they still s

    Are you kidding me?

  4. Submitted by James Hamilton on 03/08/2013 - 04:45 pm.

    The only surprise here

    is the decision to dump 22 barrels of “tiny explosive devices” back into Lake Superior. WTH were the Feds thinking when they denied permission to bring them ashore?

  5. Submitted by Charles Holtman on 03/08/2013 - 05:48 pm.

    Kudos on your closing witticisms lately, Mr Lambert –

    Very amusing. Though it must be said, there’s never been an easier time to be sardonic.

  6. Submitted by Joe Musich on 03/08/2013 - 08:19 pm.

    Dayton does a Chamberlin ?

    Something like jumping the shark. Seems to be his high pressure tactics were behind both the business tax debacle and the Vikings business victory. And what do the people get but empty words ?

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