The latest gimmick to cover “our share”of the Vikings’ new football palace is a tax on your favorite pair of purple and gold Zubaz. Says Tim Nelson at MPR: “A proposal to tax sports memorabilia might be headed back towards a stadium deal, thanks to the House Taxes Committee chairwoman, Rep. Ann Lenczewski, DFL-Bloomington. She’s proposing a tax on licensed sportswear and other goods, including trading cards, photographs, autographed merchandise and other items. Lenczewski said in an interview today that the easiest way would be to simply levy regular sales tax on jerseys, T-shirts and other licensed clothing that’s tax-free now. … Lenczewski’s bill, though, has an added twist. It would also tax suites, skyboxes and other ‘other similar facilities in stadiums and arenas,’ as well as personal seat license sales. That’s likely to spark another battle — it could have well-heeled ticket holders for the Wild, the Timberwolves and the Twins subsidizing the Vikings stadium across town.”
At the Strib, Richard Meryhew says: “A $30 million-plus shortfall in Vikings stadium financing from the slow rollout and sluggish sales of electronic pulltabs isn’t likely to delay plans to break ground on the project come October, the chairwoman of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority said Monday. ‘We’re into this,’ said Michele Kelm-Helgen, head of the public authority overseeing the $975 million downtown Minneapolis development. ‘We’re spending money and the project is underway’. … ‘If nothing changes and the shortfall continues and they [sell] the bonds, the money will come out of the general fund,’ said Sen. Sean Nienow, R-Cambridge, who plans to introduce a bill this week to put stadium construction on hold until the issue is resolved. ‘And three-fourths of the general fund goes to education and health care.’” What’s education and health care if you don’t have … football?
Edina Watch: A town icon has passed away. Paul Walsh of the Strib tells readers: “Jerry Paulsen, whose namesake grocery store is a decades-old institution in Edina with corporate tentacles reaching to a Florida resort island and closer to home in Minnesota and Wisconsin, has died. Paulsen, trained as a butcher while earning a business degree before starting his first Jerry’s on Vernon Avenue, died in his sleep Friday at his Edina home. He was 89. … Paulsen’s corporation now counts three groceries that bear his name — in Edina, Eden Prairie and in Sanibel Island, Fla., home of his winter retreat — as well as 34 others that have Cub, County Market or Save-a-Lot nameplates. A new grocery store in Woodbury is on course to open in the summer. Jerry’s also has hardware stores in Edina, Maple Grove, Bloomington, St. Louis Park and another about to open in Eden Prairie.” Here in the ‘hood we call it JerryWorld.
And how’s the baby … ? Dave Hanners of the PiPress writes: “A St. Paul woman admitted her night of partying included mixing wine and the painkiller Percocet before she sped through downtown Minneapolis and fatally hit a man. The reason Teisha Yovonne Randle was celebrating last October: She’d just learned she was pregnant.Randle pleaded guilty Monday, April 8, to two counts of criminal vehicular homicide in the death of Austin Conley, an Augsburg College student. … [Defense attorney Caroline] Lamas said her client was very sorry for what she’d done — so sorry that she ended her pregnancy after being charged. ‘She feels she can’t bring a life into this world knowing she’s taken one,’ Lamas said.”
Duh! The AP has a shocker … . “The U.S. Department of Agriculture says Minnesota farmers are getting off to a slow start because of the persistent winter. It its first weekly crops and weather report of the year, the USDA’s Minnesota field office says the cold start to April and continuing dry conditions have limited field work compared with last year. Only 0.2 days were suitable for fieldwork last week, and producers don’t expect full-scale fieldwork to begin until about April 26th, about two weeks later than last year and five days behind the five-year average.” Is there enough cash coming in from e-pulltabs to build a dome over the state?
The Strib notes Minnesota’s commendable status in gender wage equity. “Minnesota is one of only a handful of states to require equal pay for work of equal value in government employment, as measured by a job-specific point system. That’s been the law in state employment since 1982 and county and municipal employment since 1984. But achieving the law’s goal took many years. Full pay equity was finally achieved in state employment in 2010; it’s still a matter for regular, though typically minor, pay adjustments in local governments. A well-deserved salute to that achievement and to the women’s equity crusaders who engineered it is planned at the State Capitol this morning.” If this was given a floor vote today do you think it’d be straight party line?
Kyle Potter of the AP reports on the Legislature’s efforts to control tuition costs. “The House and Senate budget bills unveiled Monday, April 8, would send more money to the state’s grant program for financial aid and give public colleges and universities millions of dollars dedicated to freezing tuition rates for the next two years. ‘It’s been about eight years since we’ve had a positive number in higher education,’ said Rep. Gene Pelowski, referring to almost a decade of budget cuts at universities and colleges. ‘I would hope that we focus it and use it wisely.’ The University of Minnesota and the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities systems asked for about $1.2 billion in funding for the next two years. The Senate’s bill nearly meets that request. The House bill chops about $65 million from the university’s request and about $12 million from MnSCU’s.”
We’re No. 16! Howard Weiss Tisman of the Brattleboro Reformer out in Vermont writes: “The Strolling of the Heifers has put together its second annual Locavore index, which rates the 50 states and the District of Columbia on how strong their local food systems are, and Vermont has once again come out on top. Rounding out the top five states for locavorism, according to the index, are Maine, New Hampshire, North Dakota and Iowa, while the bottom five are Texas, which came in last, followed by Florida, Louisiana, Arizona and Nevada.” As mentioned, Minnesota came in No. 16. But we’re getting better: Last year, we ranked 17th.
What difference would another dime make? Tom Scheck of MPR covers Gov. Mark Dayton’s opposition to a gas tax increase. “The chairs of the House and Senate Transportation committees are redrafting their budget bills after Governor Dayton repeated his opposition to a gas tax increase. Rep. Frank Hornstein, DFL-Minneapolis, says they are reworking the bill after Dayton’s comments earlier in the day. … Dayton has opposed a gas tax hike in the past, but Hornstein said some DFL legislators had hoped they could convince him to back it now. Hornstein said he isn’t backing off his plan to find more money for transportation projects.”