The governor’s “secret plan” to replace revenues that were promised through e-pulltabs may be revealed today. At MPR, Tim Nelson reports: “The plan to boost Vikings stadium-bound revenue likely won’t include a sports memorabilia tax. That proposal appears dead. Supporter of the memorabilia proposal House Taxes chair Ann Lenczewski announced at a conference committee meeting that she’d opted to back the governor’s so-called ‘secret’ plan to make up for the shortfall in gambling tax revenues. … [She said], “The (revenue) commissioner will be telling people about that later… The House is going to give up the sports memorabilia approach and support the governor’s approach.” Let’s start a pool … Electronic bake sales? Online keno? Sports cliche bingo?
On the Wall Street Journal opinion page, Matthew Payne writes: “Even though gay marriage isn’t a top priority for most voters at the moment, the legislation is the latest in a string of victories for the gay-rights movement. Minnesota is the third state in less than a month to pass a law recognizing gay couples’ right to marry. … Opponents to the Minnesota law expressed concern over the lack of protection for religious and other organizations that don’t recognize gay marriage as legitimate. In particular, groups that receive state funds will be required to recognize same-sex partnerships. … It’s good news that gay couples will be able to marry whom they wish. And it seems inevitable that one day gay marriage will become an accepted practice across the county. But forcing institutions — especially those that wish to adhere to their own beliefs — to ratify state policy will only divide the country further, and in the process delay what same-sex couples hope to accomplish.” Yeah, we wouldn’t want to make everybody live by the same laws … That a la carte thing works so well.
In the San Francisco Chronicle, Carolyn Lochhead writes: “UCLA’s pro-gay Williams Institute think tank reports today that with the addition of Minnesota to the ranks of states that have legalized same-sex marriage, more than a fifth, or 22 percent, of gays and lesbians now live in states where they can marry. That’s up from five percent just three years ago. … The National Organization for Marriage, which proposed the Minnesota ban, announced Tuesday it would sue the Internal Revenue Service, now in very hot water for targeting Tea Party groups for added scrutiny. NOM alleges that the agency leaked its tax documents to the Human Rights Campaign.”
Wait. $4.19? What gives? Annie Baxter at MPR reports: “Gas prices in Minnesota are rising due in part to an extended cut in production capacity at two Chicago-area refineries. The cutbacks are causing gas prices to spike in the upper Midwest and Great Lakes region, said Gail Weinholzer, director of public affairs AAA Minnesota-Iowa. She notes that on Wednesday the average price of $3.85 per gallon in Minnesota is well above the national average of $3.59 per gallon. Many fuel stations in Minnesota are reporting prices over $4, Weinholzer said, and some stations are charging $4.20 a gallon or more for regular unleaded. … She said the rising price is unlikely to abate until late June or early July.” Does Tesla have 0% financing?
I’m almost certain she will tell us she voted to repeal Obamacare … again. Scott Bland at The National Journal reports: “Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., has purchased TV advertising time for the next two weeks with a Minneapolis station, according to filings with the Federal Communications Commission. Beginning Thursday, Bachmann’s campaign will air 31 30-second spots on KMSP, a local Fox affiliate, for $14,565 over the course of 12 days, according to the filing. A Democratic source tracking the buy said Bachmann’s total TV reservation across all channels was $85,000. The Fox contract lists Bachmann’s buyer as Crossroads Media, an Alexandria-based firm that counts Bachmann among their clients. Crossroads would not confirm the buy, say if time had been purchased on other stations as well, or describe the contents of the advertising; the firm cited a company policy against talking to the media.” Much like their client …
Great news! You can give even more to your favorite politician! The AP says: “The Minnesota House has passed a bill that raises the maximum donations that candidates for office can accept from donors. The bill passed 111-22 on Wednesday, May 15, with support from both DFLers and Republicans. The increased limits were suggested by the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board to help offset a surge of campaign spending from independent political groups not subject to donation limits. … Gov. Mark Dayton has been a vocal backer of raising donation limits.” Or you could just have Sheldon Adelson cut them a check …
Yet another crippling blow to job creators … The AP says: “Minnesota lawmakers are primed to adopt legislation giving idled workers longer-lasting jobless benefits when locked out by their companies in labor fights. A bill set for final action in the House and Senate this week would entitle locked-out workers to as much as a half-year in additional unemployment benefits, on top of the 26 weeks they can claim now. Democratic Rep. Tim Mahoney says the provision is meant to make companies think harder about side effects of locking out employees during contract disputes.”
A handful of state businesspeople sign on to a Strib commentary lamenting … tax increases: “Minnesotans, get ready to open your pocketbooks. And we mean all Minnesotans. Gov. Mark Dayton and legislative leaders convened this year with a pledge to “tax the rich” and, in their words, place Minnesota on a path to prosperity. As the 2013 session winds down, it’s become clear that nearly all Minnesotans fit their definition of “rich.” The proposed increases in spending (read: taxes) will hit small businesses like ours especially hard. The ripple effect of these additional taxes and fees on our businesses will inevitably extend to our employees and our customers. In other words, all Minnesotans will be paying for our elected officials’ voracious appetite for spending. The entire state will be the poorer. … Don’t forget that the majority of these higher taxes and fees fund permanent spending. The taxing frenzy likely won’t end this year. There will be pressure to raise taxes in the future to sustain new programs and services.” The ALEC could have written that one.
Just another innocent oversight … . John Welbes of the PiPress writes: “A review of Prudential life insurance policies by Minnesota’s Department of Commerce identified policies where no claims were made following deaths, and benefits weren’t paid out. That led to a $14 million settlement with the insurance provider announced Wednesday, May 15. … The settlement includes $13 million that Prudential identified that may be owed to claimants in the 1986-2010 time span. It also includes a $1 million payment to the state. … The settlement also requires Prudential to make sure that in the future, company records include accurate Social Security numbers and birth dates ‘to ultimately connect beneficiaries with their money’.”