Warehousing tax feeling more heat

The odds of this tax hanging are zero to nil … . Tim Pugmire’s MPR story says, “[Murphy Logistics CEO Brian] Murphy and other providers of storage and warehousing services to other businesses are worried about a new warehousing sales tax scheduled to affect their businesses on April 1. Business owners hope state lawmakers repeal the tax, and two other new business-to-business sales taxes the Legislature passed into law … : taxes on business equipment repair and telecommunications equipment purchases, which took effect in July. They want them repealed, and are trying to convince state lawmakers to take quick action when the next legislative session begins in February. But Gov. Mark Dayton and DFL legislative leaders aren’t making any promises. If the warehousing sales tax remains, Murphy said many of the firms that use his warehouse have made it clear that they won’t pay it. With that in mind, he’s been looking at other options. ‘I actually went to a meeting at the invitation of [Wisconsin] Gov. Scott Walker and his entire staff’, Murphy said.”  

Well, apparently some treaties are still worth the paper they’re printed on … . The Strib’s Randy Furst says, “A federal court judge in Minneapolis on Monday threw out the indictments of four men arrested in a major fish poaching scheme on Indian reservations in northern Minnesota, saying the men were protected under an 1837 treaty. The four were among 10 men who were indicted on a charge of buying and selling hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of walleyes netted from lakes on the Leech Lake Indian reservation and selling them in violation of federal, state and tribal law. U.S. District Judge John Tunheim dismissed the indictments against Michael Brown, Jerry Reyes, Marc Lyons and Frederick Tibbetts, saying, ‘The 1837 Treaty protects defendants’ right to fish on the reservation and Congress has not specifically abrogated that right.’ ”

Suddenly, a further explanation is forthcoming … . The AP is reporting, “Minnesota stadium developers are providing a fuller accounting of their upcoming steel purchase after word of foreign imports caused concern on the state’s Iron Range. The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority said Monday that only a fifth of the 18,000 tons of steel needed to build the stadium will come from Europe. In a statement, the authority said the high-grade steel for certain roof components isn’t available from domestic mills.”

Used vehicle available. Some water damage. Must retrieve. Paul Walsh of the Strib says, “A Model T Ford is sitting upside down in the Mississippi River in Winona, and authorities are trying to figure out how it got there. About half of the car is buried in the river’s sandy bottom about 20 feet below the surface and a short distance downstream from the Hwy. 43 bridge that connects Minnesota and Wisconsin, said Winona County Chief Deputy Ron Ganrude. The car, which must be at least 86 years old, was first detected on Oct. 9, when the county was getting a demonstration of a side scan sonar device, Ganrude said.”

Points for jargon: “… sophisticated ‘Minneapolis modern’ aesthetic’ … .” Says Tim Nelson for MPR, “The owners of the star-crossed Block E development in Minneapolis have lured their NBA/WNBA neighbors across the street. Camelot LLC says they have a letter of intent to host a ‘world class training facility’ for the Minnesota Timberwolves and Minnesota Lynx teams at the mixed-use retail development on Hennepin Avenue. They’ve also hired RSP Architects to redo the building, considered by many to be an eyesore in downtown Minneapolis. ‘It’s sophisticated ‘Minneapolis modern’ aesthetic will be in keeping with other contemporary buildings downtown’, says a release from Camelot, LLC, the owner of the building.” So the deal for a Panera fell through, I guess?

“It’s an unusual case.” Indeed. The AP says, “An 18-year-old Minnesota man who doesn’t have a pilot’s license but apparently taught himself to fly pleaded guilty Monday to stealing a single-engine plane that he allegedly took on joyrides over the summer and fall. Geoffrey Biteman pleaded guilty Monday in Roseau County District Court to a felony charge of motor vehicle theft and a misdemeanor charge of unauthorized use of an aircraft. … According to the criminal complaint, police began investigating Oct. 9 after a suspicious pilot reported seeing two young men fly into the Roseau airport and use a courtesy car available for pilots there. The pilot told Police Chief Ward Anderson he had seen Biteman flying the plane regularly. The chief found mail addressed to Biteman inside the plane. Anderson saw the plane was gone when he went back Oct. 17. He called the Thief River Falls airport, where the manager said Biteman had been flying in all summer. He said he was suspicious because Biteman was fueling the plane with cans of regular gasoline instead of aviation fuel from the hangar, the complaint said.” Of course he did. That other stuff is expensive.

The GleanLocal writer Chuck Logan has a movie adaptation of his book, “Homefront,” opening Wednesday. MPR’s Euan Kerr writes, “ … when Sylvester Stallone’s recent adaptation of ‘Homefront’ opens in theaters nationwide on Wednesday, Minnesota writer Chuck Logan will be among those pleased to see what unfolds on the big screen. Logan, who lives in Stillwater, rarely minces words. So he doesn’t hesitate to describe how his career was going before Stallone optioned the rights to his popular book — and how the film could direct new audiences to his work. ‘I was dead in the water,’ Logan said. ‘And now I have some options.’ In writing the script, Stallone takes quite a few liberties with the 2005 novel. ‘Homefront’ is the story of former undercover police officer Phil Broker, who after breaking up a biker drug operation tries to lay low in a small town with his daughter. But trouble follows him.     Played by chisel-jawed action star Jason Statham, Broker is soon butting heads with local crook Gator Bodine, played by James Franco. Bodine tries to intimidate Broker by breaking into his house. He eviscerates Broker’s daughter’s stuffed rabbit, and kidnaps her cat. Broker tracks him down to the local cafe.” Winona Ryder’s in it, too.

Does it only seem like the Vikings lose as many players every year to the police as they do to injuries? The AP reports, “The Minnesota Vikings have released cornerback A.J. Jefferson after he was arrested and jailed on a domestic assault complaint. The move was made on Monday. According to Hennepin County records, the 25-year-old Jefferson was being held without bail. Formal charges were not expected on Monday.”

Community banks around the state are in margionally better health … . Martin Moylan of MPR reports, “The financial performance of Minnesota’s 349 community banks improved slightly in the third quarter of this year. The banks reduced problem loans and saw improved loan growth, but profits remain historically low, the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis reported Monday. ‘Profitability has yet to return to its historical norms,’ said Ron Feldman, the top bank regulator at the Minneapolis Fed. ‘For the Twin Cities in particular but for the state as a whole, it’s kind of flat-lining where it is now,’ he said. ‘It is not on an upward trajectory, where it looks like it’s going to cross the historically norm level, even get to it right away’ ”                                            

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Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by Jackson Cage on 11/25/2013 - 03:08 pm.

    But I’m willing to bet…

    …put Mr. Biteman behind the controls of a 787 Dreamliner and, unlike some others, he can land it at the correct airport.

  2. Submitted by Steve Titterud on 11/25/2013 - 03:29 pm.

    Threat to move all warehouses to Wisconsin ?

    The Murphy Logistics’ website lists 12 locations in Minnesota, all in the Twin Cities area: SE Minneapolis, NE Minneapolis, Fridley, Eagan, New Hope, St. Paul, Savage. (http://www.murphywarehouse.com/locations/)

    I can certainly understand a vendor of services objecting to a tax they didn’t have to deal with before.

    But you “…went to a meeting at the invitation of [Wisconsin] Gov. Scott Walker” ? So I guess you’re threatening to move to Wisconsin ? Have I got that right ?

    I guess Scott Walker is going to provide FREE SHIPPING from Wisconsin for the Minnesota companies who lease space from you, once you’re over there ? I mean, why are your current customers renting space in Minnesota at all now, rather than in Wisconsin ? Could it be because it is meaningful to their scheme of distribution, the location of manufacture or assembly, or other significant business facts of life ?

    Or perhaps Murphy Logistics is going to throw its local customers overboard to its MN competitors in favor of seeking a new lineup of customers in Wisconsin ?

    Let’s remember: this tax is actually a SHIFT of existing taxation from one set of parties to another, in order to provide relief to certain tax-paying entities:

    “…the approximately $200 million cost of exempting local government purchases from a sales tax and businesses from a sales tax on capital equipment…” http://tcbmag.com/News/Recent-News/2013/October/Study-MNs-Warehouse-Tax-Unique-Among-States

    Should we recant this relief ? On SHIFTING IT BACK, we could certainly expect similar howling from the parties who thought they were going to get some relief. And so on, and so on, there being no end to the list of parties who will object to taxation.

    Or shall we repeal all taxes in Minnesota, so that no one’s ox is gored, so that everyone can be happy because no one is paying any tax ?

  3. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 11/25/2013 - 04:06 pm.

    What a nice surprise!

    Imagine that! A court holding that a treaty actually has some legal standing, and then going beyond that to say that the people at the other end of the treaty are entitled to actually use its provisions for their own benefit. Bravo, Judge Tunheim!

  4. Submitted by jody rooney on 11/26/2013 - 10:01 am.

    It really is a surprise Mr. Schooch

    and you might wonder if the Judge has any understanding of geography.

    The people charged were from White Earth, Red Lake, and Leech Lake.

    Members of the Leech Lake and Red Lake Bands signed the treaty of 1837 and then signed subsequent treaties that relinquished claims on more land, White Earth didn’t exist until 1867.

    The treaty refers to the ceded territory which is specifically spelled out in the treaty http://digital.library.okstate.edu/kappler/vol2/treaties/chi0491.htm#mn1

    The map for that territory is shown on this web site

    Since the 1837 treaty only refers to the lands ceded in 1837 and these folks were clearly fishing on Leech Lake and Red Lake which are not part of the ceded territory I would say the judge needs a map.

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