Medtronic second only to Wal-Mart in use of overseas tax havens

It is the American way … Says Jennifer Bjorhus of the Strib: “Medtronic Inc., famous for heart devices, also has a less-well-known distinction: It’s one of the 30 U.S. corporations with the most money parked offshore. The Fridley-based medical device maker holds $20.5 billion overseas, just one notch below Wal-Mart Stores Inc. with $21.4 billion, according to a report released Thursday.”

The Strib says we are a shining green example to the rest of the country. In the context of the president’s executive order on carbon emissions, the paper says: “Minnesota is demonstrating that the reliability of electricity service does not suffer when coal-based generation is replaced with lower-emission natural gas and renewable sources like wind, solar and biomass. That’s the story in other cutting-edge states as well, according to a study by the Boston-based Analysis Group, a private consulting firm.”

Al Franken’s bill to crack down on GPS-driven “stalker apps” has one large flaw, according to DJ Pangburn at the tech site Motherboard: “[A] concern with Franken’s bill is that it only deals with ‘covered entities’ — that is, non-governmental companies, organizations, and individuals. Again, more plainly, tech companies, app makers, and stalkers. With today being the one-year anniversary of Edward Snowden’s NSA leaks, it’s a shame that the bill fails to contain language expressly limiting government access to GPS data.  As PopVox noted in its description of the legislation, most bills don’t get beyond a committee hearing. Perhaps this is a blessing in disguise for the Location Privacy Protection Act. As it makes its way through the legislative process, hopefully the bill receives commentary from advocates who don’t think privacy protections stop with the government.”

There’ll be room for a lot more trees on the re-designed Nicollet Mall. Stribber Janet Moore reports: “The parent company of Saks Off 5th confirmed Thursday that it will close its department store on Nicollet Mall next January. … the store’s fate was sealed when Canadian retailer Hudson’s Bay Co. bought Saks Inc. in 2013 … The impending retail shake-up downtown comes as the city prepares for a $50 million overhaul of its commercial spine, and as a slew of new residents are anticipated to move into new luxury housing two blocks from the store.”

Moore also says: “A New York firm has purchased a site off Marquette Av. S. in downtown Minneapolis that is slated for a 30-story apartment tower, according to Hennepin County property records. … Located at the corner of Marquette and 4th St., Mortenson plans to build a 262-unit residential tower. The remaining portion of the block will also be home to the $100 million 253-unit Nic on Fifth apartment tower.”

Also in development news … The Duluth waterfront is getting more like French Riviera every year. Peter Passi of the News Tribune says: “A swanky new development, including a hotel, restaurant, banquet facilities and a marina, soon could be coming to Duluth’s waterfront. … The project calls for a 140-room resort hotel, a 220-seat banquet hall, a 150-seat restaurant, a marina for guests visiting by boat, a pool, a rooftop patio and a bridge providing a connection between the hotel property and neighboring Bayfront Park. Sandy Hoff, one of the principal partners in Pier B, said restaurant will be something along the lines of Lord Fletcher’s on Lake Minnetonka or the eateries that front San Antonio’s River Walk.” … Other than the sleet, of course.

The GleanDan Severson has a clearer road ahead … The AP says: “Minnesota Republicans won’t have a primary for the open secretary of state’s office. Former state Sen. John Howe of Red Wing pulled out of the race Thursday, clearing the way to the fall ballot for the GOP’s endorsed candidate, Dan Severson. Howe lost at last weekend’s state party convention but left open the possibility of pressing on to an August primary election.”

Xcel is feeling pressure from environmentalists to institute tier-pricing. At MPR, Elizabeth Dunbar says: “Currently, Xcel charges its residential customers a flat rate per kilowatt hour — whether they are the type of person who conserves, or one who leaves the lights on all the time. But that doesn’t encourage people to save energy, members of the environmental groups say. They want Xcel to charge a lower rate for the first 350 kilowatt hours, and then charge higher rates if customers reach certain thresholds in their monthly electricity use.” I smell a war on my Clark Griswold Christmas lighting display …

How about getting dad a pit bull for Father’s Day? Paul Walsh and Matt McKinney at the Strib say: “For the first time in about 15 years, pit bulls and Rottweilers are available for adoption at the Minneapolis Animal Care and Control shelter, just like labs, terriers and mutts. Staff and city officials pegged the change as a natural shift that mirrored what’s happening at shelters elsewhere.”

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Comments (10)

  1. Submitted by Robert Moffitt on 06/06/2014 - 07:57 am.

    From the Strib editorial on energy

    “The transportation sector in this state is a likely culprit…”

    Indeed, emissions from vehicles represent the single largest source of air pollution in Minnesota, and contribute to greenhouse gas emissions as well. We are taking some steps to reduce transportation-related pollution. For example, beginning July 1st, 2014, all diesel sold in Minnesota will be a 10% biodiesel blend (B10).

    That will help reduce petroleum consumption and air pollution, without significant loss of MPG, power or higher diesel costs. Minnesota is the first state to do this. We won’t be the last.

  2. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 06/06/2014 - 08:03 am.

    High tax rates are counterproductive

    The U.S. has the highest corporate tax rate in the industrialized world (39.1%).

    One of the reasons there are no jobs and the American economy is in the tank is because there’s no incentive for multinational corporations to have much of a footprint here. To stay in business in a competitive marketplace, American companies have an obligation to their shareholders, employees and customers to keep costs and prices down and so seeking lower taxes would be part of that. Failure to do that would be neglecting their fiduciary responsibility.

    It’s no different than Mark Dayton keeping his trust fund accounts in South Dakota rather than paying the higher tax rates in Minnesota. He apparently feels an obligation to his family to do that.

    And it once again underscores why job creation and the economy in general will always be in the tank when committed collectivists run the government.

    • Submitted by Tim Walker on 06/06/2014 - 10:20 am.

      Reality intrudes, once again

      From a CNNMoney report, that gave context to the May job numbers released today (spoiler alert, they went up … again):

      “It took two years to wipe out 8.7 million American jobs but more than four years to gain them all back.
      That’s according to the Department of Labor’s latest jobs report, which shows the U.S. economy added 217,000 jobs in May. With that job growth, there are now more jobs in the country than ever before.”

      Any comment to the tune of “job creation and the economy in general will always be in the tank when committed collectivists run the government” shows a complete lack of reality-based reasoning.

      Job numbers have increased every month, save one, for the entirety of President Obama’s tenure.

      Not bad, for a “committed collectivist,” eh?

  3. Submitted by Steve Titterud on 06/06/2014 - 08:14 am.

    Expatriation of those billions by Medtronic…

    …doesn’t cause one to leap to your feet demanding that here’s a company that needs tax relief !!

    It’s the campaign donations those billions can support that brings a representative to that effort. When Medtronic wants to buy an elected official or two, I wonder if they dip into that offshore money, or do they use more local funds ?? Another thing: from what terror is that offshore money protected ??

  4. Submitted by jody rooney on 06/06/2014 - 08:17 am.

    Residential Expansion in Downtown Mpls replacing retail

    Isn’t that going to make it more like a suburb?

  5. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 06/06/2014 - 09:28 am.

    Oh, for the Good Old Days!

    When Minnesota’s and America’s corporations regarded corporate taxes as the fair and appropriate price to be paid for the infrastructures that supported and kept productive their businesses and the lives of their workers.

    Today’s spoiled little brats demonstrate all the dysfunctions of second generation rich kids, who didn’t actually do anything to build the businesses they now manage (generally quite badly, long term),…

    who can’t imagine what it would mean to invent something or develop a new product or idea,…

    and whose ONLY concern is how best to pad their own pockets,…

    by stealing rightful compensation from their workers,…

    by compensating themselves with funds that SHOULD go to their shareholders and workers,…

    by destroying the environment,…

    and bankrupting the governments of their state and nation (or other states and nations),…

    demonstrating a complete lack of understanding that they are slowly starving to death the cooperative, shared-risk, shared-benefit, justly reward the workers, society that made up the flock of geese that laid this nation’s golden eggs.

    Most of their parents and grandparents were so much wiser, but today’s generations of business and economic leaders once again demonstrate that there’s nothing more corrosive to the character of a person than growing up wealthy and having wealth and sources income for which you’ve never had to work handed to you when you reach adulthood (or when mommy and daddy leave this life behind).

    The wisest wealthy people I know have always made it clear to their children that, when mom and dad go, they’re not leaving their kids a penny, a single share of stock, nor any portion of ownership of their business concerns,…

    thereby ensuring that their kids built their OWN lives and businesses (rather than sitting on their backsides spending money they didn’t earn while waiting to get ever MORE money while counting the days until mommy and daddy died).

    In the same way, Wall Street plays dysfunctional grandma and grandpa to the entire US economy, rewarding the hangers on rather than fostering innovation.

  6. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 06/06/2014 - 11:00 am.

    Thank you, Tim Walker

    Reality does, indeed, intrude occasionally into that worldview that sees everything through lenses distorted by the pink-tinged threat of “socialism.” “Fudiciary responsibilities” also include paying taxes – in every industrial society – and while gaming the system to avoid that responsibility benefits the estates of wealthy shareholders, it deprives the country providing the infrastructure and services that makes its business possible in the first place the revenue to do so.

    Not every corporation lists “avoiding responsibility” among its “core principles,” to use current management-speak. Through this and its ongoing efforts to lobby the state’s Congressional delegation to repeal a small tax on the very expensive medical devices it produces, MedTronic reveals in fairly stark terms that it is no more ethical, and no more interested in the health of the society, than any other corporate enterprise characterized by greed.

    • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 06/06/2014 - 11:28 am.

      What good would it do you

      or society in general if Medtronic had to go out of business because it couldn’t pay its taxes? You have to be really committed to “the cause” to value tax collection over the availability of life-saving medical devices.

      • Submitted by Marc Post on 06/06/2014 - 02:50 pm.

        That’s silly

        It’s not a case of one or the other. That’s weak thinking. If a corporation doesn’t pay taxes then it is a welfare case. If they are people, as I keep hearing, they should pay taxes like everyone else. The road to their front door was paid for with tax money. The infrastructure to run their facilities is there because of tax money.

        If everyone pays their fair share in taxes, then no one has an advantage and the market works. And yes, the CAN make medical life saving devices AND pay their taxes. It is utter nonsense to suggest they can’t.

        If these corporations are people now, maybe they should be paying income taxes like every other person. Why are these multi-nationals entitled to welfare?

      • Submitted by Steve Titterud on 06/06/2014 - 03:23 pm.

        The accumulation of $20 billion in overseas accounts…

        …would seem to demonstrate that taxes are no threat to the viability of Medtronic.

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