Rep. Erik Paulsen pushing medical device tax repeal (again)

Rep. Erik Paulsen
MinnPost photo by Devin HenryRep. Erik Paulsen

How do we know Congress is back in session? Because Rep. Erik Paulsen is trying to repeal the medical device tax. Brett Neely of MPR reports, “If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again. That’s clearly Erik Paulsen’s approach to undoing the medical device tax that’s part of the Affordable Care Act. Paulsen, a Republican who was sworn in for his fourth term on Tuesday, has made repealing the tax that affects Minnesota companies such as Medtronic one of his top priorities this term. … The latest bill has the support of 257 members of the U.S. House, including all eight members from Minnesota, indicating more than enough votes for passage.”

Please help. The AP’s Brian Bakst says: “Gov. Mark Dayton pleaded Wednesday with Minnesota business leaders to help him build support for a transportation funding plan with real money, not ‘phony solutions.’ Dayton pitched a skittish state Chamber of Commerce on transportation tax hikes that he said will generate the billions needed to deal with congestion, deteriorating infrastructure and planned expansions. The chamber has recommended non-tax alternatives — drawing money from the general treasury or squeezing the existing transportation budget — for covering the funding gap.”

Here’s WCCO-TV’s Pat Kessler on that ‘No Session 2016” idea. “Cancelling the 2016 session won’t be easy. The state’s annual budget is about $20 billion, roughly equal to the annual revenues of Minnesota companies like U.S. Bancorp ($19.6 billion) and General Mills ($18 billion). And skeptics say complex modern problems require real-time fixes.”

You can bet these guys won’t take a year off. Abby Simons of the Strib says, “A trio of Minnesota political veterans are teaming up to form a new St. Paul consulting firm specializing in government and public relations. Former Minnesota House Speaker Kurt Zellers, a six-term state representative and gubernatorial candidate; Brian McClung, a former Tim Pawlenty spokesman and Chief of Staff; and Chas Anderson, former Deputy Education Commissioner and House Republican Caucus Chief of Staff, are now partners in MZA+Co, a strategic consulting firm that will serve non-profit, political and trade association clients in state government and public relations both in and out of Minnesota.”

No indictment in a local cop shooting — albeit one that’s a bit different than others in the news lately. At MPR, the story goes, “A Ramsey County grand jury decided Wednesday not to indict officers involved in the death of Yee Vang, killed this summer in a shootout with police. St. Paul Police fired at Vang on Aug. 3 after he shot at officers. Police said he carjacked a vehicle and stole a bike as he was being chased by officers in St. Paul’s North End. According to police, Vang used a gun to force two men in an SUV to drive while he sat in the backseat. When police pulled the SUV over, Vang jumped out and began firing.”

Also at MPR, Tracy Mumford cross-checks some best books of the year lists. “When we look at these lists all together, what do they tell us about the state of literature? We pulled 11 year-end book lists from popular publications and crunched the numbers. What we found: Authors over 50 reign supreme; men still outnumber women; and critics’ unique tastes aren’t as unique as they think. … great minds think alike: Only 111 unique titles made the cut. Many titles appeared on two, three — even six — ‘Best of’ lists. Here are the titles the critics loved most:

• ‘The Paying Guests’ by Sarah Waters – 6 mentions

• ‘A Brief History of Seven Killings’ by Marlon James – 4 mentions

• ‘All the Light We Cannot See’ by Anthony Doerr – 4 mentions

• ‘The Bone Clocks’ by David Mitchell – 4 mentions

• ‘Being Mortal’ by Atul Gawande – 3 mentions

• ‘Euphoria’ by Lily King – 3 mentions

• ‘Lila’ by Marilynne Robinson – 3 mentions

• ‘The Martian’ by Andy Weir – 3 mentions.

Just finished “The Martian.” If they screw up the movie version, someone ought to brought up on charges.

Damn kids. Pat Pheifer of the Strib reports on a high school homecoming prank that got a little out of hand. “Sixteen teenagers are facing court action in connection with a nighttime homecoming prank at Farmington High School that went awry last fall. The prank involved high school seniors ‘kidnapping’ four juniors as part of a ‘war’ on the younger class the night of Sept. 27. Two of the juniors had their hands tied behind their backs and were forced into a car trunk. Two others were put in the back seat. The car was taken on a joy ride, with students in other vehicles tagging along. The car with the abducted juniors was involved in a fender bender in front of the high school after midnight Sept. 28.” They’ll retell that story at the 30-year reunion.

Not exactly smooth spinning for a southwest Minnesota wind farm. Dave Shaffer of the Strib says, “[Wind] has turned into a financial loser for about 360 farmers and other landowners who invested in two small wind farms more than a decade ago near Luverne, Minn., in the windy southwest corner of the state. The companies that collectively own the two Minwind Energy projects filed for reorganization this week in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Minnesota. The owners stand to lose their investment, and the wind farms eventually may have to shut down, according to regulatory filings. … the case is raising questions about whether the small-scale wind farm model still works in an era of ever-larger wind-generating projects.”

You know, those things were kinda chewy. Says Mike Hughlett in the Strib, “After plastic popped up in McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets sold in Japan, Cargill Inc. is extending all apologies. That’s because the suspect nuggets were supplied by Cargill’s chicken processing operations in Thailand. McDonald’s is one of Minnetonka-based Cargill’s biggest customers, and the agribusiness giant is one of the fast-food behemoth’s largest suppliers. A customer at a McDonald’s in northern Japan found a piece of plastic about 1 ½ inches long in an order of McNuggets. Bloomberg News reported a second plastic-in-McNuggets incident at a McDonald’s in Tokyo.” Has anyone done a direct comparison of the nutritional value of a “straight” McNugget and a chunk of plastic?

Comments (9)

  1. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 01/08/2015 - 06:28 am.

    Tilting at windmills

    Mr. Paulsen should relax. Medtronic will soon be an Irish company, not an American one, so there’s no reason to rescind the tax. In fact, an increase might be in order. Oh, wait. That would be serving the public instead of the corporation. Now I understand his (and every other Minnesota Congressional Representative’s) opposition to the tax.

    Governor Dayton might want to examine the priorities he’s been given: http://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2015/1/5/no-new-roads. We’re busily pursuing a growth and development model straight out of 1955. It’s neither affordable nor sustainable.

    • Submitted by E Gamauf on 01/08/2015 - 10:17 am.

      Milk it awhile longer!

      If the whole tax thing is about Medtronic only – absolutely true.
      Not only are they moving postboxes offshore, we’re paying them in tax breaks to do it.

      If Paulsen wants to keep pushing this meme, he had better be able to explain in detail who he’s saving.

    • Submitted by Steve Rose on 01/08/2015 - 11:14 am.

      Hundreds of other med device manufacturers in MN

      As noted in the column, “The latest bill has the support of 257 members of the U.S. House, including all eight members from Minnesota.” Call all the legislators that represent you, and tell them to relax too, and to leave American innovation and American manufacturing under the bus.

      Medtronic didn’t move to Ireland just for the weather Other Minnesota medical device manufacturers are watching and waiting to see what happens.

    • Submitted by Steve Titterud on 01/08/2015 - 11:57 am.

      Maybe if more of our corporations would follow Medtronic’s…

      example in “…renouncing their corporate citizenship and turning their back on American taxpayers”, they’d have the undying support of Eric Paulsen and he’d go to the mat for them, too !!
      http://www.durbin.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/pressreleases?ID=496e104d-dd16-489f-9797-c4938d095b36

      The laws enabling all of the decisions and actions taken by American corporations “for tax purposes” are the root of the problem – this is how your campaign contributors and supporters are PAID OFF by our national legislators – quid pro quo.

      If we ever get around to the point where all those decisions and actions are instead made “for legitimate business purposes”, we’ll know there has been significant change in the tax code.

    • Submitted by Bob Shepard on 01/08/2015 - 01:52 pm.

      has he even done anything else?

      Seems like a broken record…

      • Submitted by Logan Foreman on 01/08/2015 - 04:40 pm.

        Paulsen better slow down

        The process or he will lose most of his campaign contributions. Kline won’t make that mistake.

  2. Submitted by Bill Gleason on 01/08/2015 - 08:16 am.

    Apparently Mr. McClung

    has not gone “all in” in his new consulting venture with Zellers and Chas Anderson.

    “The three are equal partners in the firm, while McClung will continue to serve as president of McClung Communications & Public Relations, a firm he founded in 2010.”

    (from the cited article)

    Seems a little strange to be competing against yourself for business.

  3. Submitted by Mark Gisleson on 01/08/2015 - 10:08 am.

    Authors over 50?

    I guess I’d love to see a list of all the 20-something authors who blow you away. Unlike music or mathematics, there are almost no authorial prodigies. Most novelists don’t finish their first book until at least middle age.

    John Scalzi explains: whatever.scalzi.com/2009/06/24/why-new-novelists-are-kinda-old/

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