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Despite tax increase more ‘top earners’ filed in Minnesota

Plus: 2014 campaign spending figures are in; how warming trends are affecting moose; 65 DWI arrests in Minnesota after Super Bowl; and more.

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What? So they didn’t all move to South Dakota? MPR’s Tom Scheck reports, “The number of top Minnesota earners who filed 2013 tax returns was higher than initially projected, a sign that Gov. Mark Dayton’s push to raise taxes on the state’s wealthiest earners has not caused many to flee. … During the debate over the plan, some Republicans, warned it would chase Minnesota’s top earners from the state. ‘It’s been said that money talks, but money walks also,’ state Rep. Mark Uglem, R-Champlin said at the time. ‘The job creators, the big corporations, the small corporations, they will leave. It’s all dollars and sense to them.’ But according to the Minnesota Department of Revenue, that has not come to pass. Revenue Commissioner Cynthia Bauerly says 6,230 more Minnesotans filed in the top income tax bracket than expected in 2013.” That’s just crazy. The next thing you’ll be telling me is that tax cuts for job creators doesn’t create jobs.

Also in money, the AP says, “Final figures from the 2014 campaign were published Tuesday. They show Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton spent about $3 million last year toward his re-election. Republican nominee Jeff Johnson clocked in at $2.4 million. Three other Republican hopefuls combined to spend about $2 million. Still, those figures pale with candidate spending in 2010’s governor race, when the Democratic and Republican nominees spent $7.5 million and a third-party candidate added another $1.3 million.”

I wonder how many they nailed in Seattle? Tim Harlow at the Strib says, “The Super Bowl is one of the most celebrated events of the year, and according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety it’s also one top days for drunken driving arrests. On Sunday, as the New England Patriots beat the Seattle Seahawks in dramatic fashion, law enforcement across Minnesota arrested 65 drivers for DWI from Sunday into Monday morning. That number was a dramatic drop from the previous five years when an average of 190 drivers were stopped on the day of NFL’s most-watched game.”

Today in moose. MPR’s climate change series says, “Species like moose that love cold climates are disappearing. Northeastern Minnesota has lost half its moose population in less than 10 years. Researchers don’t know exactly why, but they believe climate change is likely part of the reason. The Minnesota DNR is half-way through a landmark study trying to tease out what exactly is causing the collapse.”

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With vaccination back in the news, albeit mostly in anther science-avoidance political context, Tom Lyden at KMSP-TV files a piece with a local anti-vaxxer. “But Minnesota is one of 22 states that allows ‘conscientious objector’ parents to skip vaccinations for non-medical reasons. Christine Abel of Vaccine Awareness Minnesota says, ‘Yes, on occasion someone gets measles and dies. But you can’t base your life on a few people.’ ‘You have to ask what’s wrong with them,’ she continues. ‘Why did they die when most people don’t die.’ “

Interesting piece from Frank Jossi at Midwest Energy News. “A recent national report places Minnesota among leading states in moving utilities toward a future with more distributed energy resources and greater consumer choices. … [Ben] Paulos spoke with Midwest Energy News about his report.

Midwest Energy News: Where does Minnesota fit in with the other states?

Paulos: Minnesota regulates utilities pretty heavily and sees energy as a state-regulated monopoly. Massachusetts and New York are competitive deregulated markets. Hawaii is fully regulated and California is a mix of both regulatory environments.

How do you see Minnesota in the mix of these states?

We included Minnesota because it is where the utilities and regulators are more proactive and more progressive than other states about the role of utilities in a landscape where customers are creating energy. It’s not like Wisconsin, where We Energies is not into change along these lines and the regulations it sought and won were a preemptive action. There’s not even a lot of solar in Wisconsin.”

What? Al Edenloff of the Forum News Service has a story on what looks like a new bullying incident. “An alleged bullying incident at Osakis High School in mid-January remains under investigation by the school district and the county attorney’s office. The incident happened in an industrial technology class at the central Minnesota school near Alexandria. A photo, allegedly taken by a student and posted on Snapchat, shows another student sitting on the floor, hands bound behind his back with a hoodie tied tightly over his head.”

And good riddance. In his story on the Brian Fitch guilty verdict, Marino Eccher of the PiPress says, “The defense asked the judge to let the jury weigh lesser alternatives to the attempted murder charges: three counts of assault and one of discharging a firearm. He was convicted of those as well, though the sentence for the murder effectively renders all other penalties moot. When the verdicts were read, Fitch shook his head and rubbed his temple. One by one, the stone-faced jurors confirmed their votes. He launched into his outburst as the judge wrapped up the proceedings, calling her obscenities and railing against her rulings during the trial. She did not stop addressing the jury, keeping her voice level and calmly ordering him removed from the courtroom. ‘Take me out. I don’t care,’ he said … .”

Only in … Wisconsin … or Florida. The AP says, “A Beaver Dam police officer says he’s quite certain he’s never responded to a call like the one he handled recently at a McDonald’s restaurant. Officer Rich Dahl responded to an anonymous complaint about a woman who brought a kangaroo into McDonald’s. … Dahl says when he confronted the woman she explained the kangaroo was a service animal to help her cope with emotional distress and she produced a letter from a doctor.”  I’m getting me a hippo.