Dayton after talk with Target CEO on layoffs: ‘This is going to be painful’

MinnPost file photo by Rita Kovtun

Define “commitment.” The AP story on the meeting between the Governor and the CEO of Target to talk about the company’s proposed layoffs says, “Gov. Mark Dayton said Monday he received assurances from Target Corp.’s chief executive that the company will keep a robust corporate presence and its headquarters in Minnesota. Dayton and Lt. Gov. Tina Smith met privately for 45 minutes with Target CEO Brian Cornell and two other executives at the retail giant’s downtown Minneapolis headquarters. … Dayton said he’s leaving it to the company to reveal how many people will lose their jobs and how fast. ‘It’s going to be difficult, it’s going to be painful,’ Dayton said. ‘There is no sugarcoating this for anybody.’” I think we knew that before the meeting.

Stuff you can’t make up. Jennifer Bjorhus of the Strib: “A rookie state lawmaker who is a licensed insurance professional was hit with a $10,000 fine after fudging the hours of a continuing education course on ethics that he taught last year. Rep. Robert J. Loonan, R-Shakopee, was also suspended from teaching for three months, according to a Dec. 8 consent order posted on the Minnesota Department of Commerce website. … According to Loonan, the issue was an ethics class he taught in Mankato in February 2014. About 21 people in the class were from the Twin Cities, he said. A blizzard was approaching and roads were bad, so he started the afternoon class early and sped through it with no breaks to get people on their way, he said.”

Rural nursing homes are moving to creative funding. Kyle Potter of the AP says, “Lawmakers and industry groups are moving to replace a decades-old funding mechanism for nursing facilities they say falls far short of the actual cost of caring for seniors. It’s an emotional issue that combines caring for the elderly with a sharper interest on rural Minnesota, where facilities are losing millions of dollars, and politicians are taking notice. All eyes are on Gov. Mark Dayton’s revised budget proposal this week as nursing home administrators hope the  Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party governor taps a larger-than-expected budget surplus to cover part of the estimated $200 million cost over the next two years.”

Killed by … hay. Brett Boese of the Rochester Post-Bulletin writes, “Hay bales tumbled from a moving semi on Saturday in southeastern Minnesota and slammed into a passing pickup truck, killing the pickup’s passenger and leaving the driver in critical condition. … Dale O. Erickson, 59, of Houston, was driving his pickup northbound when the hay came loose. Erickson was unable to avoid the errant bales, which forced his vehicle into the east ditch, according to the Minnesota State Patrol report. The pickup was soon in flames.”

Doing what the people sent them to St. Paul to do. Kia Farhang of the AP reports, “More than 20 Republican legislators want to stop transgender students born as male from playing on girls sports teams, undoing a state high school league vote that drew fervent support and opposition last year.” Because you know, schools are being overwhelmed by transgender athletes.

In the Strib, Abby Simons writes, “The bill’s sponsors say it’s an issue not only of athlete safety and privacy, but of competitive fairness in girls’ sports. ‘When I was in high school, women’s athletics were just getting started and we have since made tremendous strides. This is something that could potentially be harmful to that, and there is, of course, the privacy issue,’ said co-author Sen. Dave Thompson, R-Lakeville. ‘I think all parents in our state would make sure that their children are comfortable and protected in intimate settings, which athletic fields and facilities and locker rooms are. We’re clarifying something I believe a vast majority of Minnesotans would support.’” Emphasis on the word “vast”?

We can agree, right, that profiting would set a dangerous precedent? Tyler Gieseke of the Strib says, “Xcel Energy Inc. said Monday it will write off about $125 million in expected profits from the upgrade of its Monticello nuclear power plant after a regulatory ruling last week. The hit will erase about half the $280 million profit analysts surveyed by Bloomberg expect Xcel to produce in the January-to-March quarter. … During the commission’s review, Xcel officials said, despite the higher-than-expected costs, the improvements at the Monticello plant represented a good investment in carbon-free electricity.”

Yeah, it’s a consideration when every company and agency you can think of has been hacked. Marion Renault of the Strib reports, “[Laraine] Kurisko is one in a coalition of Minnesota psychologists and social workers who are challenging a state mandate that, as of January, requires medical professionals to adopt computerized health records that are ‘interoperable,’ that is, tied into a wider state medical database. Going digital, they say, could not only expose sensitive patient information to a data breach, but also erode the patient-therapist trust integral to their work.”

I’ll take anything you’ve got: Pestilence and plague; just no more winter (even a wimpy one like this one). Steve Karnowski of the AP says, “There’s no need to worry yet about the dry conditions in Minnesota turning into a drought this spring and summer, experts said Monday, as a winter that was short on snow relaxes its grip.Nearly all of Minnesota and the eastern Dakotas have been abnormally dry for the past several weeks, and the U.S. Drought Monitor also shows pockets of moderate drought in north-central Minnesota, the Red River Valley and northeastern South Dakota.”

No doubt someone will see a Constitutional issue in here. The AP says, “Citing health concerns, the Environmental Protection Agency now is pressing ahead with regulations to significantly limit the pollution from newly manufactured residential wood heaters. But some of the states with the most wood smoke are refusing to go along, claiming that the EPA’s new rules could leave low-income residents in the cold. Missouri and Michigan already have barred their environmental agencies from enforcing the EPA standards. Similar measures recently passed Virginia’s legislature and are pending in at least three other states, including Minnesota, even though residents in some places say the rules don’t do enough to clear the air.”

Speaking of carbon, Elizabeth Dunbar of MPR writes, “A Minnesota House committee approved a bill Monday that would give the Legislature the final say on any state plan to reduce carbon emissions. Later this year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will set carbon reduction targets for each state to help address climate change. State officials will then come up with a plan for meeting those targets, perhaps by reducing the use of coal or deploying more wind and solar energy.”

Comments (8)

  1. Submitted by Robert Moffitt on 03/10/2015 - 07:13 am.

    On carbon regulation

    The state legislature really can’t have the final say in Minnesota’s proposed carbon reduction targets, just in the means in which they are achieved. That’s because the US EPA has the sole authority to regulate carbon emissions, as part of the Clean Air Act. This authority was established in the US Supreme Court (Massachusetts v. EPA) and upheld in a later case (Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA).

    That said, Minnesota is already on the path to reducing carbon emissions, especially from coal-fired electricity. The state’s consumption of coal to generate electricity has been steadily declining in recent years –the amount of coal burned at power plants has dropped by more than a third from its 2003 peak –and we are in the top five states for wind-powered electricity. Nuclear power is helping out, and the infant solar power industry is booming fast here.

  2. Submitted by Jackson Cage on 03/10/2015 - 08:17 am.

    Let’s look to the “Private sector”

    Only in the Conservatives’ beloved private sector could you develop disasterous strategies (i.e. entering the Canadian market) and walk away with millions. Imagine if the State had paid the MNSure head millions before her resignation, yet that’s what the private sector did with Steinhafel. Please, PLEASE stop holding up the private sector as a symbol of virtue.

  3. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 03/10/2015 - 11:40 am.

    the private sector

    generates its own wealth through the sales of products and services to willing buyers The public sector confiscates its wealth from hard working people who would otherwise spend that money on their families. Which sector is virtuous again?

    • Submitted by Jackson Cage on 03/10/2015 - 03:56 pm.

      So which is it?

      Is it the “wealth” from (a) the sales of products or (b) services that’s behind the thousands of now unemployed Target employees. Gotta a love a guy who correlates wealth with pink slips.

  4. Submitted by Lora Jones on 03/10/2015 - 12:54 pm.

    Correction Mr. Tester

    The public sector charges a fee for the use and enjoyment of the infrastructure it provides in the form of roads, bridges, laws, law enforcement, courts, etc. And the issue was the platinum parachute and outrageous compensation paid to an at best underperforming (if not incompetent) CEO. And, BTW, that wealth is generated by the people producing the products and services, i.e., the workers — and “confiscated” by the corporation to pad the paychecks of CEOS.

  5. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 03/10/2015 - 01:10 pm.

    Cleary SOME of US

    believe there’s a difference between the taxes we pay in order to support the shared infrastructures upon which our lives and our quality of life depend,…

    i.e. public “taxes,”…

    and the money “extracted” from the pockets of us hard working regular folks by the profiteering of the producers, merchants, and financial concerns upon whom we depend to provide us with needed goods and services.

    We actually have FAR LESS choice over what we pay for a gallon of gas, heating oil, or propane, for a kilowatt hour of electricity, for a month of cable TV or internet service, etc., than we do over what we pay in taxes, since we can throw our elected representatives out of office,…

    but most us can’t live without the things we must buy just to maintain a middle class lifestyle,…

    yet we have NO ability (even if we’re shareholders) to change the management or the outrageous compensation of the executives whose pockets we’re padding whenever we purchase a box of diapers or a gallon of gas,…

    all of whose compensation us regular folks regard to be outrageously high.

    The reality of our lives is that PRIVATE taxes “extract” far more from our pockets with far LESS return than do the taxes we pay to various government entities,…

    and if we could vote the CEOs of America’s big business and financial concerns out of THEIR offices, every one of them would be gone.

  6. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 03/10/2015 - 01:18 pm.

    Warped Minds

    When it comes to transgender athletes, perhaps our “conservative” legislators might want to see if they can find the counseling needed to STOP making this issue,…

    about SEX and the FEAR of sex;…

    to think about this issue without having their minds go immediately,…

    “into the gutter,”

    as we used to say.

    The issue of transgender athletes is NOT about sex, and those who can’t seem to imagine that it might be about anything else reveal about themselves that they have a few wires crossed in their craniums,…

    wires crossed in a way that make a whole lot of unrelated issues seem to them to be about sex,…

    that really have precious little do with that subject.

  7. Submitted by Logan Foreman on 03/10/2015 - 04:48 pm.

    According to the press release last week

    The thousands of layoffs would occur over the next several years. Instead all were done today. Pure lies. There is no reason to believe Target or its latest overpaid ceo (“lower case deliberate”) as to any of its “plans” other than to make sure that upper mgmt is grossly overpaid. The upper mgmt should be held accountable for the stupidity of the Canadian expansion, the idiocy of a 60 million dollar parachute payment to the last loser ceo and the loss of all the jobs in Canada and MN. If they work for free, that should cover the losses of the employees in a couple of years. My return to this outfit will be minimal.

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