Clearly these people don’t care a whit if we’re major league. Says Rachel Stassen-Berger in the PiPress, “The Minnesota Senate voted overwhelmingly Monday to block professional soccer owners from even getting close to their goal of tax breaks for a Minneapolis stadium. The unexpected 61-4 vote bars the state from spending or borrowing any money or using any tax expenditures to ‘fund the construction of a new major league soccer stadium.’ The vote brings to a quick end the request from Minnesota United FC owners for state sales and Minneapolis property tax exemptions for their proposed $250 million outdoor stadium.” It’s just so un-Minnesotan to expect someone like Dr. McGuire to use his own money … .
For the Strib, Patrick Coolican writes, “The amendment’s effect may be largely symbolic in any case. The private group that’s landed a Major League Soccer franchise has not asked for a direct state subsidy, and the Senate amendment does not tie the hands of elected officials in Hennepin County or Minneapolis, who are likely to be involved in funding talks.”
The AP story has this: “Sen. Brandon Petersen, R-Andover, led the charge on the ban. He said too many big-money deals for professional sports teams and other powerful groups have been hammered out behind closed doors. ‘We have a bad habit of getting these things done in a terrible manner that isn’t transparent,’ he said. ‘I’m kind of tired of billionaire hucksters walking into the Capitol thinking that they can exploit the public resources for their own benefit.’” You do have to wonder if this would go differently if a big media operation had some land to sell.
Meanwhile, more on the GOP’s totally new, never-before-imagined, utterly revolutionary tax relief plan. MPR’s Tim Pugmire writes: “A $2 billion tax cut package by Minnesota House Republicans includes $538 million for a one-time income tax exemption and $450 million to begin phasing-out the statewide business property tax. The House GOP also proposed new tax breaks for Social Security income, military retirement pay, college loans and farm property. It would establish a new tax-exempt savings plan for long-term care and raise the threshold for estate taxes. The package also calls for an $85 million cut in local government aid to Minneapolis, St. Paul and Duluth.”
For the Forum News Service, Don Davis says, “The proposal contains a wide variety of tax cuts, including $131 million in credits for student loans, $61 million for farmers and other Minnesotans by reducing the state estate tax, $50 million to farmers by reducing their share of school district construction costs and $101 million to encourage businesses to increase research and development.” Does a politician ever show more courage than we when he or she proposes tax cuts?
Over at Bluestem Prairie, Sally Jo Sorenson notes that she was bird-dogging the Ag Transfer board before the Strib editorialized about it a couple days ago. Now she adds, “Bluestem wonders why we need more bureaucracy in order to adequately fund agricultural research and ag education and farm management (and don’t get us started on ‘leadership education’ that’s little more than teaching public affairs ‘communications’ techniques; the state shouldn’t be in the propaganda education business for any industry). Ag research and education are well-established public interests that can be served by government. The American tradition of doing so goes back to the establishment of land-grant colleges by the Morrill Act back in the 19th Century. Handing over public money to special interests to make the decisions about how to spend that money? Not so much.”
Is there a long line of people who want the job? Another AP story, this one on Timberwolves’ coach Flip Saunders says, “it will largely be up to Saunders to decide how long he wants to hold the dual roles of coach and executive that so few of his brethren do in the league. At his end-of-the-season news conference on Monday following an NBA-worst 16-66 season that was filled with injuries, disappointment and the development of a new young star, Saunders gave no indication that he will be relinquishing the coaching duties this summer. ‘I’ll coach until I feel we need to move in a different direction,’ Saunders said.”
Oh, man. Tee up the jokes. WCCO-TV’s story says, “Minnesota’s obesity rates have seen a small decline since 2007, while all four of Minnesota’s neighboring states have seen their rates climb. The number of Minnesotans at a healthy weight increased by more than 60,000 from 2010 to 2013, a Minnesota health department analysis of data from the Centers For Disease Control found. Fewer than 26 percent of Minnesotans were counted as obese in 2013. The national obesity rate was about 29 percent, and Iowa, Wisconsin, North Dakota and South Dakota had rates between 29 and 31 percent.”
The best start in 30-years? The AP says, “Minnesota farmers have made early strides in planting small grains, thanks to good weather. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, farmers in Minnesota were able to plant over one-third of the expected small grain acreage and over half of the sugar beet acreage during the week ending Sunday. The USDA says it’s the most productive planting week for small grain growers in 30 years.” That’s good, cuz’ California won’t be growing much this year.
Turkey epidemic update. Again from the AP: “Federal authorities have confirmed another infection in Minnesota of a deadly bird flu strain. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said Monday the latest farm hit by the H5N2 virus had 23,000 turkeys in Kandiyohi County of west-central Minnesota. It’s the sixth detection so far in Kandiyohi, the top turkey producing county in Minnesota. The USDA says the birds on a seventh farm in Kandiyohi County with 9,000 turkeys will be also killed because of exposure to the other flock.”