Despite a new, ruinous, job-killing, millionaire-gouging tax regime, Minnesota — not South Dakota — has been declared America’s “Best State for Business” by CNBC. The channel’s Scott Cohn says: “Leave it to the North Star State to chart a new course to competitiveness. Minnesota is America’s Top State for Business in 2015, reaching the pinnacle of success by way of a much different route than our eight previous winners. Minnesota scores 1,584 out of a possible 2,500 points, ranking in the top half for all but two of our 10 categories of competitiveness. But what may be most instructive are the categories where Minnesota does not do well. Both involve cost. Indeed, the birthplace of Spam, Scotch Tape and the supercomputer marks a new first this year. Never since we began rating the states in 2007 has a high-tax, high-wage, union-friendly state made it to the top of our rankings. But Minnesota does so well in so many other areas — like education and quality of life — that its cost disadvantages fade away.”
The “waaaa” factor is pretty high in a Strib commentary by local attorney Gregg Cavanaugh. The subject? How the GOP can beat the DFL at its own game. “Another Minnesota legislative session has come and gone, and once again the Democrats have used the threat of a government shutdown to coerce several hundred million dollars in spending out of the Republican-controlled House. There are several strategies Republicans can adopt to put an end to this now-common charade. … Republicans must prove to the public that government intervention cannot solve many problems and often makes matters worse. There are endless examples of this at the state and local levels. Republicans should also offer market-based solutions to problems that do exist.” Presumably he’s talking about gay marriage, voter ID and gun suppressors.
The Governor is digging in. On the matter of our highly dubious sex offender system KMSP-TV reports, “A federal judge ruled last week that the Minnesota Sex Offender Program is unconstitutional, but Gov. Mark Dayton said Wednesday he believes the program is constitutional and wants the state to appeal the judge’s decision. Dayton said he is willing to meet in August with Judge Donovan Frank, who found the program does ‘not pass constitutional scrutiny.’ The ruling means major changes are likely coming to the MSOP, including the release of hundreds of the state’s sex offenders. Dayton has a scheduled trade trip to Mexico in August, but said he would be willing to change his plans to meet with Judge Frank.”
Meanwhile, U of M students can add a few more months of their working lives to pay off tuition debt. The Minnesota Daily says, “Tuition will increase between 1.5 and 7 percent for students at the University of Minnesota next fall after the Board of Regents approved President Eric Kaler’s budget Wednesday. Under the budget, out-of-state undergraduates will experience the steepest jump, at 7 percent, while resident undergraduates will see an increase of 1.5 percent. Resident graduate and professional students will be asked to pay between 2.5 percent and 3.5 percent more.”
At MPR, Alex Friedrich says, “The U wanted to avoid a 3 percent tuition hike this year, and so pushed the legislature for another two-year tuition freeze. But it wasn’t able to win full additional funding — just $22 million of the $65 million it had asked for. President Eric Kaler told regents he was grateful for the legislature’s increased appropriation. But he said if lawmakers had fully funded the U’s request, state financial support for the U would be back to what it was in 2008.”
The State Patrol is hunting for a semi. Peter Cox and Riham Feshir at MPR say, “The Minnesota State Patrol is asking for the public’s help to locate a semi-truck that may have caused a crash that killed two teen brothers from Moorhead around 9 a.m. Tuesday. The crash killed the driver and one of the passengers and injured two others when the 2010 Dodge pickup truck rolled over in the median of Interstate 94 near Fergus Falls and landed on the on the other side of the highway. … The State Patrol is looking for a semi with a white trailer and a red or green cab.”
The anti-abortion website LifeNews.com credits Minnesota’s parental notification law for the dramatic drop in teen abortions. Bill Poehler writes, “[Today] is the 25th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding Minnesota’s parental notification requirement. The law (MN Statute 144.343), strongly supported by Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL), was passed by the Legislature with large bipartisan majorities in 1981. It requires that both parents be notified at least 48 hours before an abortion is performed on a minor girl. … The annual number of minor abortions in Minnesota peaked at 2,327 in 1980, the year before the parental notification law first went into effect. Teen abortions then began to steadily decline. Since 1989, the last full year before the Supreme Court ruling, abortions performed on minors have dropped 79 percent. In 2013 (the latest year for which data is available), minor abortions fell to 295, the lowest number on record (statistics for minors go back to 1975) and only 3 percent of all abortions.”
Breitbart got hold of our (Cyndy Brucato’s) report on Hillary Clinton’s low standing among Minnesota voters. Sarah Rumpf writes, “With Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA) throwing his hat in the ring on Wednesday, there are now something like seven thousand Republicans vying for the party’s nomination for President. The Democrats, on the other hand, seem content to continue numbly marching forward with their anointed frontrunner, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. However, a new poll out of the reliably blue state of Minnesota provides the latest data point in the ongoing nationwide research project: People Just Don’t Like Hillary Clinton. … The wife of accused serial philanderer Bill Clinton doesn’t do much better with the ladies. Forty-six percent of women overall disapprove of her, and 40 percent approved.” Get back to us when they’re asked about Cruz, Walker and Trump.
Jaime DeLage of the PiPress reports that the man accused of stalking Current radio host Mary Lucia is finally behind bars. “Patrick Henry Kelly, 56, was charged with stalking in October after Lucia reported that he came to her home in Minneapolis in violation of a protection order she got against him last summer. Kelly had been ordered to stay away from Lucia after he ignored requests to stop sending personal messages and gifts to the Minnesota Public Radio studios in St. Paul. Gifts included wine, candles, sausages and a picture of a man in a mask.” The mug shot of the guy, not exactly a George Clooney look-alike, is at the link.
Surveillance footage has been released of the Wisconsin guy who stuck a gun in an off-duty St. Paul cop’s face. Katie Kather of the PiPress writes, “James Frei, 34, of Tomah, Wis., was charged with possession of a firearm, second-degree assault and fleeing a police officer in the Sunday incident, which resulted in the officer firing his weapon. … Frei had a warrant for his arrest from La Crosse County, Wis., for failing to appear on a motor-vehicle theft charge. He has a conviction in Wisconsin for burglary and escape. Frei also has convictions in Oklahoma for robbery with firearms, battery with a dangerous weapon and escape.” And yet he was still able to exercise his Second Amendment rights.
Speaking of Wisconsin constituents, gun play and staying popular with the people who mean the most to you: Dana Ferguson at Talking Point Memo writes, “After signing two bills that loosen Wisconsin’s gun laws, Gov. Scott Walker defended the timing of his public event Wednesday, saying it had been scheduled before nine people were shot and killed last week in a South Carolina church. With his signature, the all-but-certain Republican presidential candidate eliminated the state’s 48-hour waiting period for handgun purchases and allowed off-duty, retired and out-of-state police officers to carry firearms on school grounds. Both measures passed earlier this month in the GOP-majority Legislature with bipartisan support.”