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Failure to reauthorize children's health insurance program would cost Minnesota $178 million

No CHIP. Says Glenn Howatt of the Strib, “Minnesota will have to spend $178 million over the next 18 months if Congress fails to reauthorize a federal health insurance program that covers 125,000 children in the state, according to the budget forecast released Tuesday. Minnesota has essentially exhausted its funds from the Children's Health Insurance Program, known as CHIP, after Congress let the program's funding lapse in September. … While $178 million is a modest sum compared to the almost $5 billion Minnesota pays for its Medicaid program, several politicians noted Tuesday that the state's projected $188 million budget deficit would almost disappear if not for the lost CHIP money.”

Speaking of financial management, the AP says, “Minnesota doesn't have enough funding to update all of its aging underground infrastructure, as water and sewer pipes reach the end of their expected lifespans in many areas across the state. About $11 billion will be needed over the next two decades to cover drinking water and wastewater improvements, according to state officials."

More examination of tax bill’s impact on Minnesota, Says Christopher Magan of the PiPress: “Leaders of nonprofits worry increasing the standard deduction for taxpayers will result in fewer filers itemizing their returns and less charitable giving. John Pratt, executive director of the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, said increasing the standard deduction could cut in half the number of people who will itemize their tax returns. Itemizing is when taxpayers detail tax deductions beyond the standard deduction. ‘It doesn’t necessarily affect what (charities) they give to, it affects the amount they give,’ Pratt said.”

565KSTP-TV says, “While the snow has subsided, Minnesota roadways remain slick, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation. MnDOT reported a majority of Twin Cities and southern Minnesota roads remain partially covered with ice. As of 4 p.m. Tuesday, there were 565 crashes statewide, according to the Minnesota State Patrol. Of those crashes, only one was fatal. State Patrol also reported 619 vehicles that either spun out or went off road.”

Seems like a problem. Says the Pioneer Press’ Mary Divine: “Energy-efficient traffic lights on Minnesota 36 in Oak Park Heights caused a major problem for eastbound drivers Tuesday morning after the lenses became encrusted with ice and snow overnight. ‘They couldn’t see the red light,’ said Police Chief Brian DeRosier. ‘They kept going through the stoplights because they thought they were green.’ The Minnesota Department of Transportation installed the LEDs as part of the new St. Croix River bridge project. Because the lights don’t emit much — if any — heat, ice and snow can accumulate.”

Weird case. Also from KSTP: “The former president of Starkey Laboratories Inc., who has pleaded not guilty to charges of stealing more than $20 million from the company, is suing the company over the legal fees he's incurred. Jerry Ruzicka alleges he had authority to carry out the actions he is accused of taking. He was one of the high-level employees fired in 2015 in what they claimed was a retaliatory move by the company's CEO, William Austin.” I shouldn’t be as fascinated with this story as I am.

More STEM via 3M. Says Dee DePass of the Strib, “3M Co. boosted its contribution to the University of Minnesota's STEM and business education programs by another $8 million, company officials announced Tuesday. The new commitment, which will support scholarship and outreach programs, brings 3M's total investment to the U's 10-year Driven campaign to $26 million. The campaign launched in 2011 with a goal of raising $4 billion by 2021 for students, faculty, education, research and outreach. Earlier this year, the Robina Foundation donated $25 million to the effort.”

The Feds are now involved in the dispute over the Wetterling file. The AP reports, “The U.S. government is asking a state court judge to order that FBI documents related to the Jacob Wetterling investigation be returned to the federal agency. Officials in Stearns County had planned to release the investigative case file after Danny Heinrich confessed to the 1989 abduction and killing of 11-year-old Jacob. But Patty and Jerry Wetterling sued in June to keep 168 pages sealed because they contained personal information. A judge temporarily blocked the file's release.”

A death on campus. From the PiPress: “University of Minnesota police are investigating a death on its Minneapolis campus, officials say. The death occurred in the Mechanical Engineering Building, according to a tweet posted Tuesday night to the University of Minnesota Police Department’s Twitter account:

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Comments (1)

Regarding our infrastructure expenses...

Stop milking the taxpayers and make a deal with Wells Fargo or any of the other financial institutions that made obscene amounts of money in 2008 and by ripping off their customers recently. Seems like there's a mutual benefit to a low interest loan--money for them, ending the criminal activity and the taxpayers would be left alone. Seems like Rahm Emanuel proposed something like this for Chicago a while back. Does anyone know if it worked? Fair is fair.