Duluth News Tribune
Newspapers get accused all the time. "Too liberal!" "Too conservative!" Calls and emails follow columns or political cartoons that are particularly partisan.
The Minnesota Chamber's longtime rallying cry has been, "Get out of the top 10 in tax rates!" Yes, responsible taxation can ensure government services and a high quality of life, but no state wants to be one of the most taxed in the nation; heavy tax burdens choke off entrepreneurship, innovation, wages, and the ability to hire and keep quality employees. Doing business in high-tax states like Minnesota can be quite challenging. Frustratingly, the Minnesota Chamber may need a new rallying cry after this year's legislative session.
Minnesota's snail's-pace permitting of the much-needed, much-anticipated, and thoroughly scrutinized Line 3 Replacement Project has now led to an unacceptable and problematic delay. Enbridge announced late last week it will hold off on construction for a year because the permitting process in the state was taking longer than expected, causing a hold-up also of federal permits the project needs. The energy company had hoped to be pumping oil by the end of this year. Its beginning of service is now delayed to the second half of 2020, the company said in a public statement.
It certainly didn't take long for Minnesota to get left behind on a sure-bet windfall. Less than a year ago, in May, the U.S. Supreme Court took action that opened the door for states to join Nevada in allowing legal betting on professional and college sports, specifically the outcomes of games and even plays within games.
If it wasn't for the copper-nickel mine that could result in the end, even the most hardened PolyMet opponent could find something to cheer in the proposed land exchange between the federal government and the mining company. U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan and U.S. Sens. Tina Smith and Amy Klobuchar — all Democrats who represent Northeastern Minnesota in our nation's capital — have said so and have sponsored and/or supported bills to make the exchange. Others have said so, too, including the News Tribune, using those exact words in a 2017 editorial.
Of the many failures of the Minnesota Legislature and Gov. Mark Dayton last year, this one may hurt everyday Minnesotans the most: the inability of the governor and lawmakers to align the state's income tax rules with the federal government's 2017 federal tax overhaul. They knew they needed to get it done and didn't. As a result, filing tax returns this spring will be "a nightmare" for most Minnesotans, as White Bear Lake, Minn., tax preparer Elizabeth Bystrom said in an Associated Press story over the weekend. "It's going to be very complicated."
President Donald Trump will hold a rally in Duluth next week, according to his official campaign website . The rally is set for the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center Arena at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 20. Doors will open at 3:30 p.m. Trump, who campaigned in Superior in April 2016, will be the first sitting president to visit Duluth since George W. Bush in 2004.
With so much noise in St. Paul over taxes, fixing Minnesota's opioid crisis, protecting seniors in care facilities, funding transportation and public infrastructure, and more, advocates for affordable housing fear they're being forgotten. So they fanned out over the past couple of weeks, representatives from the 214 organizations statewide that make up the Homes for All coalition, to meet with newspaper editorial boards and reporters.
Nearly four full weeks remain in the 2018 session of the Minnesota Legislature, and it apparently isn't too soon to start prodding lawmakers about getting their work done. On time. And without the mad scramble at the end, the closed-doors meetings, the secret late-night deals, and the votes on bills no one has had time to read. All of these unsavory, not-the-way-to-conduct-the-people's-business practices have marred recent sessions and even seem to be emerging as a disappointing norm.
For more than 30 years, every state bordering Minnesota — Wisconsin, Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota — has allowed cameras in its courtrooms, boosting the public's understanding of legal proceedings and its confidence in the criminal-justice system. And how many documented instances have there been of a witness or victim reluctant to come forward for fear of being on camera? Zero, according to Mark Anfinson, a lawyer for the Minnesota Newspaper Association.