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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Now Fiscal Analysis Will Have Competing Numbers

Category: Economy
Posted: 03/05/15 06:59

by Dave Mindeman

This legislature has come up with some fairly foolish ideas. Here's another one:

Legislation introduced this week in the House and Senate would establish an office to take over some of the fiscal analysis duties currently performed by Minnesota Management and Budget. It would provide lawmakers with information about the potential cost of legislation.

This is probably the result of the GOP House criticizing a fiscal note that came from MMB regarding the education bill. They didn't like the idea that their education changes might cost something.

So, in their minds, the way to fix that is to create a new office that reports to the legislature regarding the fiscal analysis that is already provided by MMB.

And, more than likely, the "new" fiscal analysis will come up with different figures than MMB, which will lead to more senseless wrangling about what the budget for these bills should actually be.

Minnesota Management and Budget has rarely been questioned in the past. Their staff are experts in this regard and highly professional.

Yet nothing seems to escape the partisan nature of this legislature.

And, of course, Senator Tom Bakk has to jump on board with this ridiculous notion - so that he can have more control as well.

Once again, the people who get on their moral high horse and scream about $800,000 in commissioner salaries, are going to create a completely unnecessary agency at taxpayer expense and add more confusion to budgeting.

Sigh.
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The MN GOP's Four Horseman Of The Apocolypse Candidates

Category: Economy
Posted: 07/07/14 22:36

by Dave Mindeman

MPR has an article that tells us the GOP candidates for Governor want to make the economy an issue for the 2014 campaign.

The title of the article says that the GOP has said that Dayton has "bungled" the state economy. I have a hard time believing that any of the GOP candidates would use that term in regards to this particular state economy, but then I don't put anything past a GOP talking point.

If that is the case they want to try and make, then by all means. go for it. That will be a tall order right now.

Minnesota has recovered all of the jobs it lost during the recession and then some. It has better economic numbers than the national average and ranks high on many conservative business lists - that actually rank economic factors and not just taxation. (Which are NOT the same thing if you are looking at economics honestly). And Minnesota is putting our neighbor to the east (Wisconsin) to shame-- although Republicans still bring up Scott Walker as some kind of economic example to emulate. (Heaven forbid!)

Dayton, of course, can't take all the credit. But, if you recall, when the legislature finally passed his tax programs, the GOP rhetoric said with "certainty" that Minnesota would be on a path to ruin.

Ahhh, if this is ruin, may it please continue.

Seifert, Honour, Zellers, and Johnson have done a pretty good imitation of the Four Horseman of the Apocolypse of late. They talk about the doom and gloom that is most certainly coming. Each negative number is elevated to press release status - while the 10 positive numbers that precede and follow it are ignored.

They have recently latched onto figures that show Minnesota receipts that are not quite keeping up with projections.....look, look, look at that, they say. We are going to have a deficit, sure as I am a tax cutter....is loudly proclaimed. And yet, Minnesota now has a record budget reserve. And most economists are saying it is much too early to be concerned about a budget deficit.

And still fishing for any kind of bad news, they have latched onto businesses that are making changes that will move some jobs out of Minnesota. Medtronic comes up a lot, but as I have tried to point out frequently, the idea of this being a "tax" issue is oversimplified bunk. In fact, Medtronic officials say that although the corporate headquarters will move to Ireland, additional hiring is on tap for Minnesota's Medtronic employment.

As the MPR article points out, the statistics are, well, let's quote it.....

The statistics, though, are compelling. The state's unemployment rate is the lowest it's been in seven years. The Twin Cities has the lowest unemployment rate of any major metropolitan area in the country and in many respects the state's economy is doing better than the nation.

And as for Fortune 500 companies.....

Minnesota has lost six Fortune 500 headquarters over the past 10 years -- three under Dayton, including Medtronic, and three under Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty. Other firms have joined Minnesota's list of Fortune 500 companies through growth or other factors, and the state's tally is down by two compared to 2004.

If the Four Horseman want to make an economic argument, against Dayton, in 2014, by all means, take it on and go with it.

Maybe the GOP will think this is fantastic, but more realistically it is just apocalyptic fantasy.
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Corporations Have Stacked The Deck Against Us

Category: Economy
Posted: 07/07/14 20:27

by Dave Mindeman

Another loophole for the 1%.....

From Fortune Magazine on the Medtronic merger:

Years ago, in order to discourage inversions, Congress imposed a 15% excise tax on the value of options and restricted stock owned by top officers and board members of inverting companies.....Medtronic says it's going to give the affected people enough money to pay the tax.

Give it to them...and by them meaning the officers and board members who are making the decision in the first place.

This little trick gives CEO Omar Ishrak an additional payday of $7.1 to $11.2 million dollars. And that is one guy.

Who is representing the shareholders on that one?

The corporate tax breaks and protections are getting ridiculous. They hold profits offshore waiting for tax amnesty - and they pay lobbyists big bucks to promote it. They have enormous discretion as to what is defined as actual profit. They have a wide range of deductions to choose from which cuts the corporate legal rate by half and sometimes right down to zero. They get tax incentives from the various levels of government when they expand or build new facilities. They have protections for their officers and board members which no one else gets. And they have tax deductible high power law firms which shut down lawsuits and evidence of wrongdoing on various levels.

And yet, corporations spend huge sums on "feel good" advertising, telling us what they are doing for the community or the number of jobs they bring to the table as billion dollar entities. And spend equal sums to hide environmental damage and place gag orders on settled lawsuits.

It is a stacked deck out there in this US economy and the individuals and consumers are the ultimate losers.

And in case you missed it - Cong. Erik Paulsen, Cong. John Kline, and Cong. Michele Bachmann are on that corporate side.
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