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Vetoed tax bill would focus tax relief on seniors, families, and small businesses

The House and Senate agreed to over $1 billion dollars in tax cuts last week, much of it focused on the middle class.  The largest chunk—nearly $220 million—went to cut taxes on social security income.   The bill also included substantial increases in subtractions and credits for expenses related to child care, education, scholarship program contributions, and student loans.  On the business side, the bill lowers statewide property taxes on businesses and, in particular, small businesses.  Credits for investments in research and development, as well as start-ups also get a boost.  Finally, the bill would also reduce the estate tax by...

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BMW’s Success with Germany’s Apprenticeship Model

American employers have a lot to learn from Germany’s apprenticeship model. At least, that’s what BMW’s success at its production facility in Spartanburg, S.C. suggests. BMW is the biggest car exporter in the U.S., and at Spartanburg — its largest plant in the world — it employs 9,000 people and trains 100 apprentices at any one time. Peter Wittig, Germany’s ambassador to the U.S., explained how the apprenticeship system works in a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed: In Germany, half the graduates of high schools and junior high schools choose a track that combines training on the job with further education at...

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Government Red Tape Could Hold Up Duluth Ski Project for Years

The good news? The feds support Lutsen Mountains ski resort's planned expansion. The project would nearly double the amount of slopes for skiing by using 400 acres of bordering land in Superior National Forest. Everyone appears to be on the same page, most importantly the National Forest Service.   The expansion project could boost employment at peak ski season from about 250 to about 450 people. The company says the "proposed expansion and application for a special use permit is consistent with the Forest Service mission for this land and is similar to permits issued to other ski areas across the...

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Flow of Refugees Slows, But Costs Are Still Unknown

The Star Tribune reports that the flow of refugees into Minnesota has slowed drastically since President Trump's orders limiting travel from several countries. This chart shows the numbers: The reasons for the decline are unclear, since the president's travel orders are being held up by Democratic Party loyalists posing as judges. [T]here is speculation that federal vetting of new refugees is grinding to a halt. A recent Washington Post article cited Homeland Security officials who said their department has stopped interviewing refugees overseas — a key prerequisite for resettlement. *** Eric Schwartz, outgoing dean of the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School and a former...

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Connecticut’s Experience: Taxing the Rich Doesn’t Work

In recent decades, Connecticut has been much like Minnesota: an unabashed blue state that enacted liberal fiscal policies, secure in the conviction that it could collect endless amounts of money from its highest-earning taxpayers. But it hasn't turned out that way: "Income tax revenue collapses; Malloy says taxing the rich doesn’t work." Connecticut’s state budget woes are compounding with collections from the state income tax collapsing, despite two high-end tax hikes in the past six years. It means the current budget year, which ends in just two months, is now seriously in the red and next year’s deficit has ballooned...

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Disastrous Winter for Taxpayer-Subsidized Spirit Mountain Skiing in Duluth

The losses just keep piling up for Spirit Mountain, the City of Duluth's ski chalet. So what's new? Back in 2015, the city transferred $300,000 from the tourist tax fund to keep Spirit Mountain solvent. After that, the city abandoned all pretenses of Spirit Mountain generating enough revenue to at least break even, permanently allocating $250,000 in tourist taxes annually to the heavily subsidized slope. The numbers for this winter just got crunched--and so did city taxpayers, according to the Duluth Tribune. Revenue plunged almost 10 percent from the previous ski season, while expenses spiked more than 6 percent. Yet rather than reconsider...

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