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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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Tax the rich? Done. Chase them from the State? Done.

So what has Dayton done with billions in new revenue? “The net effect is still that under Dayton, Minnesota’s tax system has become meaningfully less regressive. But it should be said that this governor has taxed the rich in order to fund government, not to reduce the tax burden on others.” ...

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As Minneapolis plastic bag ban nears, state agency says environmental benefits of paper over plastic is a myth

A Minneapolis ban on plastic bags is set to take effect on June 1.  According to a city news release, the purpose of the ban is "to reduce the litter, waste, environmental impacts and expense of managing carryout bags." No doubt city council members feel pretty good about themselves.  But feeling good and doing good are, of course, two different things.  It turns out the plastic bag ban likely won't deliver the environmental benefits advocates claim. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) recently posted an article busting seven green myths,  the seventh myth being the belief that paper bags are environmentally superior...

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State Regulators Holding Up Another Critical Oil Pipeline

Here's another case in point for those who still wonder why rural Minnesotans have largely abandoned the DFL in recent elections. The Dayton administration's heavy-handed approach to environmental regulation has already led Enbridge Energy to abandon plans to construct the $2.6 billion Sandpiper pipeline through northern Minnesota. Environmentalists won out over construction labor unions whose members and communities would have benefited from thousands of well-paying jobs and pipeline taxes. Now state regulators under the direction of scandal-plagued, scandal-ridden Minnesota Department of Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman have hit the replay button with an Enbridge replacement pipeline that should be a no-brainer. The Minnesota Department...

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Is the Minnesota Commerce Department Out of Control?

Most of what happens behind the scenes at state agencies stays behind the scenes. The gears of government grind on, leaving taxpayers little choice but to trust that officials act in their best interest. But three recent legal cases involving the Minnesota Department of Commerce have provided ammunition for critics of the entrenched administrative state and unelected regulators that run it. “Court opinions and other legal filings published in the past several months have afforded Minnesotans a stark look at the internal operations of the Minnesota Department of Commerce,” Rep. Tony Albright (R-Prior Lake) and Rep. Kelly Fenton (R-Woodbury) wrote in a...

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Understanding the New Tax Plan America Needs

Respected economist Lawrence Lindsey has written a piece in the Weekly Standard that explains why the House Republican tax plan “is exactly targeted at the economic ills that afflict our country.”  First he establishes that the American economy really is sick: “From 2011-2016 we observed the poorest economic expansion on record.” “Barak Obama was the first president without a year of 3 percent real GDP growth while in office.” “[F]rom 2011-2016, annual growth averaged more than a full point less than growth from 1965-2010, a period that includes drag from multiple recessions.” “[G]rowth in real personal incomes and wages lagged behind the long-term historic...

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The Unintended Consequences of MN’s High Cigarette Taxes

The law of the unintended but absolutely predictable consequences of government action has struck again on the Minnesota-Wisconsin border. Washington County authorities have charged two Illinois men with smuggling cigarettes into the state in a case scheduled to go to court this week. Mohammad Abdul Majid and Iman Ugurlu, both of Illinois, were charged last month with felony-level aiding and abetting in the sale of untaxed tobacco and another felony count of aggravated forgery for allegedly transporting more than $78,000 in cigarettes from Wisconsin to Minnesota. They were charged in Washington County District Court via warrant Feb. 9. They are scheduled to...

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Residents Furious as City Levels Hundreds of Trees to Sell Wetland Credits

Sometimes you can't see the forest for the trees. But in one suburban Blaine neighborhood, you can't see the forest because the city leveled the trees without warning as part of a 500 acre wetland restoration project. A Star Tribune photo shows what's left--bare ground. More than 1,000 trees by some estimates were mowed down in January to the utter shock of residents, whose homes back up to what used to be a treeline along the swamp--all in the name of the environment. Richard Holmes said he and his wife have lived along the ocean in Florida and next to a lake in...

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Pollution Agency Tells Minnesotans to Stop Buying Stuff

If there were such a thing as environmental justice, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency would cease and desist from distributing the taxpayer-funded Living Green 365 monthly newsletter.  Did you make a resolution for the New Year? Was it to buy lots of new stuff, online or otherwise? (Didn’t think so.) We’ve got a hunch, dear Living Green 365 reader, that your hopes for 2017 include keeping our air and water clean, and not using up finite natural resources. Those are big goals. Psychologists suggest that people keep the big ideas of their resolutions in mind, but break them down into manageable steps they...

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Coming Soon: Sunday Liquor Sales?

Margarita Monday, Tequila Tuesday, Wine Wednesday, Thirsty Thursday, Franzia Friday, Smirnoff Saturday… Minnesotans may soon be able to add, say, Sangria Sunday to the list. Sunday liquor sales have been banned in the state for more than 80 years, but a vote by the Minnesota House on Monday could repeal the “blue law.” While this is not the first attempt to uncork the historic ban, there is growing confidence among legislators, on both sides of the aisle, that the state is ready for the change. An article published last month by the Pioneer Press and a more recent one from yesterday confirm consumers and retailers...

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