Posted at 6:00 AM on June 8, 2012
by Tim Pugmire
Filed under: Mark Dayton
Gov. Mark Dayton leaves on a trade mission to China today, and he says an important part of the trip will be the opening of a new economic development office there.
Dayton is leading a delegation of 50 people to China for just over a week. The group includes representatives from business, agriculture and higher education. Officials from the Twin Cities economic development agency known as the "Greater MSP Partnership" will also be on the trip, and they plan to open an office in Shanghai.
CEO Michael Langley said the office will help businesses make connections develop relationships.
"You can't expect to go into a first meeting and necessarily close a deal the first day," Langley said. "It takes relationship-building. So, there will be a long-term growth strategy as well."
Langley said the office, which is set to open next Wednesday, will also be the base for Greater MSP's international marketing efforts.
Gov. Dayton, who made several trips to China as a U.S. Senator, also stressed the importance of building relationships.
"That's what I've found in the past you need to be successful in China, which is why the Greater MSP initiative is so important," Dayton said. "Because having somebody in the country on an ongoing basis is really going to multiply the effectiveness of a trip like this."
State officials say China is Minnesota's second-largest export market. In 2010, sales of Minnesota products to China reached $1.84 billion, up 45 percent from the previous year.
Gov. Dayton leaves for China today. He's leading a Trade Mission to China. MPR reports that the trip will include the opening of a new trade office.
Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke says the economy is poised for more growth.
U.S. companies feel the pinch from Europe's woes.
Best Buy's founder and board chair leaves Best Buy. The move fuels speculation on what he'll do next.
Same-sex marriage amendment
Religious leaders unite to oppose the marriage amendment.
Minnesota Majority, a group working to pass the Voter ID amendment, makes a motion to intervene in the lawsuit challenging the question.
Republicans grill Attorney General Eric Holder.
The Farm Bill debate begins. A vote could come as early as next week.
GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann wants an independent audit of the state's Medicaid program.
Bachmann influenced the TV show "True Blood."
A fact check says a Bachmann mailer misreads the jobs report.
Race for President
A new poll says President Obama is 15 percentage points ahead of Mitt Romney in Minnesota.
Mitt Romney and the GOP raised more money than President Obama and his Democratic allies in the month of May.
Sen. Rand Paul, son of presidential candidate Ron Paul, announced he's backing Mitt Romney. The move comes one day after Ron Paul announced he doesn't have enough support to win at the RNC Convention.
Race for Congress
AP profiles Jeff Anderson, a Democrat running in Minnesota's 8th Congressional Distrit.
Minnesota Progressive Project interviews one of the Republicans challenging Bachmann in the August primary.
David Carlson says he's challenging the Republican-endorsed candidate for U.S. Senate because he thinks State Representative Kurt Bills' tie to Ron Paul will make Bills unelectable in a general election.
In 2008, Carlson had the Republican endorsement in the state house race in district 67-B, but lost.
In a news release announcing his U.S. Senate campaign, Carlson stated that he thinks Bills is the wrong candidate for Minnesota Republicans.
"I wholeheartedly believe that if we nominate Kurt Bills to represent the Republican Party, leading the state ballot, his radical affiliation with Ron Paul will crush any chances the Republican Party has of maintaining the Minnesota State House and State Senate," stated Carlson.
Carlson, 30 years old, planned a Friday morning State Capitol news conference to talk about his campaign.
Minnesota Republicans endorsed Kurt Bills at their state convention in St. Cloud on May 18, 2012. Texas Congressman and GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul backed Bills over Republicans Dan Severson and Pete Hegseth who were also seeking the endorsement. Severson and Hegseth ended their campaigns.
The Bills campaign said it had "no comment" on Carlson's primary challenge.
According to information on the Minnesota Secretary of State website, Carlson filed his campaign papers on June, 5.
The winner of the Republican primary will run against DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar in the November general election.
You can listen to Carlson's speech here: Listen
MPR's Tom Scheck contributed to this report.
At a campaign stop in Rosemount Kurt Bills didn't sound too concerned about the primary challenge.
"I have never met David Carlson. I'm sorry I don't really know who he is. I'll have to look into him, we'll investigate, but I'm a Kurt Bills Republican and that's who were going to go out and talk to Minnesota about," Bills said. "And once they get to know me, they're going to vote for me in November. I just know it."
One of the DFL's election year messages can be summed up like this: Republican legislators didn't do much this session, and what they did accomplish benefited businesses, not individuals.
At the party's state convention last weekend in Rochester, Gov. Mark Dayton tested that message on a crowd of delegates by talking about a tax bill he vetoed in May.
Republicans "have been claiming all over the state now that their bill would have helped business to add jobs," Dayton said during his speech, referring specifically to a one-year business property tax cut in the legislation.
"The Minnesota Department of Revenue found that a business with less than $150,000 worth of property, which is almost half the businesses in our state, would have received a property tax cut of - are you ready for this? - $27. A larger business with $1 million in property would have received a $228 reduction. Now, can't you just see the explosion of hiring that would occur when Minnesota businesses took their $27 or $228 to the job market?," Dayton said.
Dayton's correct that the property tax cut would not have created much in the way of savings.
This year, Republicans authored two tax cut packages, which included things like sales tax exemptions on business equipment purchases, bigger tax credits for small business investments, and economic development projects.
Republicans said the packages would help spur job growth.
"It's all about jobs, and this bill creates more jobs than the Vikings stadium and the bonding bill combined," said Rep. Greg Davids, R-Preston, chair of the House Tax Committee, about the second version of the legislation.
Dayton vetoed both bills, saying he didn't want tax cuts or spending increases that widened the state's deficit, and because he felt that the bills favored businesses over homeowners.
In his speech at the DFL convention, Dayton focused on a provision that would have eliminated an expected 2.3 percent increase in the state business property tax from 2012 to 2013. He wrote in a May 14 veto letter that the cut did not produce enough revenue to justify the $46 million cost to the state's general fund.
The Minnesota Department of Revenue looked at how freezing the property tax increase for one year would affect properties of different value.
- The owner of a $150,000 commercial property would save $27 in taxes.
- The owner of a $1 million commercial property would save $228 in taxes.
- The owner of a $10 million commercial property would save $2,364 in taxes.
Dayton left out the last example in his speech, which represents the very high end of what businesses could have saved under the GOP property tax proposal.
But it's important to note that only 1.75 percent of the state's commercial properties - or about 2,200 properties - are valued at more than $5 million, according to the revenue department. That means very few businesses would have gotten the maximum tax cut.
The revenue department says that most of the state's commercial properties are far less valuable. Roughly 44 percent are valued at less than $150,000, and 30 percent are valued at between $150,000 and $500,000. That means most commercial property owners in the state would likely have seen less than $228 in tax savings.
It's possible that business owners would have reinvested their property tax savings in jobs as the Republicans hoped they would. And we'll never know if the rest of the Republican's tax package would have spurred job growth in the state.
But for his part, Dayton accurately characterized the estimated property tax savings the bill would have created. As a result, he earns an accurate for this claim.
Gov. Mark Dayton, speech, Minnesota DFL Convention, June 2, 2012
Gov. Mark Dayton, Veto Letter HF 247, May 14, 2012
Minnesota Public Radio News, Dayton defends veto of GOP-sponsored tax bill, by Tim Pugmire, May 15, 2012
Minnesota Department of Revenue, State Property Tax One-Year Inflation-Adjustment Freeze, by Eric Willette, Property Tax Research Director, May 8, 2012
E-mail exchange, Katharine Tinucci, spokeswoman, Gov. Mark Dayton, June 7, 2012
E-mail exchange Ryan Brown, media coordinator, Minnesota Department of Revenue, June 7, 2012
Public Policy Polling released another look at its poll from this week, this one showing DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar with a lead over her Republican opponent, Rep. Kurt Bills, of 26 percentage points.
The survey also looked at Klobuchar's prospects against Dan Severson, Pete Hegseth and Joe Arwood, though all three are no longer vying for the GOP nomination after Bills won the GOP endorsement last month.
Public Policy Polling (PPP) is a Democratic firm, though pollsters generally regard it as a fair operation.
When it comes to job approval, the poll also shows Klobuchar doing well with 57 percent of registered Minnesota voters saying they approve of her record, and 29 percent disapproving.
Klobuchar's lead is so comfortable, PPP wrote in a press release that the Minnesota Senate race "may be up there for the most boring one we've polled on this cycle."
Minnesota's junior senator is also doing well. Fifty percent of Minnesota voters approve of Sen. Al Franken's record, while 36 percent disapprove. He has comfortable advantages over three hypothetical 2014 opponents, including Norm Coleman, Tim Pawlenty and Michele Bachmann, although the election is so far off the numbers don't seem very relevant.
Also a winner in the PPP poll? Minneapolis, which 40 percent of voters prefer over St. Paul.
PPP surveyed 973 Minnesota voters from May 31 - June 3. The poll has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points. Read the rest of the poll here.
Republican leaders in the Minnesota House and Senate said today they plan to file paperwork aimed at intervening in the recent lawsuit brought by opponents of the voter ID constitutional amendment.
The decision comes a day after a similar announcement from Minnesota Majority, a group that favors a requirement that people show photo identification before they can vote. Last week, the ACLU and other groups petitioned the Minnesota Supreme Court to remove the amendment question from the ballot due to concerns about the accuracy of its wording.
In a news release, Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem, R-Rochester, said he thinks the integrity of the election process will be enhanced with the photo ID requirement.
"The Legislature placed this very clear and concise question before the citizens for their judgment in the November election," Senjem wrote. "With our action today, we intend to protect the right of citizens to vote on this important issue of election integrity."
House Speaker Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, also weighed in.
"This request is needed to protect the Minnesota Legislature's right to pass and place constitutional amendments on the ballot," Zellers explained. "It is unfortunate special interest groups who are opposed to photo ID are using any means necessary to prevent citizens from voting on this important election integrity measure."
A spokeswoman for Zellers said the Legislature is hiring the Winthrop & Weinstine law firm to handle the matter. She confirmed that taxpayer money will fund the legal action.
According to the release, members of the Legislative Coordinating Commission will meet next week to adopt a formal resolution on the intervention request.
The court has scheduled oral arguments for July 17.(2 Comments)