Convenience Stores Say Tobacco Taxes Are Killing Them

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Emily Eveland for City Pages
Minnesota stores are selling less of these. Is that good or bad? Depends who you ask.
You have to consider the source, but a new study funded by a consortium of the Minnesota Wholesale Marketers Association, a bunch of gas stations, and big tobacco finds that the increased cigarette and tobacco taxes that went into effect last year are having a devastating impact on businesses.

The tax, which increased the cigarette excise tax by 130 percent and the tax on other tobacco products from 70 percent of the wholesale price to 95 percent, has cost 1,100 jobs, resulted in a 50 percent decrease in tobacco sales along Minnesota's borders, and decreased non-tobacco product sales by $38 million.

See also:
A Smoker's Manifesto: 11 Reasons to Revoke the University's Tobacco Ban


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Labor Ads to Ridgedale Shopping Center Customers: "Watch Out" for Hazards

Categories: Business, Unions
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These ads, which were put together by the Laborers' International Union of North America, are running on mobile devices near Ridgedale
In time for the holidays, labor organizers released a digital campaign today targeting consumers inside the Ridgedale Shopping Center, which is undergoing renovation. A new site is called "Shop at Your Own Risk" and mobile ads are intended to scare the public away.

The laborers picketed Ridgedale in July, claiming that both union and nonunion contractors -- and by extension, storefronts and the mall's owners -- had let safety violations go unchecked. For proof, the local branch of the Laborers' International Union of North America sent us photographs of an open escalator shaft and electrical box.

See also:
Laborers picketing union and nonunion contractors at Ridgedale Shopping Center



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Medtronic Pisses Off Its Investors, Again

Categories: Business

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Illustration by Mike Ray

Medtronic's investors are angry. And it looks like this time, they aren't going away without a fight.

While the Minnesota-based medical device firm keeps plugging away at its proposed deal to buy Ireland-based Covidien and reap the benefits of its new home's tax code, its shareholders continue to be a thorn in its side, suing the company and its executives for all the ways they've been wronged.

See also:
Medtronic-Covidien Deal Still on the Table Despite Irish Closing Corporate Tax Loophole


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Medtronic-Covidien Deal Still on the Table Despite Irish Closing Corporate Tax Loophole

Categories: Business
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Illustration by Mike Ray
Ireland announced earlier this week that the country will get rid of a corporate loophole scheme that allows American companies to skirt billions in tax revenue.

In our October 1 cover story, Chris Parker broke down the way in which Medtronic's purchase of Covidien, an Irish medical device maker, is designed to shield taxable income from Uncle Sam, stiffing the rest of us with the bill. At 12.5 percent, Ireland's rate is less than half of America's.

See also:
Despite Feds Cracking Down on Shady Tax Moves, Medtronic Keeps Dodging



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Here Are Mpls Homes U.S. Bank Is Accused of Neglecting Due to Racial Discrimination [PHOTOS]

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This foreclosed home, at 726 Queen Ave. N., is one of many in neighborhoods of color that U.S. Bank is accused of illegally neglecting.
The National Fair Housing Alliance has revealed the specifics of the racial discrimination claim it's making against U.S. Bank in Minneapolis.

NFHA officials came to town this summer to take a look at 28 foreclosed homes. They concluded that foreclosures in neighborhoods predominately populated by "communities of color" were 3.9 times more likely to have trash or debris on public display compared to foreclosures in white neighborhoods. Furthermore, they found that 78 percent of foreclosures in communities of color had overgrown or dead grass, and that such foreclosures were comparatively 2.8 times more likely to be covered by invasive plants.

See also:
Occupy Homes protests after more homeless people are arrested by MPD


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U.S. Bank "Categorically Rejects" Minneapolis Racial Discrimination Allegation

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U.S. Bank's Minneapolis headquarters.
:::: UPDATE :::: Here Are Mpls Homes U.S. Bank is Accused of Neglecting Due to Racial Discrimination [PHOTOS]

U.S. Bank isn't taking accusations it illegally neglects foreclosed homes in Minneapolis's "neighborhoods of color" lying down.

Yesterday, Dana Ripley, senior vice president of corporate communications for the Minneapolis-based bank, told us, "We categorically reject the NFHA's [National Fair Housing Alliance] claim against U.S. Bank." He followed up today with a statement that says, "NFHA has established a pattern of using incomplete, inaccurate, and misleading information in order to generate inflammatory headlines -- while at the same time -- seeking significant amounts of money from our company behind-the-scenes."

See also:
US Bank closes UC Davis branch, cites "intolerable" Occupy protests


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U.S. Bank Accused of Racial Discrimination in Minneapolis

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BasicGov on Flickr
:::: UPDATE :::: U.S. Bank "Categorically Rejects" Minneapolis Racial Discrimination Allegation

This week, the National Fair Housing Alliance plans to officially add Minneapolis to the list of more than 40 cities in which Minneapolis-based U.S. Bank is accused of illegal discrimination in "neighborhoods of color."

In a release, the alliance alleges, "U.S. Bank fails to perform basic maintenance and marketing tasks for its bank-owned foreclosures in African American and Latino neighborhoods to the same standard as in White neighborhoods, a practice that violates the federal Fair Housing Act."

See also:
FEATURE: Wall Street Storms the Twin Cities with an Eerily Familiar Housing Scheme


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Medtronic Isn't Leaving America, It's Just Stiffing Us on the Bill

Categories: Business

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By Chris Parker

America is a great country. It's even better when you get all the benefits of living here without springing for its upkeep.

That was Medtronic's message in June, when it announced the purchase of Covidien, a Massachusetts company that specializes in respiratory monitoring and hospital supplies. The deal would allow the Minnesota pacemaker pioneer to broaden its selection of medical products.

It was also about gaming the American tax system.

See also:
Marty Seifert on Medtronic: Young people living in parents' basement because of Mark Dayton

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GOP may hate the export-import bank, but Minnesota small businesses love it

Categories: Business, Politics

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Wikipedia

The town of Princeton, Minnesota, is tiny, holding fewer than 5,000 people. But head to its southwest corner, a few blocks north of the town's auto shop and welder, and you'll find U.S. Distilled Products. From this tiny town, the company churns out all sorts of alcohol: bourbon, brandy, gin. Nearly everything a bar owner could ask for.

These are products that go around the world, to dealers in places like China and Australia. But to get them there, and to convince new foreign buyers to really jump in, the company sometimes needs a little help. So it often turns to the government, and in particular, a program called the export-import bank.

See also:
Do Dayton, DFL deserve credit for MN's high rank in CNBC's Top States For Business?


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Blue Plate backtracks, will no longer dip into servers' tips

Categories: Business, Food
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Citing feedback from guests and the community, Blue Plate Restaurant Company has announced it will no longer dip into servers' tips, a practice it began when Minnesota's first minimum wage increase in nearly a decade went into effect August 1.

A press release announcing the move also announces that as of September 1, Blue Plate will pay all non-tipped employees a "living wage" of $9.69, which is about 20 percent above what the state's minimum wage law requires.

See also:
Hell's Kitchen applauds minimum wage increase


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