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

Categories: Economy, Taxes

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Cover of our October 1 issue

The Feds are trying to hold Medtronic's feet to the fire for its shady, shady tax moves (as we outlined in last week's cover story), but it appears nothing will stop the company from moving overseas to avoid paying higher taxes in the United States.

The controversy stems from Medtronic's proposed purchase of the medical device company Covidien, based in Ireland, earlier this year. The purchase was tricky, designed so that Medtronic could stay in the United States but put its new headquarters in Ireland and take full advantage of the tax benefits.

See also:
Medtronic Isn't Leaving America, It's Just Stiffing Us With The Bill


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Twin Cities Passes Detroit, Now 2nd Largest Economy in Midwest

Categories: Economy, Lists
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For the first time since 2009, the Twin Cities' economy is larger than Detroit's.
Measured by total GDP, the economy of the Twin Cities metro area is now the second largest in the Midwest, behind only Chicago, according to statistics released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Laura Kalambokidis, the Minnesota State Economist and a U of M professor, tells us the Twin Cities is benefitting from the relatively hot state economy, which in turn is benefitting from the relatively hot regional economy.

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North Dakota tries to market itself as hookup haven, fails


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Mark Dayton Takes Credit for Historically Low Unemployment Rate... But Should He?

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The Minnesota August jobs report released yesterday is a tale of two stats.

On one hand, the state's unemployment rate, now at 4.3 percent, is at an eight-year low, and in an election year, that should bode well for Gov. Mark Dayton, right? But on the other, the state's workforce participation rate, at 69.8 percent, is at a 30-year low, which suggests the economic situation is sufficiently bleak that some job seekers have simply given up. That's certainly not as promising for Dayton's reelection prospects.

See also:
Mark Dayton doesn't take credit for Minnesota's $1.2 billion surplus... sort of


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Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport Workers Join Call for $15 Minimum Wage

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All photos by Jesse Marx
The next time you're waiting for your flight to unload at MSP Airport, look out the window for a bald bag handler with a ZZ Top beard.

You see him? That's Eric Wickstrom. He earns $12 an hour and can count himself among the luckier airport workers because he doesn't earn $8.

See also:
Fast-food workers storm an Uptown McDonald's to demand $15 minimum wage



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Harper's magazine profiles geriatric migrant workers in Minnesota

Categories: Economy
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Image by Tatiana Craine
In the August cover of Harper's magazine, Jessica Bruder writes of a tribe of geriatric migrant workers who "seem one injury or broken axle away from true homelessness." They travel the country in RVs, chasing seasonal, back-breaking employment, unable to retire.

Many wind up running the floors of an Amazon warehouse in Nevada. Some wind up picking raspberries in Vermont. And others, lifting sugar beet sacks in northwestern Minnesota.

See also:
Minnesota's economy one of the fastest growing in the nation


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Resurgent medical technology, computer science boosting STEM wages in MN

Categories: Economy

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Flickr via nullrend

We know the Minneapolis-St. Paul Metro area's economy is doing reasonably well. Unemployment keeps going down. Wages are up. And it isn't just following the national economy either - it's doing better. But why?.

As it turns out, one reason for the boost has been Minnesota's high-tech sector, as the Twin Cities' STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) jobs have seen some of the largest wage increases in the country, according to a report released yesterday by Bloomberg Rankings.

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

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

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Somewhere, Tim Pawlenty shakes his head...
The Dayton administration is crowing after Minnesota clocked in with a sixth-place finish in CNBC's Top States For Business 2014 list.

Matt Swenson, Dayton's press secretary, drew reporters' attention to the study yesterday, writing in an email, "Members of the Press - I wanted to make sure you saw this news release issued by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) this afternoon. CNBC just named Minnesota the 6th-best place to do business in the United States."

See also:
MNGOP Sen. Hann says he's not convinced income equality is such a bad thing


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DFL finally comes together on minimum wage hike

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-- Updates at bottom --

Last year, bills raising the minimum wage from $6.15 passed the House and Senate. But the House wanted to raise the floor significantly higher than the Senate ($9.50 to $7.75, respectively), and DFL leaders never came to an agreement.

DFL leaders announced today, however, that not only have they come together behind the $9.50 figure, but they also support indexing the minimum wage to inflation beginning in 2018.

See also:
Rep. Frank Hornstein talks about living on minimum wage for a week


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Mark Dayton doesn't take credit for Minnesota's $1.2 billion surplus... sort of

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This morning, the Minnesota Management and Budget office announced the state is projected to have a budget surplus of $1.23 billion in the current biennium and $2.6 billion in the next.

SEE ALSO: The Zygi Wilf/Mark Dayton photo people can't get enough of: Top 10 tweets

Hours later, Gov. Mark Dayton released a statement sharing his thoughts about the good news. And believe it or not, despite the dramatic turn in the state's economic fortunes since he first took office in early 2011 -- for instance, in February of that year, the budget forecast projected a $5 billion deficit for the fiscal year 2012-13 biennium -- Dayton doesn't take all the credit on behalf of himself and the DFL-controlled legislature.

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MNGOP Sen. Hann says he's not convinced income equality is such a bad thing

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During a Legislative Commission on Planning and Fiscal Policy hearing about income equality on Wednesday, Sen. David Hann, R-Eden Prairie, argued that achieving greater income equality by increasing taxes on the rich wouldn't make Minnesota a better place.

SEE ALSO: MNGOP Sen. David Hann says there wasn't enough talk about gay marriage bill

That's pretty standard Republican fare, but the ineloquent way he made his case came across as slightly callous and had Hann attempting to clarify himself after the Huffington Post picked up his comments in a report unflatteringly entitled, "GOP Lawmaker Not Convinced Income Inequality Is A 'Bad Thing.'"

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