Good morning and welcome to Thursday and the last full day of the Obama administration. Lots of news today, so let’s get right to it.

1. Why did many people in the Bemidji area vote for Donald Trump? They wanted a change. What do they expect from the new president? A business owner wants tougher immigration enforcement, lower taxes, less regulation and more affordable health insurance. When Barack Obama took office eight years ago unemployment in Beltrami County was nearing 8 percent. Itasca reached 10 percent. Beltrami County is now under 5 percent unemployment, and state economists say more rural Minnesotans are entering the middle class. But things are not improving fast enough for voters, and the area has lost 30 percent of its manufacturing base in the last decade. (MPR News)

2. As his supporters get ready to watch Trump’s inauguration tomorrow, Minnesotans who opposed his bid for the White House are making their own plans. Some will protest, some will pray, but these critics are slowly coming to terms with a President Trump. Nowhere is the anxiety felt more than in Minnesota’s central cities. Voters in Hennepin and Ramsey counties chose Hillary Clinton over Trump by margins of 35 percentage points or more. (MPR News)

3. Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank President Neel Kashkari wants to make his bank a force in finding potential solutions for racial and economic disparities. That’s territory the U.S. Central Bank has traditionally avoided. But Kashkari on Wednesday announced the creation of a research institute that he says will focus on improving the economic well-being of all Americans. “We aren’t going to find a silver bullet in six months or a year, but we need to ramp up our efforts,” Kashkari said. (Star Tribune)

4. President-elect Trump’s nominee to head the health and human services department faced tough questions Wednesday about the future of health insurance and whether his own financial transactions present a conflict of interest. Democrats on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee grilled Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) about his stock trades in health, biomedical and pharmaceutical companies while he was supporting legislation that could benefit them. Among those asking questions was Minnesota DFL Sen. Al Franken who said some of Price’s trades looked like “sweetheart deals.” (Washington Post)

5. Remember Kimba Woods? How about Zoe Baird? They were nominees for attorney general in Bill Clinton’s first term, but both their nominations were derailed because it came out that they didn’t make payroll tax payments for their household help, which came to be known as the “nanny tax.” A similar issue prevented Tom Daschle from being President Obama’s health and human services secretary. Now Donald Trump’s nominee for White House budget director, South Carolina U.S. Rep. Mick Mullvaney, has revealed he did not pay $15,000 in payroll taxes for a domestic worker. Will it derail his confirmation? (New York Times)

Gov. Mark Dayton is closer to the end of his final term than the start of it, but his team only recently got around to closing down his 2015 inaugural fundraising committee.

In a filing this month with the Internal Revenue Service, the committee detailed how it spent the remaining $27,940 in the account.

After paying just shy of $2,000 in operational costs, the committee made two charitable contributions. The Climate Generation: A Will Steger Legacy nonprofit, founded by the environmentalist and polar explorer, received a $13,000 check. Another $13,000 donation went to Planned Parenthood in mid-December.

In Minnesota, inauguration fundraising is largely unregulated. But both Dayton and his predecessor, Republican Tim Pawlenty, established political organizations that disclosed dollars raised and spent.

The source of inaugural donors has become news on the national level as President-elect Donald Trump prepares to take office. The committee doing his inauguration-related fundraising so far hasn’t disclosed who is giving what amounts, although details of some donations have emerged.

In the case of Dayton’s second term, the committee raised about $195,000 to stage events around his swearing-in. It collected donations of up to $20,000 from corporations, lobbyists and others.

Minnesota lawmakers are again considering legislation to get rid of the state tax on Social Security income.

The House Taxes Committee held a hearing Wednesday on two versions of the bill. One (HF9) would phase out the tax by 20 percent per year for five years. The other (HF213) has a 10-year phase out at 10 percent a year.

Rep. Dale Lueck, R-Aitkin, is the sponsor of the faster plan. Lueck said the clock is ticking for senior citizens who could use a tax break.

“Everything else is stagnant or going backwards for these people,” Lueck said. “If we spend a lot of time here continuing to jaw on this for a couple of sessions, there’s a whole ‘nother crop of them are going to die before we actually provide any relief.”

Rep. Kathy Lohmer, R-Stillwater, said the Social Security tax is the issue she hears about most from constituents. Lohmer said too many senior citizens are moving out of Minnesota to avoid the tax.

“These people have been productive and valuable citizens of Minnesota, and they leave behind children, grandchildren, neighbors and friends,” Lohmer said.

The Minnesota Department of Revenue estimates the cost of the bills would eventually top $1 billion in each two-year budget cycle, with half of the benefits going to individuals with incomes over $100,000.

Paul Cummings, the department’s tax policy manager, said the legislation was a “poorly targeted approach” to providing relief to seniors in need.

“This proposal does not benefit all seniors. It primarily benefits wealthy seniors,” Cummings said.

Under current state law, Social Security benefits are tax exempt for individuals making less than $25,000 and married couples making $32,000. Slightly higher incomes get as much as a 50 percent exemption.

Rep. Paul Marquart, DFL-Dilworth, said the proposed phase out of the Social Security tax is not affordable. He said a more realistic approach would be to adjust the exemption levels.

“If you were to move that up to about $60,000-$70,000 that would be the targeted relief that we can afford,” Marquart said.

DFL Gov. Mark Dayton has said he’s willing to consider adjustments to the exemption incomes.

The committee took no votes. Both bills will remain under consideration for a larger tax bill this session.