Daily Digest: No frills Amazon

Good morning and welcome to Wednesday, the last day of MPR’s fall member drive. Let’s check the Digest.

1. Gov. Mark Dayton said Tuesday economic development officials who compiled the state’s proposal to attract Amazon’s expansion intentionally steered clear of the stunts cropping up elsewhere in the competition for the company’s attention. Other states are offering large amounts of money. In Newark, New Jersey, state and local officials have teamed up to offer $7 billion in tax breaks. The deal would be the second richest ever offered by a state to attract or keep jobs, according to a Star Tribune analysis of incentives tracked by Good Jobs First, a national policy research center. Some lawmakers say Minnesota should go big too, but others aren’t so eager. (Star Tribune)

2. On another subject, Dayton said Tuesday that problems with the state’s new computer system for vehicle licensing and registration have been overstated by his Republican critics. The new system replaced 30-year-old technology when it went on line last summer. But complaints soon followed. Dayton told reporters that the rollout wasn’t perfect. But he stressed that the vast majority of transactions have gone smoothly throughout the state. He accused Republican lawmakers of collecting and spreading anecdotal information to paint a more troubling picture. But at the same time Dayton was talking, Deputy Legislative Auditor Judy Randall was telling a panel of lawmakers that problems with the system persist. (MPR News)

3. The Hennepin County Board could decide later this year whether to recommend changing the name of Lake Calhoun to Bde Mka Ska. Supporters of the move say it’s wrong to honor John C. Calhoun, the nation’s seventh vice president, because he was an ardent supporter of slavery and he drafted the Indian Removal Act. Dozens of people spoke at a public hearing on the proposal Tuesday night. At the hearing, Dakota historian Kate Beane said having John Calhoun’s name on the lake contributes to the historical erasure of the Dakota people and glorifies a 19th century politician who oppressed both Native Americans and African Americans. (MPR News)

4. A bipartisan deal in the U.S. Senate could let Minnesota hold down insurance costs on the state exchange without sacrificing millions of dollars in federal funding for low-income health care. Republican and Democratic members of the Senate health committee agreed Tuesday to legislation that would shore up the Affordable Care Act, secure another two years’ worth of federal subsidies to help consumers pay their insurance deductibles, and restore hundreds of millions of dollars to MinnesotaCare. If Congress doesn’t act, MinnesotaCare could lose an estimated $742 million in federal funding over the next four years. MinnesotaCare is the state’s basic health program, and provides coverage to almost 100,000 Minnesotans in need. (Star Tribune)

5. Democratic candidates for governor weighed in on single-payer health care and Mayo Clinic’s hospital consolidation plans during a forum Tuesday night in Rochester. Several candidates told the crowd that they back moving to a single-payer system for health care. And several took Mayo Clinic Health System to task for its plan to move most in-patient services from its Albert Lea hospital to its Austin location. More than 30 opponents of Mayo’s planned consolidation sat in the audience wearing white T-shirts emblazoned with the words “Save Our Hospital.” (Rochester Post Bulletin)

6. I mentioned earlier this week that we have some profiles on the MPR site of some of the candidates running for mayor of Minneapolis and St. Paul. I neglected to mention that Tom Weber will be moderating debates with the Minneapolis candidates on Oct. 30 and the St. Paul candidates on Nov. 2. They’ll be on the air at 11 a.m. both days, and you can help Tom out by submitting a question for the candidates that he might ask during the debate. Click here for Minneapolis and here for St. Paul. Thanks.

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