FFM Bulletin 5/3/12

Landfall uproar

Residents of the small St. Paul suburb of Landfall caused an uproar at a recent public meeting after the mayor raised the idea of changing the source of the city’s police service due to their reportedly slow response time.

The city currently contracts with the Maplewood Police Department for patrol services, but Mayor Greg Feldbrugge would prefer to switch to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, the county where Landfall is located.

The heated discussion about the proposal took a dramatic turn when one unruly resident interrupted the meeting, leading to the mayor threatening to remove the constituent from the meeting. When the man continued his rant, the mayor called 911… from the city council dais.

30 minutes after the 911 call from the city, the police finally showed up.

“It’s rather ironic that it happened like that,” said Mayor Feldbrugge.

It appears that the mayor has a point.

The Landfall City Council will continue their discussion of the proposal at a May 9 meeting. 

Tax Foundation: States without income taxes rely on varying forms of revenue

No individual income tax? No problem. That’s been true for the nine states in the country that do not tax wage income. According to a recent report from the Tax Foundation, the nine states, including Alaska, Delaware, Florida, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oregon, South Dakota, and Tennessee, collect revenue from various other sources.

As they explain in the report:

  • Florida, South Dakota and Washington each raised about 60 percent of their collections through sales taxes in 2011 -- nearly double the national average.
  • New Hampshire collected 39 percent of its $2.3 billion of tax revenue from excise taxes (national average: 17.4 percent), and around 25 percent from corporate income taxes (national average: 5.3 percent).
  • Alaska and Wyoming, both of which rely heavily on severance taxes on natural resource extraction, each collected a much larger percentage of their tax revenue from "other taxes" than the national average of 12.1 percent -- 82.4 and 59.9, respectively. Besides severance taxes, this category includes state-level property taxes, death and gift taxes, documentary and stock transfer taxes, and licenses.
  • Nevada and Texas each collect about half of their respective totals from sales tax collections, splitting the rest between excise and other taxes.
The entire report from the Tax Foundation can be viewed on their website.

Congressional hearing on Medicaid fraud focuses on Dayton Administration Commissioner

Minnesota’s Department of Human Services and Commissioner Lucinda Jesson were under fire at a congressional oversight hearing last Wednesday for allegedly mishandling a $30 million payment from the UCare health plan.

The joint hearing by two house oversight subcommittees was focused on the broader issue of Medicaid fraud, but singled out Minnesota, New York, and Texas for the most scrutiny.

The hearing coincided with the release of a new report by the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which states that “Minnesota provides a stunning example of how states are failing to properly ensure the appropriate use of taxpayer dollars spent on Medicaid managed care.”

The primary issue surrounding Jesson’s testimony is the UCare health plan’s $30 million payment to the state of Minnesota in March 2011. UCare is a Minneapolis-based health plan that manages care for Minnesota Medicaid patients. The new oversight committee report says UCare “attributed the repayment to excess 2010 operating margins, resulting from Medicaid overpayments.” However, Jesson and the Dayton administration had long contended that the payment was a “donation”, and therefore was the state’s to keep.

Read more on the state’s Medicaid fraud issue now receiving federal attention. 

Reminder: Follow MN State News for the latest end-of-session news

As lawmakers spend their final days in St. Paul for the 2012 Legislative Session, be sure to follow Minnesota State News (www.mnstatenews.com) for all the latest news from the Capitol. Several contentious issues still remain unresolved, and we will do our best to bring you late breaking information as it happens.

Follow MN State News on FacebookTwitter, and at www.mnstatenews.com.


Stay In the Loop

Stay Up To Date

Sign up today for our
e-update to find out what is
going on in your state and
local government.

FFM Tipline

We will do our best to uncover the wasteful spending you report.