Tax overhaul won't be easy sell for Minn. governor

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Milky Way candy bars are taxed in Minnesota, but Twix bars — because of their flour content — are not. An Elvis album bought from a record store is automatically taxed, but one downloaded from the Internet isn't. Shoppers pay tax on presidential biographies and tap-dance shoes, but not history class textbooks or wing-tips.

Such contradictions are rife throughout the state's tax system, which governor after governor has said is ripe for a remake. Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton is expected on Tuesday to become the latest seek a top-to-bottom overhaul. If the past is any guide, he will find a political minefield awaits him.

After all, the bigger the plan, the harder the sell.

"Eventually you get to that critical mass where more people don't like what you're doing than actually want it," said Tom Hanson, who was finance chief under former Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty. "The whole system is designed to prevent something than to pass something."

Dayton's aim is two-fold: He's trying to address a $1.1 billion projected deficit, while bringing what he sees as equity and stability to the tax system that generates nearly $18 billion per year (and growing).


3 firms bid to build Vikings stadium

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Three construction firms submitted bids to build the new Minnesota Vikings stadium by Monday's deadline, including one local company, according to the agency overseeing bidding.

Mortenson Construction of Minneapolis, Hunt Construction Group of Scottsdale, Ariz., and Skanska AB's New York office are in the running to build the $975 million stadium in downtown Minneapolis.

The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority will select a company in the first week of February, authority chairwoman Michele Kelm-Helgen said. Bidding closed Monday morning, and all three firms will interview with the authority later this week.

Team officials and the sports authority hope to have the stadium ready for the 2016 Vikings season.

Cost is among several factors being considered, along with the firms' experience building sports venues and meeting workforce goals. The cost of each company's bid is confidential, Kelm-Helgen said.


Arctic cold settles in across Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Some schools in Minnesota plan to close or open late as the coldest air of the winter settles in.

The Duluth News Tribune reports all public, private and charter schools in Duluth will be closed Tuesday because of the extreme cold and wind-chills.

Other Minnesota school districts planning to open two hours late on Tuesday include Chokio-Alberta, Bertha-Hewitt and Dawson-Boyd.

Spirit Mountain ski area in Duluth closed early Monday because of the cold.

The National Weather Service says Monday's high temperature at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport only reached 2 below zero. That breaks a 4-year-old record of continuous high temperatures at or above zero at the airport.


Autopsy: Minn. man, 61, died of hypothermia

MAHNOMEN, Minn. (AP) — Authorities say a 61-year-old man who was found in a Mahnomen (muh-NOH'-min) storage building this weekend died from exposure to the cold.

An autopsy lists the preliminary cause of Gary Goodwin's death as hypothermia with complications from possible drug use. Results of a toxicology test are pending.

The Mahnomen County sheriff's office got a 911 call Saturday morning from someone who found Goodwin lying unresponsive in the storage building.

Goodwin, who was from Mahnomen, was pronounced dead at Mahnomen Health Center.

The Forum newspaper ( ) reports there were no signs of foul play.