Daily Digest: Tax hikes, gambling, Facebook

Jessica Van Berkel

Gov. Mark Dayton offered his solution to the state’s $6.2 billion deficit today. His proposal for the next biennium’s budget includes his signature income tax increase for wealthy Minnesotans. It also has a 6 percent cut to the University and MnSCU systems. Here’s a copy of Dayton’s budget presentation, and keep an eye on mndaily.com for updates and analysis.

MinnPost’s Jay Weiner digs into the probability of changes to Minnesota’s gambling laws this session. The number of lobbyists – and bills – is stacking up in support of initiatives including an MSP airport casino, electronic games for bars and restaurants and racino gambling. But voices on the other side of the aisle are also speaking loudly. MinnPost counted 39 lobbyists representing American Indian tribes opposed to the legislation. There’s no sure bet on how much money gambling changes could bring to the ailing budget, but racino supporters have toted about $125 million in annual revenue for the state, and restaurant and bar owners claim their plan for adding games like electronic bingo would mean $800 million for Minnesota and charities.

And the real reason you clicked on this blog: Facebook. Here’s the deal –– of lack thereof. Mark Zuckerberg and co. are not saying much about the protests in Egypt that their network has been credited with having such a big hand in. They’re walking a fine line as they try to increase their base in countries like Syria, which may monitor users closely if leaders found the site too threatening, an anonymous Facebook official told the New York Times. The site requires users to sign up with their real identities,  a policy some, including US Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., say endangers activists. Durbin wrote to Zuckerberg that he’s “concerned that the company does not have adequate safeguards in place to protect human rights and avoid being exploited by repressive governments.”