BISMARCK, N.D. — North Dakota once again is treating cattle imports from most of Minnesota the same way it treats cattle coming from other states.
North Dakota’s Board of Animal Health in February 2008 imposed import restrictions on Minnesota cattle because of bovine tuberculosis in cattle and deer in the northwestern part of that state. In June 2010, North Dakota eased the TB testing requirement for most Minnesota cattle but left in place other requirements for Minnesota cattle coming to North Dakota livestock markets.
Those requirements now have been relaxed back to the level that applies to cattle from most other states.
Minnesota last year regained its “TB-free” status. North Dakota still requires testing for cattle coming from a small area in the northwestern part of Minnesota where the TB outbreak was concentrated.
MINNEAPOLIS — Best Buy said Thursday it is raising its dividend by a penny per share to 17 cents.
The move came about two hours ahead of its annual shareholders’ meeting where it is expected to provide details on its turnaround plan. Shareholders will also be looking for information on how its search for a permanent CEO is going.
The higher dividend will be payable on Oct. 2 to shareholders of record as of Sept. 11.
The Minnesota-based electronics chain is trying to improve results in the face of increased competition from online retailers and discount stores.’
A rapidly changing retail landscape threatens to make Best Buy’s large “big box” store obsolete. In April, Best Buy said it would close 50 locations, cut 400 corporate jobs and trim $800 million in costs.
At the shareholder meeting, industry analysts expect Best Buy to provide both an update on plans to turn the company around and information about who will lead that effort.
Interim CEO Mike Mikan, who is one of the candidates, said during an earnings call in May that major change is needed in order for Best Buy to survive.
Best Buy shares dropped 13 cents to $20.18 in morning trading Thursday. They are up from a 52-week low of $17.53 on May 21.
PARIS — World stock markets mostly rose Wednesday ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s decision to extend Operation Twist, its program intended to lower long-term interest rates in a bid to boost growth and employment.
MINNEAPOLIS — The state of Minnesota is scrapping a law that was meant to curb shady employment practices in the construction industry.
The Star Tribune reports http://bit.ly/NeqI27) that next month, the Department of Labor and Industry is phasing in a new registration system for independent construction contractors. At the same time, the Department of Revenue will phase out a four-year-old registration law that contractors largely sidestepped.
The 2008 law was meant to separate legitimate small businesses from workers looking for day labor jobs, and to collect a 2-percent withholding tax from companies that hired independent contractors. But thousands of workers simply registered as limited liability companies instead, and officials say the amount of tax collected was a pittance.
The new system will require contractors to prove they are an actual small business.
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota’s tax man is making it easier to pay by credit or debit card, saying a new payment system that goes online July 1 will be convenient for taxpayers.
The state Department of Revenue said Wednesday that a new website, www.payMNtax.com , will accept credit and debit cards for a small fee. The fee is lower than previous fees charged by a different vendor.
It’s part of an effort to take the hassle out of paying taxes. Revenue Commissioner Myron Frans says he hopes taxpayers will find the site “convenient and easy to use.”
The website allows taxpayers to record digital time stamps showing payments and to send themselves email reminders for future taxes.
Taxpayers can also pay taxes electronically without fees by using the department’s e-Services website or phone system.
MINNEAPOLIS — Target says its board approved the increase of its quarterly dividend by 6 cents, or 20 percent, to 36 cents.
The Minneapolis-based discount chain says the dividend will be paid on Sept. 10 to shareholders of record as of Aug. 15.
Target Corp. has paid a dividend every quarter since going public in 1967.
The company operates 1,763 stores across the U.S. and plans to open its first stores in Canada next year.
WASHINGTON — Americans barely increased their spending at retail businesses in April and May, constrained by weak job creation and paltry wage increases.
A sharp drop in gas prices pulled down overall sales in both months by 0.2 percent, the Commerce Department said Wednesday.
But excluding volatile gas station sales, retail sales grew only modestly in May and dipped in April. The report could lead economists to lower their outlooks for April-June economic growth.
“Soft U.S. economic growth may get a little softer in (the April-June quarter) as it is not receiving much support from the all-important consumer,” said Jennifer Lee, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets.
Cheaper gas also lowered a measure of wholesale prices by the most in nearly three years.
The producer price index, which measures price changes before they reach the consumer, dropped 1 percent in May, the Labor Department said in a separate report. That reflected a 9 percent fall in wholesale gas prices.
The decline at the pump could bode well for consumers in the coming months, too. The average national price for a gallon of gas was $3.54 Wednesday — 40 cents cheaper than the year’s peak price in early April.
And while overall retail sales barely budged in May, Americans did spend more on big purchases.
Auto sales rose sharply, and sales of furniture and appliances also increased. That suggests consumers may already be seeing some benefit from lower gas prices.
MINNEAPOLIS — The company planning a copper-nickel mine near Ely has boosted its estimates of how much metal it’s sitting on.
Duluth Metals Ltd., the Canadian-based parent of Twin Metals Minnesota LLC, says new data confirm they have one of the world’s largest deposits of copper, nickel and precious metals, with some of the largest platinum and palladium resources outside South Africa.
It says the site has “indicated resources” of 8 billion pounds of copper, 2.5 billion pounds of nickel and 12.1 million ounces of palladium-platinum and gold. It also projects less-certain “inferred resources” of 13.5 billion pounds of copper, 4.6 billion pounds of nickel and 15.8 million ounces of precious metals.
Duluth Metals CEO Christopher Dundas called it “a monster deposit.” He estimates the value at more than $100 billion.
LA CROSSE, Wis. — Gundersen Lutheran is considering dropping ‘Lutheran’ from its name.
Gundersen executive Pamela Maas says the medical center is in the early stages of rebranding talks. Maas says ‘Lutheran’ can be confusing to those who aren’t familiar with the health care group. She says people might not realize Gundersen Lutheran is not a religious organization.
Gundersen has tested name options and a logo on focus groups. There’s no timetable on rebranding.
Maas tells the La Crosse Tribune (http://bit.ly/MB7VcM ) that as the organization grows beyond the Coulee Region, rebranding becomes even more important.
The health care organization serves 19 counties in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa.
STEWARTVILLE — FedEx Ground, a subsidiary of the FedEx Corp., is set to break ground in Stewartville for a 60,000 square-foot distribution center.