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Thursday, April 10, 2014

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Arbitrator: Mankato university wrong to fire coach

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - An arbitrator has found that Minnesota State University, Mankato, had no grounds to fire head football coach Todd Hoffner last May and has ordered that the university immediately reinstate him, an attorney for the coach confirmed Thursday.

Hoffner, who was recently named head coach at Minot State, is considering whether or not he will return to Mankato, said attorney Jim Fleming. Hoffner did not immediately return a message left by The Associated Press, but he plans to hold a news conference Tuesday.

“He and his wife are discussing their options,” Fleming said. “I have spoken to him … he is, of course, elated with the ruling.”

Hoffner, 47, was arrested in 2012 and charged with two counts of child pornography after university staff found images of his naked children on a work-issued cellphone. His case gained national attention, coming just months after retired Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was convicted of child sex abuse.

But a judge dismissed the charges against Hoffner three months after his arrest, saying the videos on his phone depicted only innocent images of children acting playful after a bath.

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Minn. Senate passes tax bill with additional cuts

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - The Minnesota Senate has given approval to another $101 million in tax breaks, but the array of relief differs from a House version.

Thursday’s 57-6 vote sets up final tax negotiations with House tax writers. Both chambers are led by Democrats.

The Senate bill expands a sales tax exemption for local governments to those that coordinate services across boundaries. It adds to city and county tax exemptions approved a year ago. The bill also provides tax credits for volunteer firefighters, credits for parents who hire reading tutors and assistance to counties on the front-lines of the aquatic invasive species battle.

A House bill focuses tax relief on beefing up refund programs connected to the property tax. That chamber’s bill has a similar size.

Negotiations will commence after Easter.

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Minn. tax collections dip below projection

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