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The Memo: What to know in business this week for Jan. 1

The Number: $1,000,000,000,000

That's what $1 trillion looks like, and it's also how much richer the world's 500 wealthiest people got in 2017, according to the Bloomberg billionaires index. An analysis by The Guardian credits global stock markets rising and also points to trepidation among the super-rich of a "strike-back" by the vast majority of the world's population whose earnings have been stagnant if not declining. One more tidbit for your righteous energy from the Institute for Policy Studies: The three wealthiest people — Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett — control more wealth than the 160 million poorest Americans combined.

The Word

"A prepayment of anticipated real property taxes that have not been assessed prior to 2018 are not deductible in 2017," the IRS said in an advisory last week, hopefully in time for you to not throw a bunch of money at next year's property tax bill, since St. Louis County can't provide receipts for prepayments as the actual tax bills aren't finalized until late in February. With the state and local tax deduction getting capped at $10,000 under federal tax reform, the county responded to many questions before Christmas about early payments that essentially boils down to Auditor Don Dicklich saying: "We cannot give legal advice on whether paying early will be beneficial to a person's tax situation nor will we offer refunds early if it does not prove to be beneficial. I would recommend a person consult a professional tax accountant for that advice."

The Happy Hour

OK, so I've dissed on rankings before in this space but this one just feels so good: SmartAsset listed Duluth as the third-best city for beer drinkers in the country, behind only Asheville, N.C., and Portland, Maine. The rationale is a low average price for a pint, highly rated breweries, a lot of them per capita and plenty more bars per capita. Must have something to do with that fresh Lake Superior water too, amiright?

The Meeting: Under pressure

Holidays are over. Deadlines are back. Dive right into it with a talk on not letting pressure get to you from Duluth leadership coach Pam Solberg-Tapper on Wednesday from noon to 1 p.m. at the Duluth Chamber's office, 5 W. First St. Free for members, $25 for others. Register at

The Memo is a weekly roundup of things to know, ya know? Send business news of all kinds to and give freshwater business reporter Brooks Johnson a call every now and then at 218-723-5329.

Brooks Johnson

Brooks is an investigative reporter and business columnist at the Duluth News Tribune.

(218) 723-5329