Friday a.m. update: Why middle-income rent is going up

Good morning and welcome to the weekend. Here’s what you need to know to start it.

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Researchers have a hunch for why middle-income people are seeing higher rent. More high-income folks are renting, which, according to a new Harvard study, can make for lower vacancy rates and higher housing costs. The report’s main takeaway: Minnesota has seen a significant increase of middle-income people who pay more than 30 percent of their income for rent. As Marty Moylan reports, that’s a quarter of Twin Cities households making between $45,000 and $75,000.

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There’s a catch to Xcel Energy’s transition away from coal. The utility plans to replace a coal plant with a natural gas plant, which is drawing criticism from environmentalists. In addition to climate change concerns, Kirsti Marohn reports that consumer advocates worry the natural gas plants could become a financial liability in the future.

Amy Klobuchar is ready to make her final pitch to Iowans. Before the state has its first-in-the-nation caucuses on Monday, the Minnesota senator has a major campaign blitz planned over the weekend. As Mark Zdechlik reports, Klobuchar’s events are getting bigger and some voters, both undecided and previously committed, are moving to Team Klobo.

Gov. Tim Walz will be on MPR News today. Do you have a question for him? #AskMPRnews

Cody Nelson, MPR News

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