Gov. Pawlenty has filed a new statement of economic interest with the state Campaign Finance board. He's also registered a now-defunct consulting business with the state's legal practices board. The new filings are an attempt to dispel controversies surrounding his use of a one-man consulting business to accept payments from a pay-phone company. But Democrats say the forms aren't enough. They're asking the governor to release his personal income tax statements.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty on Friday sought to defuse some of the criticisms directed at his business history. On his weekly radio program and during a Minneapolis speech, the governor deflected questions about his ties to a telecommunications firm that's been penalized in three states. But Pawlenty's political opponents says the governor's answers outline a pattern of playing loose with the rules.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty has acknowledged deeper ties to a Republican businessman who oversaw several telecommunications firms, one of which has been charged with defrauding customers in at least seven states. Pawlenty made his comments during a two-hour press conference on Tuesday that was meant to clarify Pawlenty's role in the controversy, which he maintains was minimal. At the same time, House Democrats say the governor's voting record as a state representative favored phone companies over consumers.
A DFL state senator says she'll hold hearings on the role of Gov. Pawlenty and other prominent Minnesota Republicans in a Minneapolis based-telephone company that's been accused of cheating customers in seven states.
The state's new fiscal year begins on July 1, free of any statewide tax increases. The no-new-tax budget was a key priority for Gov. Tim Pawlenty's administration. But that doesn't mean state government will be starved for new revenues. New fees -- and increases in old ones -- will add hundreds of millions of dollars to state coffers over the next two years.
The state Gang Strike Force will continue to operate for at least another year. Gov. Tim Pawlenty has announced that public safety officials have found funds for the program after its budget was virtually eliminated last month in a $4.2 billion deficit-reduction plan. Senate Democrats, however, say funding for the strike force was jeopardized only because Pawlenty himself refused to consider new taxes while resolving the state's financial shortfall.
Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean led off the parade of presidential hopefuls at a gathering of Democratic Party officials in St. Paul Friday. Six of the nine prominent candidates appeared, some in person and some via videoconference. All the candidates criticized Bush's handling of the economy, but the differences between them were also evident.
The state's current employee contracts expire at the end of this month, and negotiations between Gov. Tim Pawlenty's administration and state workers are just heating up. The discussions are taking place under a tight budget, ratified as part of a $4.3 billion deficit reduction package in May. State officials say it's no secret they have limited resources to put on the bargaining table, but public employees say that doesn't mean they'll back down at the table.
The 2003 special legislative session has gavelled to a close after the House and Senate completed work on $4.2 billion deficit reduction package. The last major budget item to pass was a tax bill that funds aids to local governments. The aid cuts proposed by Gov. Tim Pawlenty and House Republicans, however, shook Senate DFLers and may have opened a rift in that caucus.
Legislative inaction has forced state lawmakers into at least one more day of budget wrangling as they struggle to erase a projected $4.2 billion deficit. But House and Senate leaders say they hope to break the impasse later today with final votes on both a health and human services package and a bonding bill that borrows money for state building projects.
One week into the special session, the Minnesota House has passed a transportation bill that could put as much as $900 million into road projects over the next four years. The bill would borrow for projects and use an advance of federal money, an approach criticized by Democrats as short-sighted. Senate DFL leaders say they won't take up the transportation bill until the House also passes a capital investment bill.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty and legislative leaders have made a major breakthrough in budget negotations. Negotiators met late Sunday night and into Monday morning to craft agreements on transportation funding, aid payments to local governments, and state borrowing. Lawmakers are expected to tackle the final piece of the puzzle: the health and human services budget.
The Minnesota Senate has approved a plan that extends nuclear waste storage at Xcel Energy's Prairie Island plant. The proposal is meant to keep the facility operating through 2014, but has run into objections from environmental advocates.
Critics say it lacks a strong commitment to renewable energy alternatives and provides no explicit role for lawmakers in future nuclear waste storage debates.
State lawmakers have made only incremental progress towards completing a $4.2 billion deficit-reduction package. Legislators returned to the Capitol on Tuesday to begin a special session meant to resolve business left undone when the regular session ran out the clock Monday night. A state government finance bill is now on its way to Gov. Tim Pawlenty's desk, but at least six other funding measures await final legislative action.
The Minnesota Legislature's regular session came to a close with a filibuster that blocked final action on expanding nuclear waste storage at Xcel Energy's Prairie Island plant. The power company is seeking to increase waste storage in order to keep the plant operating through the end of its current federal license in 2014. But a handful of Senate Democrats managed to stall action on a measure that they criticized as environmentally unsound.