DFL legislative leaders are not speculating as to whether they'll raise taxes or revenue to plug the state's nearly $5 billion budget deficit. Since they won't, MPR takes a look at what options are available.
Gov. Pawlenty says he expects the DFL to propose tax hikes.
A report by the Legislative Auditor says there is not sufficient evidence to determine the impact of Gov. Pawlenty's teacher merit pay program (Q-Comp). The report also says the Minnesota Department of Education does not provide regular oversight of all Q-Comp participants. You can read the recently released report here. AP says a Minnesota Department of Education review of Q-Comp says the program is having a positive impact on schools.
GOP Rep. Steve Drazkowski says the state should get out of the farming business. He says he'll propose a bill to sell state land.
A Senate committee gets info on a plastics chemical.
Minnesota Republicans want transit aid for school buses.
The Met Council chair is suggesting that federal stimulus money should be used to pay for bus service.
He made the suggestion because Metro Transit is short on dough.
A study by the U of M says corn ethanol is no better than gas.
A bill would seal I-35W bridge victim fund records.
Math GRAD changes are in the works.
Consumer spending drops for the 6th straight month.
Macy's announces it will cut 7,000 jobs.
The Senate begins debate on the stimulus bill.
President Obama will use the bully pulpit to sell the package.
The Star Tribune says the stimulus bill could hinge on the Minnesota recount.
Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak says he's anxious for the stimulus dollars.
Eric Holder is confirmed as the nation's first African American Attorney General. DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar voted to confirm him.
Klobuchar wants President Obama to speed up his FDA choice in light of the peanut butter scare.
GOP New Hampshire Sen. Judd Gregg accepts a position at Commerce. He'll be replaced by a Republican.
Lawmakers have seen their portfolios shrink in the recession.
DFL Rep. Tim Walz wants to make it illegal for members of Congress to engage in insider trading.
The DCCC targets GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann.
A bond analyst says DFL Rep. Collin Peterson's bill to ban speculation in certain credit default swaps would destroy the swaps market.
The departing USDA Secretary says Congress gets in the way of change. Peterson is mentioned.
DFL Rep. Keith Ellison will speak at the University of St. Thomas later this month.
DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar will be an entertainer at the Washington Press Club Foundation dinner.
2008 Race for the U.S. Senate
The trial begins its second week.
The Star Tribune says Coleman's campaign blocked the counting of some absentee ballots during the recount.
The Pi Press says an elections expert addresses double counting claims.
MPR takes a look at the candidate's fundraising figures.
Franken's deputy campaign manager is headed to the DSCC.
DFL Sen. Tom Bakk raises more money in 2008 than the other DFL candidates for governor. DFL Rep. Paul Thissen brings in a bunch in the final two months of the year.
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Posted at 10:16 AM on February 3, 2009
by Tom Scheck
The Senate Finance Committee is holding a hearing on Gov. Pawlenty's budget proposal and it's providing interesting comments from lawmakers. DFL Sen. Steve Murphy is working pretty hard to offer a few analogies of Pawlenty's budget. Here are two:
Do you want to die of a bloody hatchet or a million paper cuts?
It's a rotten sandwich that everyone has to take a bite of.
Vote now! Which is better?
Posted at 10:28 AM on February 3, 2009
by Tom Scheck
Gov. Pawlenty has been speaking mostly to business groups since he released his budget proposal last week. Pawlenty usually gets amped up reminding the audience how Minnesota's tax climate is making the state unattractive to businesses and job creation.
He usually poses a few rhetorical questions to the crowd. But one business leader from the Burnsville Chamber was off message when he answered a few of Pawlenty's questions.
Posted at 11:53 AM on February 3, 2009
by Tom Scheck
WASHINGTON (AP) - Tom Daschle has withdrawn his nomination to be Health and Human Services secretary.
That's according to a joint White House statement from President Barack Obama and his former nominee.
Obama said Tuesday he accepted the withdrawal "with sadness and regret."
Daschle has been battling for his nomination since it was disclosed he failed to pay more than $120,000 in taxes.
He said he's withdrawing because he's not a leader who has the full faith of Congress and will be a distraction.
Update: Some Republicans use an old Daschle campaign commercial against him.
Posted at 12:02 PM on February 3, 2009
by Tom Scheck
DFL lawmakers are distributing a recent column written by Gov. Pawlenty that criticized the federal government for driving up the federal deficit. One lawmaker said the column is timely since Pawlenty's budget plan proposed borrowing $1 billion through the sale of state bonds. He would use future revenue from the state's tobacco lawsuit to pay off the debt (read about the plan here).
In particular, lawmakers pointed to this portion of Pawlenty's column:
But it all starts by putting first things first. A cornerstone of the Republican Party must be fiscal responsibility - living within our means like most Americans do. Wall Street and the federal government chronically disregard this principle and have substantially contributed to our current economic mess.
Albert Einstein famously defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Americans don't need a Nobel Prize winner to understand we can't solve a crisis caused by the reckless issuance of debt by then recklessly issuing even more debt.
Lawmakers will raise this column during a hearing on the issue this afternoon.
DFLers are raising these questions even though they have not proposed their own budget solutions yet.
Posted at 3:29 PM on February 3, 2009
by Tom Scheck
The judges in the Senate recount trial won't allow Republican Norm Coleman's request to review 11,000 rejected absentee ballots. The court will allow, however, the review of about 4,800 ballots. Coleman's campaign praised the ruling calling it "a strong step in the right direction." Here's the story.