Posted at 6:51 AM on March 19, 2009
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: Daily Digest
Vice-President Joe Biden will visit St. Cloud today.
Local residents snatch up tickets to see Biden.
Biden said on Wednesday that local officials must "get it right" on the stimulus.
Federal stimulus money was released to assist Minnesota seniors.
President Obama says an immigration overhaul is still needed.
Obama schedules a second primetime news conference.
DFL Rep. Keith Ellison and GOP Rep. Erik Paulsen react to the AIG bonuses.
GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann questions AIG's executive.
WCCO reality checks Bachmann's stance on earmarks.
GOP Rep. John Kline voted against a bill that makes significant reform and spends more for AmeriCorps.
Kline also writes an op-ed criticizing card-check.
The Hill says some Democrats, like DFL Rep. Collin Peterson, are throwing public punches at Obama.
Several Veterans groups and Minnesota lawmakers oppose Obama's medical plan. DFL Rep. Jim Oberstar is mentioned.
Under the Dome
DFL Sen. Tom Bakk, who chairs the Senate Tax Committee, is considering several tax increases to balance the budget. An income tax increase for all is under consideration.
Bakk also suggested taxing internet sales and music downloads. The Minnesota Retailers say it's a good idea. Amazon.com hates it.
Meanwhile. Gov. Pawlenty's budget doesn't balance in the "out years."
Several Republicans want to yank the state's prevailing wage law.
Minnesota is also preparing for flooding in the Red River Valley.
Gov. Pawlenty wants Minnesota to pilot a mileage tax.
The Minnesota Commissioner of Agriculture backs a higher ethanol cap.
An effort to restore school wind funds returns.
The Minnesota Supreme Court will expedite an appeal on Instant-Runoff Voting.
A bill would amend the anti-bullying law.
Trout, prairies and water will get help from the sales tax money.
St. Paul approves the final plan for Central Corridor.
The State Auditor visits Willmar.
A doctor at the University of Minnesota is scrutinized for saying a drug is superior to others when it wasn't. The doc was paid by the drug makes Astra Zeneca. The Pi Press and the Star Tribune have stories.
2008 Race for U.S. Senate
Slate analyzes Republican Norm Coleman's equal protection claims.
Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner hires some folks for her 2010 run for governor.
Posted at 7:12 AM on March 19, 2009
by Tim Nelson
Two well known political figures in St. Paul have found themselves in tax trouble.
First term St. Paul City Council member Melvin Carter confirmed last night that he owes back property taxes on a home he owns on Charles Avenue in St. Paul with his wife, Alecia. The property tax statement says the taxes for payable 2008 were $2,830 and his name was included on a recent list of delinquent property owners just published by the county in the Maplewood Review.
County records show no property tax payments were made on Carter's property on Charles Avenue last year. Here's the Google Street View shot of the address, including what looks like a Carter lawn sign from the 2007 election.
"The error was mine," said Carter, when asked about the taxes. "We just didn't realize it was going delinquent." He said he would pay them today.
That's also what John Krenik said about his back taxes. A former Republican legislative candidate and would-be soil and water commissioner, his name turned up on the same list as Carter's.
Krenik is also, by the way, the sole publicly declared contender against DFL mayor Chris Coleman in November's election. (Filings don't actually open until July 7.)
Krenik said he owned a lot in St. Paul with a family member and that the sale documentation said he was responsible for the first installment of the annual property taxes. He was surprised to find out that the second half hadn't been paid, leaving the property officially in arrears. "I'm very upset about this," he said, when told of the delinquency.
"It's being taken care of right now," he said, rather tersely last night, after confirming that the taxes hadn't been paid.
Posted at 9:47 AM on March 19, 2009
by Tim Pugmire
House DFL leaders will release their budget proposal this afternoon, a day earlier than expected.
A media advisory sent out this morning says House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher and Majority Leader Tony Sertich will be available at 3:00 p.m. to discuss budget targets.
Kelliher had earlier said the targets would come out Friday.
Rep. Mindy Greiling, DFL-Roseville, the chair of the K-12 Education Finance Division, offered a clue that education funding might come out well in the House plan.
"It's premature for me to talk about the exact targets, Greiling said. "But you could say I have a smile on my face today."
Posted at 9:49 AM on March 19, 2009
by Tim Pugmire
Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., talked to MPR's Cathy Wurzer this morning. Here's the audio:
Posted at 10:46 AM on March 19, 2009
by Tom Scheck
I'm in St. Cloud covering Vice-President Joe Biden but wanted to pass along some information regarding the DFL House targets that will be released at 3pm.
A source with some knowledge of the targets says the cuts "are not going to be pretty." The source said DFL leadership is still working on the final details but the cuts will range from 2 percent to as high as 9 percent depending on the sector. The source said they're still working on the K12 target and that HHS cuts were in the 5 percent to 7 percent range. The source added that DFLers are keeping the targets "close to the vest" with just a few staffers knowing the full details. DFL House members spent a few hours hashing out the details of the budget plan in a private caucus last night.
The source didn't know the revenue options (tax increases) that are being considered but DFL staffers are already doing spin control preparing for criticism from Gov. Pawlenty. A DFL staffer passed out paperwork that details the revenue Gov. Pawlenty has raised in the past. It says Pawlenty's budgets have forced $2.7 billion in property tax increases from FY '03 to '09. It also says Pawlenty's Health Impact Fee (tobacco tax) raised $869 million from FY '06-FY'09 and there were $850 million in fee increases (not including the Health Impact Fee) from FY '04 -'07.
I'll post more information as it becomes available...
Posted at 10:56 AM on March 19, 2009
by Tom Scheck
The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development is reporting that Minnesota's unemployment rate hit 8.1 percent in February. That's more than a half a percent increase from January's job numbers. You can find the details here.
Posted at 12:23 PM on March 19, 2009
by Tom Scheck
Vice-President Joe Biden made that joke after praising DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar during his visit to St. Cloud. Biden was referring to Minnesota's long-running open Senate. A three-judge panel is still reviewing Republican Norm Coleman's court challenge of the recount. Democrat Al Franken led Coleman by 225 votes after the recount.
The U.S. House vote on the bill to collect big taxes on bonuses paid by AIG and other firms bailed out by taxpayers was 328-93. Minnesota's delegation voted 5 in favor and 3 against. All the state's Democrats were for the bill and all the Republicans voted no.
Overall, 243 Democrats and 85 Republicans voted for the bill. Six Democrats and 87 Republicans voted against it.
The Minnesota vote:
Democrats - Ellison, Y; McCollum, Y; Oberstar, Y; Peterson, Y; Walz, Y.
Republicans - Bachmann, N; Kline, N; Paulsen, N.
Posted at 3:50 PM on March 19, 2009
by Mike Mulcahy
State House DFL leaders released the outline of a budget plan today that cuts spending by $843 million, uses federal stimulus money, includes a $1.7 billion accounting shift in the K-12 education budget, and raises as yet unspecified taxes by $1.5 billion.
Unlike the Senate DFL plan it does not feature across the board spending cuts. Other than the shift K-12 doesn't take a cut under the House plan. The biggest cuts are health and human services spending by 5 percent and local government aid by 7.3 percent.
DFL leaders said the House Taxes committee would fill in the details of the $1.5 billion tax increase later.
Gov. Pawlenty's budget plan doesn't raise taxes and relies heavily on one-time money, including the federal stimulus, a K-12 accounting shift, and a plan to borrow against future tobacco payments.
The Senate DFL plan includes a 7 percent across the board spending cut and $2 billion in unspecified tax increases.