Posted at 6:41 AM on June 16, 2009
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: Daily Digest
Gov. Pawlenty will release his plan to balance the state's budget on his own at a Capitol news conference at 2 pm. MPR will provide live coverage of the announcement on the radio and will also live stream it on the web.
WCCO reality checks whether you can balance the budget with cuts alone.
MDH announces the first H1N1 flu death in Minnesota.
President Obama speaks out about the Iranian election.
U of M students also protest the election in Iran.
President Obama says health care is a ticking time bomb.
The Congressional Budget Office says a bill that would dramatically reduce the ranks of the uninsured will cost $1 trillion.
A GOP consultant says Obama is unifying Republicans.
DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar nominates Sharon Lubinski, the assistant police chief of Minneapolis, to serve as Minnesota's new U.S. Marshal.
Klobuchar also introduces a bill that would save broadband money.
GOP Rep. John Kline is still working to win the top GOP slot on the House Education and Labor Committee.
The GOP House Minority Leader says he's torn on whether to back Kline or the other two candidates.
Playwright Tony Kushner brings up GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann when discussing his new play.
A Lake Elmo auto dealer dropped by Chrysler is weighing his options. Bachmann is mentioned.
DFL Rep. Collin Peterson said he would support plans to zero out funding for an Animal ID law unless it becomes mandatory.
Business is working to make changes to the cap and trade law. Peterson is mentioned.
Several groups say the U.S. moved too fast in the wolf delisting.
DFL Rep. Jim Oberstar will release his plans for the transportation bill later this week.
Former GOP Rep. Jim Ramstad will be honored for his efforts to fight cancer.
2008 Race for U.S. Senate
Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin says he won't push for the so-called card check bill until Democrat Al Franken takes office.
A source close to GOP state Rep. Laura Brod says Brod is running for governor.
MNProgressive Project is reporting that Hennepin County Commissioner Mike Opat, a Democrat, is considering a run for governor.
GOP Rep. Marty Seifert is also taking steps to run for governor.
ECM takes a look at the Democrats running for governor.
The Rochester-Post Bulletin details who Rochester area DFLers are backing.
Washington Whispers (a U.S. News and World Report blog) says Pawlenty will work the country to see if he can mount a White House bid in 2012.
Will Gov. Pawlenty's followers take the course that the fans of Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal took?
David Letterman apologizes to Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and her family.
Posted at 12:22 PM on June 16, 2009
by Tom Scheck
MPR News will air Governor Pawlenty's unallotment news conference live on the radio and on the web. It's scheduled to start at 2pm. MPR's Tim Nelson will also liveblog the news conference right here on Polinaut.
Posted at 12:27 PM on June 16, 2009
by Tom Scheck
GOP State Rep. Marty Seifert filed the official paperwork this morning with the Campaign Finance Board to announce his run for governor. The paperwork says former state Rep. Jim Knoblach is chairing Seifert's campaign. The Seifert for governor website also became active this morning.
By popular demand, I'm also putting up the audio from Seifert's Saturday speech to the MNGOP State Central Committee:
Here's the list of candidates who are either in the race or are considering a run.
Posted at 1:53 PM on June 16, 2009
by Tim Nelson
2:45 PM: Wrapping up. Pawlenty just put his notes in his jacket pocket. "This is a device that has been on the books since the 1930s... In the end, it is a device that gives the executive the authority to make adjustments. Pawlenty is done, walking into his office.
2:41 PM: Commissioner Hanson defends mid-range forecasts. Two years ago, he says Minnesota projected a $1.1 billion surplus, now billions in the whole. "I think we'd be well served to allow a little more data to roll in before we try to bring the four-year picture into balance."
2:38 PM: Pioneer Press's Rachel Stassen-Berger asks another question about legal action against unallotment. Pawlenty responds with a shot at House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher. Governor says she's "been meeting with all the usual suspects... She's been meeting with unions..." regarding potential legal action to block unallotments. Then, a little irony: Pawlenty credits former governor Harold Stassen -- Rachel's grandfather -- for giving governors the legal authority for unallotment.
2:35 PM: Governor has a pre-emptive strike for expected press conference featuring Minneapolis mayor R.T Rybak: "Minneapolis has been on an unbroken streak of 8 percent increases in property taxes, funding things like $50,000 artistic fountains, duplicative departments with state departments...They need to get their head out of their clouds... It is not business as usual."
2:32 PM: Pawlenty reacts most strongly so far to question about General Assistance Medical Care. "The program you're talking about is growing 36 percent a
year budget cycle. We got stiff-armed on this for years. And now the day of reckoning has come."
2:30 PM: Fox 9's Jeff Goldberg: "Do you anticipate lawsuits?" Pawlenty: "We feel very confident about our legal ability to do this."
2:27 PM: "There certainly will be some layoffs, but we're not ready to quantify them," Pawlenty says. MPR's Tom Scheck asks if its hundreds or thousands, Pawlenty demurrs.
2:25 PM: The cuts are weighted toward the second year, but not entirely, Pawlenty says. Offers the legislature the opportunity to revisit the cuts in the next session. Says the state will eventually settle up with public schools.
2:22 PM: Q&A starting. Governor says these are not final, and Minnesotans are welcome to weigh in on the state website with their thoughts. "These are proposals," Pawlenty says, pending the meeting of a state finance committee on Thursday.
2:20 PM: "If you look at these reductions, the 300 million in local government aid cuts is signifcantly less than what I originally proposed, which was up in the $450 million range... We adopted the DFL's approach on the K-12 shift... Many of these things were part of the deliberations and decision making of the legislative process." Reduction overall will be about 3.8 percent.
2:19 PM: Pawlenty wrapping up, asking finance commissioner Tom Hanson to explain the process in further detail.
2:16 PM: Says constitutional officers and legislatures should offer a voluntary giveback, "commesurate" with other cuts in the state.
2:15 PM: Higher ed cuts are about 3.6 percent. Governor says they're not as bad as the U and MNSCU were privately expecting.
2:12 PM: "Subsidies for politicians are on the lower end of our priorites," governor says, proposing to cut $10 million from political contribution refund program, ending the program. Renter refund gets the axe, too.
2:10 PM: Governor starts out on aid cuts. Puts a 3.3 percent of revenue cap on first year aid cut. Limit is 7.6 percent for 2010.
2:08 PM Pawlenty: these cuts aren't final, and have less impact than some of my original budget proposals.
2:05 PM: Here's the damage. Education -$1.7 billion; MNSCU, -$50 million; U of M, -$50 million; Government aid cuts, like LGA -$300 million; Health and Human Services, -$236 million; state government, -$33 million. Total -$2.675 billion.
2:00 PM: Staff is handing out the paperwork. Pawlenty is coming in.
1:55 PM: Governor Tim Pawlenthy is about five minutes away from announcing the cuts he's planning to make to balance Minnesota's biennial budget, set to take effect next month.
It's standing room only in the Governor's Reception Room, and there are nearly as many lobbyists and hangers-on out in the hallway. I'll be live-blogging the press conference, which is also being carried live on MPR news.
Posted at 3:00 PM on June 16, 2009
by Tim Nelson
Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak started his response to Pawlenty within minutes of the end of the unallotment announcement.Rybak says that unemployment in Minneapolis is below the state average, and that the city has made a big push for youth employment this summer.
"We need to have a long term plan," Rybak says, surrounded by TV cameras and sounding gubernatorial himself. "Instead of throwing bombs... I'd like to hear the governor in the middle of a recession, talking about creating jobs."
3:15 PM Addendum: Rybak just dashed solo in and out of the MPR capitol buro, handing out his own press release.
Posted at 3:03 PM on June 16, 2009
by Tom Scheck
Here's a list of Gov. Pawlenty's proposed cuts.
Posted at 3:09 PM on June 16, 2009
by Tim Nelson
3:22 PM: Exit, stage left. Press conference over.
3:20 PM: Clark: state employees "swallowed hard," and "stepped forward to help... My guess is that we're going to see our teachers and other public employees working together, as well." She says state needs to be a more responsible fiscal manager and reduce overhead.
3:15 PM: Clark says St. Cloud State will lose $5 million, lose jobs, increase class size.
3:12 PM: Clark says "The scope of it. The size of it, is far larger than anyone would have imagined." She adds that the General Assistance Medical Care cut isn't just impacting the poorest of the poor and the sickest of the sick, but "good paying, private sector jobs."
3:10 PM: Assistant Senate Majority Leader Tarryl Clark is responding in Room 125 at the Capitol. "Any other governor would have come back and said, let's negotiate. When two sides can't agree, sometimes they walk away, but they come back."
She says a one-day special session would have been better.
Posted at 3:42 PM on June 16, 2009
by Tim Nelson
GOP minority leader (at least unit June 24th or so) Marty Seifert just weighed in on the unallotments. Here's the edible portion of the press release. Seifert's statement:
"Governor Pawlenty today did what Minnesota Democrats cannot: He made government live within its means. Unallotment is not anyone's ideal solution, but it's what the session came to when the other side proved they could not set priorities or embrace reform.
"Democrats who condemn the governor's actions seem to forget they had more than five months to find a solution. Had they spent more time working with us on reforms and efficiencies, and less time in committees that produced no results, this day would have been avoided."
Posted at 3:48 PM on June 16, 2009
by Tim Nelson
John Marty, the DFL state senator from Roseville, and two-time gubernatorial candidate, has paper out already.
The release focuses on the General Assistance Medical Care cuts, decrying their effect on the newly unemployed.
"The governor's action is in line with his recent veto of the anti-bullying bill. Tim Pawlenty has become the schoolyard bully; he is picking on the sickest, most vulnerable people in our state."
(We'll try to keep up with reaction from the gubernatorial candidates and legislative leaders, but we aren't making any promises.)
Posted at 3:58 PM on June 16, 2009
by Tim Nelson
The state's political refund contribution program took a killing blow this afternoon. Governor Tim Pawlenty announced he was slashing funding for the program, effectively ending refunds for contributions made after the end of this month.
Here's what the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board just had to say about the "stick" side of that deal, limits on spending for publicly subsidized candidates.
Among the proposals is the unallotment of $10.4 million which would otherwise support refunds made under the political contribution refund program which is available to party units and candidates who agree to limit their spending by signing a Public Subsidy Agreement.
At the present time, all Public Subsidy Agreements signed by candidates remain in place and in full effect with regard to spending limits and other conditions to which signers agreed. The Governor's proposed unallotments do not include unallotment of the income and property tax checkoff component or the direct appropriation component of the public subsidy program.
At this time it appears that the part of the public subsidy program that provides direct payments to qualified candidates is still in place. If the proposed unallotment of money for the contribution refund program is implemented, the Board will review with legislative leaders and others the possible effects of the unallotment on existing public subsidy agreements. The Board has no further information at this time.
Posted at 4:05 PM on June 16, 2009
by Tim Nelson
Minneapolis DFL State Rep. Paul Thissen, another gubernatorial candidate, is up next. Here's the gist of his response, which also mentions the city of Chatfield and a "social innovation fund."
"Of course, the Governor's cuts today are not surprising. They are simply the ultimate example of his values: Do everything as cheaply and quickly as possible and never look back at the consequences. And Minnesotans are left with the fallout: a budget deficit that remains unfixed, tax burdens shifted to homeowners and Main Street businesses, underfunded hospitals, and elimination of important services like mental health services for kids and adolescents and emergency heating and food aid -- problems that don't go away just because the funding has been eliminated."
Posted at 4:11 PM on June 16, 2009
by Tim Nelson
Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner says it's not too late to go back to the negotiating table for Pawlenty and the Legislature:
"Clearly, these are difficult times that require difficult decisions, but those decisions are best made after a meaningful debate and within a spirit of compromise. The process we have witnessed was neither.
Today, I call on Governor Pawlenty to remain open to a truly democratic process and call for a special session. That session must be a respectful process that includes the possibility of multiple options and have the intention of putting our state back on track and easing the considerable pain that the unallotment process will surely bring."
Posted at 4:41 PM on June 16, 2009
by Tom Scheck
DFL state Sen. Tarryl Clark told me today that she's considering a run for governor in 2010. She said she's looking at her options but said she's concerned that none of the DFL candidates are from the "growth areas" of the state.
Clark is now the fourteenth state lawmaker to express at least some interest in the race for governor.
Here's the list of candidates either running or considering a run for governor.
Posted at 10:00 PM on June 16, 2009
by Tom Scheck
GOP state Rep. Laura Brod gave her take on Gov. Pawlenty's unallotment plan on her Facebook page:
Governor Pawlenty's unallotment plans announced today. We reached this point because the legislative leadership refused to reform and modernize state government. They wanted to keep spending at unsustainable levels and raise taxes, a terrible solution given the state of the economy. Gov. targeted reductions to ensure small rural hospitals keep their doors open through the recession.
Brod is one of several candidates running for governor.
Posted at 10:23 PM on June 16, 2009
by Tom Scheck
St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and Wadena Mayor Wayne Wolden weigh (alliteration alert!) give this take on Gov. Pawlenty's unallotment plans:
Mayors: Brace for deep cuts and significant property tax increases
Saint Paul, MN--Minnesotans need to prepare for significant property tax increases and major cuts to public safety, libraries, parks, and other city services, mayors said in response to the announcement that Governor Tim Pawlenty will unallot $192 million of funding to Minnesota cities.
"Minnesota communities were critically hurt today by the governor's action, and nearly every Minnesotan will personally be affected. It could be in the form of no cop in their kid's school, higher property taxes, or a local library that is no longer open," said St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman. "Many Minnesotans will think in the coming year that this is not the state they knew, or the state they want it to be."
Over the past six years, Minnesota cities have lost $750 million in local government aid, and as a result property taxes have increased over 65% statewide. This increase in property taxes, however, has fallen short of replacing the lost aid, so essential city services have also been cut back.
"The effects of cutting aid from Minnesota communities are as predictable as a Minnesota winter--every year we see higher property taxes and cuts to critical services," said Wadena Mayor Wayne Wolden, who is also president of the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities.
Responding to the governor's constant calls for cities to do more with less, the mayors shot back citing evidence that cities have been more fiscally conservative than the state over the past six years. While funding for state programs has actually increased 3.2% since 2002, the revenues available for local spending have decreased 13.7%. Furthermore, cities shrunk their workforce by 6% between 2003 and 2008, while the state's workforce ballooned by 10% in the same period.
"Minnesotans see right through this blame game and will hold state lawmakers responsible for the community cuts and property tax increases that emerge from the governor's actions," Wolden said. "The governor's cuts are wrong, and it's time for state leaders--both Republicans and Democrats--to put their residents first and prioritize funding for safe, affordable communities. They need to speak out against the governor's cuts now."