Governor Pawlenty has scheduled a bill signing ceremony today for a so-called "jobs bill" that is aimed at spurring economic development in Minnesota. The proposal includes a measure that gives tax breaks to people who invest in promising business ideas, for research and development and a measure aimed at keeping the Ford Plant in St. Paul. It would also allow for the expansion of the Mall of America, historic building renovation and other projects.
Pawlenty's office says he governor will be joined by bill co-author DFL Rep. Ann Lenczewski, St. Paul City Councilmember Pat Harris, Local UAW President Ronda Danielson, David Minkkinen of the Minnesota High Tech Association, Minnesota Building and Construction Trades Council President Harry Melander, venture capital investors, and others.
The proposal will be paid for by the elimination of a $30 million program originally designed to help poor Minnesotans afford gasoline tax increases.
The measure creates new tax breaks for investments in small businesses, historic structures, energy improvements and research and development. There are also provisions designed to get a Mall of America expansion underway and to keep the St. Paul Ford plant open. During a signing ceremony today), Pawlenty said Minnesota's quality of life depends on the availability of jobs.
"We need to be doing those things that encourage more job growth, businesses starting in our state, more economic activity and investment in our state, Pawlenty said. "And this bill takes a very significant and important step forward in that regard."
The Republican governor said he also signed a supplemental budget bill that erases about a third of the nearly $1 billion deficit. Legislators passed both bills Monday before taking a weeklong holiday break.
Pawlenty offered an upbeat assessment of the session.
"I think it represents good work, good progress and pretty good relations so far," Pawlenty said.
Rep. Michele Bachmann is scheduled to hold a rally and fundraiser next week with former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
Now some Minnesota residents say they've created a political action committee to target what they say is her "real" record. They call it the RAT PAC, which stands for "Residents for Accuracy and Truth."
One of the organizers, David Day, told Minnesota Public Radio News the group is made up of people from different political ideologies, including some Republicans. He declined to name them though.
He said the 6th District residents are tired of watching their representative on Fox News rather than getting a chance to see her anywhere in the district.
Day said he hoped the new PAC would raise money from all over the nation. He said the PAC is interested in exposing Bachmann misstatements and that it would be watching other politicians as well.
The PAC has already created this video:
"It may make us as crazy as she is, but we're proud to take on the task of trying to keep Bachmann honest," Day said. "Despite what people outside our district think, most people here aren't like Bachmann, but she gets away with doing what she does because only periodically do her outrageous statements get press coverage. The 'anti-American' stuff from 2008 made her famous, but to those of us who have been living with her for a while--we know that's nothing new."
Bachmann told MPR News last month that her outreach benefits her constituents, and that they appreciate her efforts.
Vice President Joe Biden recently taught us that open microphones can catch some entertaining, off-hand comments.
One such catch came today at the State Capitol just before a bill signing ceremony. This time no bleeping was required.
When Gov. Tim Pawlenty entered the reception room, he greeted about a dozen legislators and other dignitaries who were assembled for the event. State Sen. Julianne Ortman, R-Chanhassen, was standing near the podium and the microphone, when she shook hands with the well-traveled governor. Listen
"Welcome back to Minnesota," Ortman said. "It's good to have you here."