Posted at 6:54 AM on August 24, 2010
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: Daily Digest
The candidates for governor will participate in a forum at St. Thomas University this morning.
Tom Horner, the Independence Party candidate for governor, released a budget plan that increases cigarette taxes, alcohol taxes, extends the sales tax to clothing and some services and expands gambling. He also wants to cut business taxes and spending (ethanol, hiring freezes and state mandates). You can watch Horner's budget announcement and his full budget plan here.
SEIU will officially back Democrat Mark Dayton's bid for governor this morning.
WCCO fact checks Emmer's comments on Arizona's immigration law and federalism.
Race for Congress
GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann goes after Democrat Tarry Clark in her first ad. The campaign is dubbing Clark "Taxin' Tarryl."
GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann is going to do a bus tour of the district this week.
MPR takes a look at the political make up of the 6th District.
The League of Conservation Voters has Bachmann on its "Dirty Dozen" list. The list "takes aim at members of Congress who support policies harmful to the environment."
Under the Dome
URS, an engineering firm, has settled its role in the I35W bridge collapse for a cost of $52.4 million.
The Metro Transit union rejected contract offer.
GAMC hits a new snag.
A September trial date is scheduled for a challenge that the Minnesota Supreme Court justice slot should be put on this year's ballot.
The health sector raises concerns over the health care reform law at a seminar in Minnesota.
DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar says the state is well positioned to apply for grants from the health care reform law.
A federal judge rules the NIH can't fund embryonic stem cell research.
The FDA Commissioner says her agency needs more authority. She made the comments after the egg recall.
The Fed was split on efforts to bolster the economy.
AIG pays back $4 billion in bailout funds.
The FCC Chair will be a featured speaker at a broadband summit hosted by Klobuchar.
DFL Sen. Al Franken hired a news press secretary.
He also talked senior services in Slayton.
He's also scheduled to stop in Brainerd, Wadena and Camp Ripley.
DFL Rep. Tim Walz visited Houston.
GOP Rep. John Kline would gain in stature if the GOP retakes the House.
Kline also criticized the billions in jobless aid going to teachers.
GOP Rep. Erik Paulsen attended a town hall focusing on Liberian issues.
DFL Rep. Collin Peterson says the Cap and Trade deal is dead in Congress but not at the EPA.
Pawlenty for Prez Watch
Gov. Pawlenty's book will be released in January.
First Lady Mary Pawlenty hit the road (New Hampshire) on behalf of her husband.
Mitt Romney has visited 25 states during the midterm.
Posted at 10:53 AM on August 24, 2010
by Annie Baxter
Filed under: Campaign 2010: U.S. House
As we've reported, GOP Congresswoman Michele Bachmann released her first ad attacking DFL opponent Tarryl Clark.
Bachmann's flak Sergio Gor would not confirm or deny reports of the ad buy, but rumor has it that's it's a $200,000 buy. Gor simply said it's "substantial," and the ad will be running on broadcast and cable.
He wouldn't specify how long the ad will run, but he did say that it's likely that the campaign will be running ads from now until Election Day.
Bachmann's campaign also put out a press release this morning criticizing Clark's record on taxes, saying she's supported measures that would raise taxes every year she's been in office.
Clark's folks say they'll be firing off their own statement soon.
UPDATE: Clark's campaign issued their response to the Bachmann charges. They defend Clark's tax votes, saying Clark "consistently voted to hold down taxes on 95 percent of working Minnesotans," and they take aim at, among other things, Bachmann's votes against Pay-As-You Go rules and her media staff budget.
The Service Employees International Union of Minnesota has officially supported Democrat Mark Dayton's bid for governor. The thirty thousand member union announced the endorsement today
"The CEOs and corporations have made their choice here. With the recent Supreme Court decision, they're allowed to spend unlimited amounts. So they're making their choice and so today is about us making our choice because there's only one candidate who is going to make the wealthiest in the state, who can afford it, pay their fair share."
SEIU is the final union to officially get behind Dayton's campaign. The union's leadership decided to not endorse a candidate until after the DFL primary so the union had money to spend in this year's general election. SEIU officials declined to say how much they'll spend on Dayton's behalf but finance reports show the union gave $60,000 through July 21st to the DFL Party and a group working to elect Dayton.
Meanwhile, former State Epidemiologist Michael Osterholm announced that he was supporting Independence Party candidate Tom Horner.
The three candidates for governor debated tax policy, the expansion of nuclear power in Minnesota and the state budget at a debate this morning at St. Thomas University's Opus College of Business in Minneapolis. The college, along with The Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, sponsored the debate.
Both Republican Tom Emmer and Independence Party candidate Tom Horner both say they support lifting the state's ban on building new nuclear plants in Minnesota. Democrat Mark Dayton opposes the measure until issues surrounding nuclear waste storage are addressed.
You can listen to the full debate here: Listen
DFL House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, DFL House Majority Leader Tony Sertich and DFL Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller sent a letter to Governor Pawlenty today urging him to take $263 million in federal funds.
Pawlenty is faced with the choice of accepting funds that he has criticized on the campaign trail. He has repeatedly critiized President Obama and the Democratic controlled Congress for spending too much and increasing the deficit. Pawlenty, who is ramping up a run for president in 2012, accepted federal stimulus money and even booked the FMAP funds in his initial budget plan in January.
Pawlenty's spokesman said lthe governor was still mulling whether to take the funds. He has until September 24th to make a decision.
Today, Kelliher, Sertich and Pogemiller are trying to ramp up the pressure:
"You cannot let political ambition get in the way of doing what is right for Minnesota. We strongly encourage you to seek these federal funds. Failure to do so would be an irresponsible act...hurting Minnesota taxpayers while doing nothing to help the tough economic situation faced by patients and our health care system."
You can read the full letter here.
At today's debate, Republican Tom Emmer questioned those who were challenging him to release specifics on how he intends to plug a $5.8 billion budget gap. Democrat Mark Dayton has called for increasing taxes by $4 billion mostly through income tax increases on Minnesota's top earners, closing corporate loopholes and gambling expansion. Independence Party candidate Tom Horner is calling for a mix of tax hikes on alcohol, cigarettes, clothing and an expansion of gambling. He also wants to cut business taxes.
Emmer has repeatedly said he intends to balance the budget without raising taxes. When challenged to produce his budget, Emmer replied:
"Where is the deficit? We talk about 'You got to raise taxes, government has to invest.' I'll say it again, government in the state of Minnesota is scheduled to get a 7 percent increase in the next biennium. Government will have more money to spend in the next two years than it is spending right now. And yet the folks that want to raise taxes want to talk about a $6 billion deficit which is created on paper because government wants to spend $38 billion instead of the roughly $32 billion that we have." Listen
Emmer is correct that revenues are projected to increase 7 percent, according to documents released by Minnesota Management and Budget (see page 1, Subtotal Current Resources). The document also says spending is set to increase 17 percent in the next two year budget (see page 1, Total Expenditures and Transfers).
Part of the reason for the sharp increase in spending is the reliance on one-time money to balance the state's current two-year budget. Those fixes include a K12 payment delay to schools ($1.4 billion) and the one-time spending cuts ($670 million) initially cut by governor Pawlenty through unallotment and later ratified by the Legislature.
If Rep. Emmer also declines to shift patients currently enrolled in MinnesotaCare and General Assistance Medical Care into the federal Medicaid program (known as MA expansion), it would save the state $360 million. He would also benefit if Gov. Pawlenty opts to take federal money (known as FMAP) allocated through the recently passed Education, Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act ($230 million).
If Emmer declines to pay back the K12 shift, accepts the spending cuts originally made through Gov. Pawlenty's unallotment, declines to take the MA expansion funds and Pawlenty accepts the FMAP funds, the projected budget deficit would be reduced by roughly $2.7 billion. That means Emmer would be facing a $3.1 billion budget deficit if he's elected.
And that is only if there is not a change to the state's current economic position that would be reflected in the November and February budget forecasts.