Good Morning from Duluth. The three candidates for governor will participate in a debate this morning from Duluth. The debate will air on MPR's Midday at noon barring any major technical problems.
Expect Republican Tom Emmer's tax cut plan to be a major focus. Emmer outlined a plan that includes roughly $600 million in tax cuts to spur economic development in the state. The key question is how he'll pay for it considering it would add to the $5.8 billion projected budget deficit.
On Friday, the three candidates engaged in a lively debate at the Minnesota State Fair. You can listen to it here.
Emmer also acknowledged his son's "mistake." Tripp Emmer was arrested for underage drinking earlier this year.
President Obama will visit Minnesota in the coming weeks.
Race for Congress
The PoliGraph says Democrat Tarryl Clark is right on GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann's bridge claim.
Bachmann is also giving money to the Republicans in Minnesota who are running for Congress.
President Obama outlined an ambitious transportation package to bolster the economy. Critics say it will add to the federal budget deficit. President Obama says it will pay for itself. DFL Rep. Jim Oberstar, who chairs the House Transportation Committee will be a major player if the bill gains traction.
Obama is also calling for more tax breaks for businesses.
School districts across Minnesota are trying to determine how to spend federal funds.
Under the Dome
The MN Chamber wants Gov. Pawlenty to take the federal FMAP funds.
Negotiators for the Duluth nurses return to the table today.
A former Assistant Commissioner at the Department of Education, and a one time political adviser to Gov. Pawlenty, is the focus of an Ethics inquiry.
Pawlenty for Prez Watch
Gov. Pawlenty is headed to Asia this week.
CNN profiled Republican U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann's re-election bid in a report.
If you happen to watch it, be wary of the statement at the end claiming that Bachmann's DFL opponent Tarryl Clark has "new internal polling" that puts her within single digits of Bachmann.
I just talked to Clark's campaign, and they say the last poll was a KSTP/Survey USA Poll from back in July. The campaign's internal polling at the time matched what that poll found-- it put Bachmann ahead by nine points.
That does put Clark within "single digits" of Bachmann, which experts say makes it a competitive race. But the numbers aren't new.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty today asked U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for about $260 million in federal funding for Medicaid and foster care.
If you're confused about the governor's stand on federal funding you're forgiven, because it's complicated. Last week Pawlenty issued an executive order to state agencies telling them to avoid applying for discretionary funding under the federal health care law which he referred to as "Obamacare."
The pot of money he asked for today came from a different law designed to help states during the economic crisis. Pawlenty had originally counted on this money in the budget plan he proposed to lawmakers early this year.
What's the difference? The governor's letter says this money reflects "current and longstanding Minnesota policy objectives and commitments." He also writes that Minnesota gets back only $0.72 for every dollar the state sends to Washington and that "Minnesota taxpayers subsidize the federal government."
Here's his letter.
Now that the Minnesota State Fair is over, the nonpartisan Minnesota House of Representatives Public Information Services has unveiled the results of an informal, unscientific poll of fair goers.
The survey shows that a slim majority, 50.1 percent, said a combination of spending cuts and new revenue should be used to erase the budget deficit projected for the next biennium.
Legislative staffers said 9,926 people participated in their State Fair Poll. The survey also found participants rejected by a 2-1 ratio using public money for a new Vikings' stadium.
Strong majorities also favored a photo ID requirement for voting and ending the state's moratorium on new nuclear power plants.
The Association of Metropolitan School Districts is sponsoring a gubernatorial debate Friday, focused exclusively on education issues.
The event is scheduled for 8:00 a.m., at the TIES building, 1667 Snelling Avenue North in St. Paul. The association's executive director, Scott Croonquist, said all three major party candidates (Mark Dayton, Tom Emmer and Tom Horner) are confirmed.
A gubernatorial debate focused on health care issues is scheduled Wednesday at St. Joseph's Hospital in St. Paul, but DFLer Dayton cannot attend due to a previous speaking commitment.
An interesting moment at the gubernatorial debate in Duluth today. A woman who identified herself as Elizabeth asked a question about abortion: "I would like to ask these gentlemen what their philosophy is on abortion and specifically what your policy is on taxpayer funded abortion in Minnesota?"
The candidates' responses in order:
Tom Horner-- "I think we all agree we ought to reduce abortions. And so I've laid out a very specific plan that says I think we get to reducing abortions by making sure that all women have access to good health care, including access to contraceptives. I think we get there by making sure that we have responsible sex education in the schools. It was disappointing that Gov. Pawlenty turned down the federal grant that would have expanded good, responsible, including abstinence-based sex education in the schools. And I think we make an investment in adoption services. That's what a governor can do to make good public policy to achieve the goal that I think most Minnesotans agree on; reduce the number of abortions."
Tom Emmer-- "You know what, I appreciate the question, and, you know, Jacquie and I, we believe in life. But I've got to tell you, this election; it has to be about what is hurting the state of Minnesota--the loss of jobs. It's got to be, the economics are front and center. These are important issues, no doubt, but we've got to start talking about why Minnesota is not able to do the things it might want to do. We've got to talk about reforming our education system. We've got to talk about reforming our government delivery systems. More importantly, we've got to talk about growing jobs again in the state of Minnesota. That should be job number one for the next governor of this state, and those issues will be handled by the Legislature."
Mark Dayton--"I think the decision is between a woman and her doctor and her God. And I believe abortion should be safe, legal and rare."
On his website Emmer is quite clear where he stands on the abortion issue:
As a husband of 24 years and the father to seven children, nothing is more important to me than family. I strongly believe in the sanctity of human life, from conception to natural death. As a legislator, I have voted 100% pro-life and introduced numerous bills and amendments to protect the unborn. As Governor, I will continue to support the rights of the unborn, the elderly and the infirm.
By the way, if you missed the debate here it is: Listen