Posted at 7:05 AM on September 24, 2010
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: Daily Digest
Gov. Pawlenty declared a state of emergency in the state's flood zone.
Race for Governor
The three candidates for governor head to Brainerd today to talk health care at a debate sponsored by the MN Hospital Association and Aging Services of Minnesota.
MPR says social issues rarely come up in the race for governor.
Vice-President Joe Biden will raise money for Democrat Mark Dayton at a luncheon in October.
Farm groups split their support between Dayton and Republican Tom Emmer.
Emmer and Minnesota's Future, which is backing Emmer, released new ads.
Race for Congress
The Farm Bureau doesn't endorse in CD1.
The current and former Auditors spar over investigations. DFL incumbent Rebecca Otto and Republican Pat Anderson are running against each other again this year.
Under the Dome
DFL lawmakers criticize Gov. Pawlenty for not requesting federal funds for health care.
The USDA to upgrade Minnesota's bovine TB status.
New changes in the federal health law took effect yesterday.
Health Partners and Blue Cross suspend some health plans because of the health care overhaul.
President Obama addressed the United Nations on Thursday.
The U.S. delegation walked out when Iran's president suggested the U.S. government was behind 9/11.
Democrats delay a vote on the Bush tax cuts.
David Axelrod will leave the White House in 2011.
The House GOP released their "Pledge to America."
The National Review talks about it with GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann.
Bachmann declined to support John Boehner as Speaker of the House in this Wall Street Journal story. Update: Bachmann staffer called to clarify to say Bachmann refuses to speculate on whether she'll vote for Boehner as speaker.
DFL Rep. Jim Oberstar says an auto safety bill will have to wait until after the midterms.
Under the Dome
Cities are struggling with unfinished housing developments.
Pawlenty for Prez Watch
Gov. Pawlenty is listed as a "potential guest" to the RNC's "Fire Pelosi" bus tour.
Sarah Palin says she'll run for president if nobody with the right answers steps up.
Rep. Peter King (GOP-NY) says the GOP doesn't have a solid list of 2012 candidates.
A new poll released by Rasmussen Reports shows Democrat Mark Dayton and Republican Tom Emmer in a dead heat. The poll, taken on September 22nd, shows Emmer with the support of 42 percent of those polled. Dayton has the support of 41 percent of those polled. The Independence Party's Tom Horner received nine percent support. Two percent of those polled are undecided. The margin of error is plus or minus four percentage points. (Note: The poll includes leaners).
Update: A closer look at the poll shows a different set of numbers when you take away the leaners. Emmer edges Dayton 36% to 34%, and Horner receives the support of 18 percent of those polled.
You can read the full results here.
If Republican Tom Emmer's elected governor, he says he'll restructure the way the state parcels out money to cities to eliminate what he says has been wasteful spending in the local government aid program.
To help sell his platform, Emmer frequently points out that aid isn't spread evenly among Minnesota communities.
"I don't know how many of your viewers understand that only about half the cities in this state get any local government aid and frankly only a handful get the lion's share," he said during a debate Sept. 17, 2010.
It's a claim that he reiterated during a debate in St. Cloud Sept. 21, and that appears on part of his campaign website called EmmerTruth, meant to refute misinformation about the platform.
There's little truth to this Emmer claim.
Emmer's campaign said it could not back-up his claim that only half the cities in the state get aid. In fact, most do. This year, 85 percent of communities - or 727 out of 854 communities -- will get local government aid after unallotment cuts, according to data supplied by the Minnesota State Legislature House Research Department, which tracks these payments annually.
Emmer's second point, that a handful of communities get the most money, is more complicated. This year, the state will give out $426,535,440 in local government aid. Nearly half of that - about $200 million - goes to 14 cities, including Duluth, Minneapolis, St. Cloud, St. Paul, and Winona.
However, Emmer's statement glosses over some important context. Local Government Aid was created to help towns with limited tax bases provide services to its residents. Funding is doled out based on a city's fiscal needs and its ability to pay for them, as well as other factors, including population. So on one hand, it makes sense that large cities, like St. Paul or Minneapolis, would be getting a lot of money.
But dollar amounts don't reveal much. To really understand how the state is spending the cash, it makes more sense to look at aid per capita. By this measure, some of the state's smallest towns are getting the most money per person. For instance, Leonidas, population 57, got $35,240 this year, which breaks down to about $618 per person. By comparison, Minneapolis, population 390,000, got $63,986,731 in local government aid - or about $164 per person.
Emmer's claim is fraught with inaccuracies. He's wrong that only half of Minnesota communities are getting aid. It's far more than that. And while Minneapolis and St. Paul come out on top in terms of dollars of aid, it's the smallest cities in the state that are getting the most aid per person - precisely the aim of the local government aid program.
This claim is false.
The UpTake, transcript of the TPT Almanac debate, Sept. 17, 2010
Emmer for Governor, EmmerTruth: Tom Emmer Wants to Reform, Not Eliminate, Local Government Aid, accessed Sept. 23, 2010
Minnesota Public Radio News, City officials gloomily expect cuts to local government aid, by Dan Olson, Sept. 17, 2010
Minnesota2020, Phony LGA Statistics at AARP Debate, by Jeff Van Wychen, Sept. 21, 2010
Minnesota House Research Department, Governor's December 2008 City Aid and Credit Cuts and Payments, Dec. 19, 2008
Minnesota House Research Department, 2009-2011 LGA certified and paid amounts, after the 2010 session, June 11, 2010
The Minnesota Department of Revenue, Final City Unallotment: 2009, accessed Sept. 23, 2010
The League of Minnesota Cities, Local Government Aid 101: 2009 Distribution & Beyond, updated April 2010
LGA payments by amount
LGA payments by per capita amount
Interview, Carl Kuhl, Emmer for Governor, Sept. 23, 2010
Interview, Lena Gould, Policy Analyst, League of Minnesota Cities
Interview, Jeff Van Wychen, fellow, Minnesota 2020, Sept. 23, 2010
Interview, Pat Dalton, House Research Department, Sept. 23, 2010
Governor Pawlenty is scheduled to speak to the Family Research Council's Watchmen on the Wall Minnesota event on Monday. The organization's website lists Pawlenty as one of the group's featured speakers. Others include FRC President Tony Perkins and Minnesota Family Institute CEO John Helmberger. The event is targeting Minnesota's pastors to:
* Be informed on the current legal and spiritual challenges facing the church
* Connect with other pastors and ministers in Minnesota
* Receive a free Voter Impact Toolkit
* Enjoy a complimentary lunch
You will leave encouraged, refreshed, and empowered to address the critical issues you and your church face in the important days ahead.
The Minnesota Family Institute and the Family Research Council have been pushing to ban same sex marriage and is opposed to legalized abortion. Pawlenty, who is ramping up a bid for the White House in 2012, is scheduled to speak to the group in the morning. The event could help Pawlenty market his presidential qualifications to Perkins and the other leaders in the Family Research Council. The group is a political force on social conservative issues and reportedly has 455,000 members.
However, it will be difficult to know what Pawlenty says to the group, however. Pawlenty's spokesman says the event is closed to the press.
Governor Pawlenty spent much of the day viewing flood damage and meeting with local officials in Truman, Pine Island and Owatonna. The governor plans to seek federal disaster aid for 34 counties, and will call a one-day special session once the federal damage assessment is completed.
During a conference call with reporters, Pawlenty said he'll meet soon with House and Senate leaders to work out an advance agreement.
"We'll take the legislation from the previous floods and use it for a template and change the numbers and things like that. So, it won't be hard to put the legislation together because we've done this now many times over the last handful of years."
Pawlenty described the flash flooding as a very significant event that requires a federal and state response.