Posted at 6:37 AM on January 11, 2011
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: Mark Dayton
Gov. Mark Dayton has picked Hamline University professor Lucinda Jesson to direct the Department of Human Services. The office will make the announcement official later this morning.
Jesson is a former prosecutor and deputy attorney general who helped Governor Dayton with his transition. Jesson, who directs Hamline's Health Law Institute, will have one of the toughest jobs in state government. Health care costs are growing more rapidly than other portions of state government and subsidized health programs may be a top target as Dayton and the Legislature look to erase a $6.2 billion projected budget deficit. Jesson will be expected to manage those cuts and implement the state's transfer of 95,000 people to Medicaid.
Former Governor Tim Pawlenty's DHS Commissioner said the Medicaid expansion would take up to ten months to do. Dayton, who signed an executive order allowing for the expansion, said that timeline is unacceptable.
Morning Edition's Cathy Wurzer did an interview with Jesson (who goes by Cindy). You can listen to it here: Listen
Gov. Dayton will offically announce two more members of his administration. He picked Lucinda Jesson, a Hamline Law School professor and deputy attorney general, to run the Department of Human Services. The appointment was first reported by the Star Tribune. It may be the most difficult job in state governnent since DHS may be faced with dramatic budget cuts as Dayton and state lawmakers work to erase a $6.2 billion budget deficit.
Gov. Dayton also appointed DFL Rep. Tony Sertich to run Iron Range Resources. Sertich's appointment, first reported by the Mesabi Daily News, is the first sitting lawmaker tapped by Dayton to run a state agency. The appointment means Dayton will have to call a special election to determine Sertich's replacement in the Legisalture. I'm told the tentative plan is to hold the primary on February 1st and the general Election on February 15th.
Minnesota's K12 schools earn mediocre marks. Expect that to be discussed at a House Education Committee hearing this morning that will focus on alternative teacher licensure.
A House Committee will meet today to discus a bill that would lift the moratorium on new nuclear power plant construction in the state.
House and Senate Republicans unveil a plan that they say will encourage job growth.
Gov. Dayton heads to northwestern Minnesota today to meet with "local businesses, county commissioners, and other local officials to discuss jobs, economic development and DNR-related issues."
Gov. Dayton wants to meet with the Legislature and security personnel to discuss security at the State Capitol.
DFL Rep. Rick Hansen says he's being pushed off of the Legacy Council.
Bond refinancing saved MnDOT $115 million through 2013.
A judge ordered the suspect in the Arizona shootings to be held without bail.
President Obama will travel to Arizona this week.
DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar and DFL Rep. Betty McCollum held public events on Monday.
DFL Rep. Tim Walz says he's shaken by the attack on his friend.
GOP Rep. John Kline and GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann also responded to the shooting.
Pawlenty for Prez Watch
Tim Pawlenty's book is officially released today.
He appears on "The View" today.
Pawlenty also told the New York Times that Sarah Palin's decision to use crosshairs to target Congressional Democrats is "not a device I would have used."
He also talked with NPR this morning.
He told the St. Petersburg Times that he's seriously considering a run for president.
Pawlenty will also have pizza with the College Republicans at George Washington University.
A new poll shows Pawlenty and Bachmann polling in single digits in Iowa.
Bachmann for Prez Watch
GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann's PAC gave more money to Iowa candidates than any other state.
The latest economic update from Minnesota Management and Budget says the state of Wisconsin has not paid the state's final tax reciprocity payment to the state of Minnesota. The update says Minnesota is waiting for $58 million from their neighbors to the east.
"Income tax reciprocity receipts were $58 million less than projected as Minnesota has yet to receive the final settle-up payment from the state of Wisconsin following the termination of the agreement that simplified filing for taxpayers who live in one state and work in another," the report said.
A spokesman with Minnesota Management and Budget says they have not had any formal communication with officials from Wisconsin. He referred calls to the Minnesota Department of Revenue, who are still checking into the issue.
For 40 years, Minnesota and Wisconsin allowed for reciprocity so people who live in one state but work in another didn't have to file tax returns in each state. Gov. Pawlenty ended the agreement in 2009 because he wanted Wisconsin to speed up payments to Minnesota. He was banking on the funds to help balance the state's budget. His decision to end the reciprocity agreement meant Minnesota was set to gain as much as $131 million from Wisconsin in the current budget cycle.
I contacted the state of Wisconsin's Revenue Department to see why the payment hasn't been made. An official there sent this written statement from Richard Chandler, the Wisconsin Secretary of Revenue:
"Minnesota unilaterally ended the tax reciprocity agreement with Wisconsin 15 months ago, which appears to have led to a communications breakdown between past administrations. Our new administration, under Governor Walker's leadership, is dedicated to working in good faith with our Minnesota partners, and that includes reviewing how to best meet previous payment agreements. We look forward to working with Minnesota to fix the broken agreement so taxpayers from both states can more easily file future tax returns."
A spokeswoman for Chandler says Chandler will review the payment agreement to "determine if a payment is due and the amount." She added that Chandler and WI Gov. Scott Walker want to "fix the agreement."
One issue that could be complicating matters is an issue that Minnesota policy makers are all too familiar with: Cash flow. Wisconsin's Department of Administration released a report in late December saying Wisconsin could face severe cash flow problems in January.
No word on if or when the payment will be made.