Posted at 6:48 AM on February 17, 2011
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: Daily Digest
Governor Mark Dayton and Republicans in the House and Senate have established their talking points regarding the budget.
"My budget proposal protects 95% of Minnesotans from paying a single dollar in higher taxes in the income tax or the property tax. Their proposal (GOP legislators) last week raised property taxes by $428 million on all Minnesotans so I guess my priority is to protect 95% of Minnesotans and their priority is to protect 5% of Minnesotans. I'd say I'm on the side of the people of Minnesota."
GOP legislative leaders (Through GOP Sen. Majority Leader Amy Koch):
"We believe it's a 20th Century budget for a 21st Century economy. It puts us a terrible disadvantage."
Dayton says critics of his plan should put together their own bill first. GOP legislators say the budget can be balanced by cuts alone.
The Minnesota House takes up a bill that would lift the moratorium on new nuclear plant construction in the state.
The Tax Committees in the Minnesota House and Senate started their scrutiny of Dayton's tax plan.
Union members rallied in favor of Dayton's budget.
Health care providers are stunned by Dayton's cuts.
Dayton explains why he changed his income tax hike from what he said during the campaign.
AP takes a look at the fees in Dayton's budget.
Commerce Secretary Gary Locke will be in Minnesota today. Dayton will appear with him near the lunch hour.
MnSCU students rally against tuition increases.
Thousands protest an anti-union bill in Wisconsin.
Union members in Minnesota booed the plan.
Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson, a Democrat, says she's not a fan of the individual mandate in the federal health care law.
DFL Rep.-elect Carly Melin visits the State Capitol. She says she expects to be sworn in early next week.
The House continues to take up its budget cutting bill.
Senate Democrats back President Obama's spending freeze.
GOP Rep. John Kline will meet with Obama on No Child Left Behind.
The New York Times says President Obama ordered a secret report in August that examined unrest in the Arab world.
Bill Burton is leaving the White House.
DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar will co-chair the Congressional farm co-op caucus.
DFL Rep. Betty McCollum says she'll fight any GOP cuts to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Full disclosure: MPR receives CPB money.
The MNGOP will host the Midwest Leadership Conference in October. It will include a presidential forum.
GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann is headed to New Hampshire on March 11th and 12th. One day after Tim Pawlenty will be in that state.
Bachmann appeared on Good Morning America this morning.
Pawlenty also criticized President Obama for a statement on Israel.
Posted at 10:17 AM on February 17, 2011
by Mark Zdechlik
Filed under: Tim Pawlenty
A staffer with Rep. Michele Bachmann confirmed to Minnesota Public Radio News this morning that the Minnesota Republican will take her message to New Hampshire on March 12th.
In a written statement Bachmann spokesman Andy Parrish said Bachmann was looking forward to the trip.
"As a small business owner, former Federal Tax Attorney, and mother of five, she knows first hand what is at stake in the next election. She is committed to doing everything she can to repeal President Obama and replace him with a Constitutional Conservative."
It's not clear exactly what Bachmann will be doing and where she'll be appearing in New Hampshire next month.
A Pawlenty aid confirmed the former Minnesota Governor will visit the Granite State on March 10th. Pawlenty will speak at a "Granite Oath," gathering. "Granite Oath," is a conservative political action committee. Pawlenty was last in New Hampshire in January to sign copies of his book, Courage to Stand. Pawlenty also spoke at a forum in Bedford on his last trip there.
During his State of the State speech, Gov. Mark Dayton made some troubling observations about Minnesota's economy, including this one:
"Our employment growth averaged in the bottom 10 among the 50 states during the past decade," he said on Feb. 9, 2010.
While the state's job growth in the last decade has been lackluster, Minnesota's rank is difficult to pinpoint.
Dayton's facts come from a report by Minnesota2020, a left-leaning think tank that argues the state is in poor economic health. According to the report, Minnesota's employment growth rate rank sank from 26th in 2002 to 46th in 2007, but was on the uptick again toward the end of the last decade.
PoliGraph crunched the numbers, too, and found that between 2000 and 2010, Minnesota's rank hovered around 30th place - not in the bottom 10.
It appears the Minnesota2020 report used employment data from the Local Area Unemployment branch of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which can include those who are self-employed and farm workers. PoliGraph used employment data based on the number of payroll jobs in the country from the Current Employment Statistics branch of the BLS, which likely accounts for the different rankings.
But regardless of where Minnesota ranks, the data underscore Dayton's overall point: The state's unemployment growth has been less than impressive over the last decade, lagging behind other states and the national average.
The state experienced above average population growth throughout the 1990s, and that translated to more jobs. But in 2001, the country fell into a recession. Minnesota's job growth stalled around that time, and it hasn't been able to bounce back since.
The reasons are a bit mysterious, according to state economists. In part, Minnesota's job growth deteriorated along with national declines in manufacturing. Other industries, including financial services and the airline business, have suffered, and slow housing and construction industries may also have played a role. And it may be that some employers have been more productive with a smaller workforce.
All that said, employment growth is just one of many factors used to gauge a state's economic health. Indeed, the state's unemployment rate has consistently remained below the national average, Minnesotans make more income per capita than many other states, and Minnesota's employment ratio - meaning the percent of working age people that do have a job - ranks among the top 10 in the nation.
PoliGraph ranks this claim Inconclusive because Minnesota's employment growth ranks differently depending on the way you measure it. That said, Dayton's overall point is correct: Minnesota job expansion in recent years has been modest at best compared to other states.
Minnesota2020, On Our Way to Average: Ranking Minnesota's Economic Performance, by Jeff Van Wychen, January, 2010
Employment Growth Rankings: 2000-2010, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Non-Farm Employment, Seasonally Adjusted, created Feb. 11, 2011
Minnesota Management and Budget, Minnesota Economic Outlook, Nov. 2010
Minnesota Management and Budget, State Revenues on Forecast Since November, Jan. 2006
Minnesota Management and Budget, State Revenues on Forecast in February and March, April 1999
Management and Budget, November and December Revenues Less than Forecast, January 2001
Minnesota Management and Budget, Economic Outlook, Nov. 2008
The Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs, Economic Challenges Facing the Upper Midwest, March 2004, accessed Feb. 12, 2011
Minnesota's Economics and Demographics: Looking 2030 and Beyond, by Tom Stinson and Tom Gillaspy, July 2008
Minnesota State Demographic Center, The Long Run Has Become the Short Run: Budget Implications of Demographic Change, Feb. 3, 2011
The Bureau of Labor Statistics, Differences Between Data Series, accessed Feb. 16, 2011
Interview, Jeremy Drucker, spokesman, Gov. Mark Dayton, Feb. 9, 2011
Interview, Art Rolnick, former director of research, Minneapolis Federal Reserve; Senior Fellow, the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, Feb. 11, 2011
Interview, Tom Gillaspy, State Demographer, Feb. 14, 2011
Interview, Catherine Varner, Economist, Bureau of Labor Statistics
The Humphrey School
Congresswoman Michele Bachmann says she's going to speak at the 2011 Republican Leadership Conference and Reagan Centennial Celebration.
It's set for June 16-18 in New Orleans.
The announcement calls the gathering "the most prominent Republican event of the year."
Just last year it was merely the Southern Republican Leadership Conference. But this year organizers say, "we're inviting the whole country."
Well, most of them. The speaker list also includes Rand Paul, Marco Rubio and presidential contenders Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney as well as Donald Trump, who's floated a trial balloon on the idea.
No Tim Pawlenty yet, though.
The then-governor was scheduled to talk to the group last year. But he had a scheduling conflict with the return of troops from the Middle East. Presumably, he'll be free this year.
GOP Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch says a lobbyist for the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities has violated his code of ethics. Koch is asking the Minnesota Government Relations Council to investigate Flaherty and Hood's J.D. Burton for asking Redwood Falls city officials to "falsify information to members of the Legislature."
"At the State Capitol, we take people at their word and expect them to be honest with us, as we are with others," Koch wrote.
The complaint stems around an e-mail Burton sent to Redwood Falls Mayor Gary Revier that centered around cuts to Local Government Aid. In the Janury 25th e-mail, supplied to MPR News by Koch's office, Burton urged Revier to not tell lawmakers that they planned for cuts to the state program.
"Please do not tell him the cuts in (sic) OK because you planned for it, even if you did. This will only lead to another massive round of cuts later this session because legislators will believe the first round of cuts caused no harm, and therefore cities should do more to "feel the pain" or "live within their means."
Local Government Aid has already become a big issue in budget negotiations this year. Governor Dayton vetoed a bill that cut $1 billion in state spending because he said the cuts in LGA would force local governments to raise property taxes. Republicans who supported the bill argued that many local government officials already factored the cuts into their 2011 budgets. Burton says the e-mail wasn't meant to encourage city officials to mislead lawmakers but to tell them that the LGA cuts would have an impact on their bottom lines.
"The intent of my e-mail to our clients was to ask them to communicate to legislators their opposition to HF 130, which would negatively impact communities, regardless of whether their cities budgeted for them or not."
Alyssa Schlander, president of the Minnesota Government Relations Council, couldn't respond to Koch's complaint because she hasn't seen it yet. But she says the MGRC has an ethics committee that reviews complaints. But, Schlander says the group can't do much in terms of penalties.
"We don't have any ability to fine people." Schlander said. "Our sandbox is whether someone can be a part of the organization or not."
Governor Mark Dayton's office announced today that the federal government has given approval to expand Minnesota's Medicaid program.
"I thank Secretary Sebelius for expediting this approval," Governor Dayton said in a statement. "Because of her, 95,000 Minnesotans will receive better health care at less cost to our state."
Dayton signed an executive order in January that would expand the program to 83,000 people who are currently enrolled in General Assistance Medical Care or MinnesotaCare and another 12,000 who have no coverage at all.
The transition is expected to start on March 1st.