The Senate HHS committee and the Senate Taxes Committee will continue taking up their respective budget bills today. The committee chairs hope to move the bills out of committee by he end of the day.
Committees in the House have all approved the respective budget bills and moved them on to the House Ways and Means Committee.
DFL House Minority Leader Paul Thissen and DFL Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk will be on MPR's Midmorning at 9am.
MPR finds that Republicans say they won't raise taxes but are raiding other dedicated funds to balance the state's budget.
Iron Rangers are crying foul that the GOP is taking money from the Doug Johnson fund to balance the budget.
Democrats mocked the GOP budget proposals by putting forward an amendment for the state to book $300 million in lottery winnings from this week's Mega Millions.
The House Health and Human Services budget bill was changed to include a rate cut to hospitals. The bill moved out of committee later in the day.
Dayton defended LGA and blasted the GOP budgets during a speech to city officials. Listen to his speech (and a GOP response) here.
A push for private prisons in the House Public Safety bill draws fire.
The Pi Press says the House Environment budget bill also added a provision that would require the state to sell walnut trees grown in two state parks for revenue.
Minnesota opens an Inter-Agency flood information center.
Dayton's new dog, Mingo, meets the press. Watch video of the poocher here.
NATO will take the lead on military operations in Libya.
The White House is defending its response to Libya.
DFL Rep. Keith Ellison says he supports the No-fly zone in Libya buts wants Congress to have a role in defining further action.
DFL Sen. Al Franken, DFL Reps. Betty McCollum and Keith Ellison and Health Commissioner Ed Ehlinger will hold a news conference this morning to celebrate the federal health care law.
Former Vice President Walter Mondale calls a push to exempt the St. Croix bridge from the U.S. Wild and Scenic Rivers Act a dangerous precedent. Gov. Dayton, DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar and GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann are pushing for the exemption.
Banks lean on the Federal Reserve and Congress to drop the debt card "swipe fee."
The Tea Party in Mankato is sending a message to DFL Rep. Tim Walz that it wants him to cut government.
McCollum's son was living in Japan when the earthquake hit.
Special Election SD66
Education Minnesota is backing DFL Rep. John Lesch in the special election.
Lesch, Democrat Mary Jo McGuire and Republican Greg Copeland have all either mailed or dropped off campaign literature in the district.
Race for President
An adviser to GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann says she's likely to enter the race.
Bachmann appeared on Fox News' "On the Record with Greta" last night. Watch the interview here.
Bachmann's Facebook Townhall was a flop.
Former MNGOP Chair (and former Bachmann Chief of Staff) Ron Carey says he's backing Pawlenty.
The Digest is taking a break next week. We'll fire it back up on April 5th.
Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., told Fox News Thursday evening her recent trips to early primary states are moving her a "step closer" to making a decision about running for president next year. Bachmann said she has not yet made up her mind but is giving the possibility of a White House bid, "serious consideration." Bachmann also talked about what her strengths would be as a candidate.
"I think what I bring to the table is the fact that I'm a fighter. I'm authentic. I'm the same person when I campaign as I am when I'm elected to public office," Bachmann said.
Bachmann also talked about foreign policy on Fox News, criticizing President Barack Obama for intervening in Libya without consulting Congress or the American people. Bachmann also accused the Obama administration of "incoherence" regarding its Libya policy.
The governor's office sent out a letter this morning from Metropolitan Council chairwoman Sue Haigh to the Republican chair of the House Transportation Policy and Finance Committee.
She's writing about HF 1140, the transportation budget bill, which the full House could vote on as early as Monday.
Here's the letter:
A new Gallup Poll of more than 1,000 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents has former governors Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney leading the pack of possible 2012 GOP presidential candidates. About 19 percent of those polled said they'd back Huckabee, which puts him slightly ahead of Romney who got 15 percent support. Just 5 percent of those polled said they've back Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty garnered just 3 percent.
The poll taken March 18-22nd also sought to determine what would happen if Huckabee chooses not to run. In that scenario, Romney got 19 percent support but was closely followed by Palin at 17 percent. In that no Huckabee scenario, Bachamnn still got 5 percent compared to Pawlenty's 3 percent.
Republican legislators are targeting local government aid as they attempt to erase the state's $5 billion deficit.
Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak defended the program on his blog, arguing against the contention that state aid is a handout.
"Minneapolis helps keep the state afloat," Rybak wrote. "This year alone, we will send $367.5 million more to the state in sales and property taxes than the state has promised us back in LGA."
Rybak's numbers are on point.
LGA is given to Minnesota communities that would have a hard time paying for services with property taxes alone. Both the House and Senate are debating bills that would cut LGA; the House bill would phase out aid for Minneapolis, St. Paul and Duluth.
Rybak lays out a lot of reasons why he thinks cutting LGA is a bad idea, pointing out that Minneapolis puts more in the state coffers than it takes out in state aid.
City budgeters estimate that the state will collect roughly $380 million in sales taxes and roughly $75 million in commercial property taxes from Minneapolis.
Minus the $87.5 million in LGA Minneapolis is slated to get in 2011, the city is expected to provide the state with $367.5 million this year.
For his first PoliGraph test, Rybak earns an Accurate.
The Mayor's Blog, Urgent: Need your help today to hold the line on property taxes, by Mayor R.T. Rybak, March 18, 2011
Minnesota State Legislature, House Research: The City LGA Program, by Pat Dalton, January 2009
Minnesota Public Radio News, Senate GOP bill slashes local government aid, by Tim Pugmire, March 23, 2011
The City of Minneapolis, 2011 Budget, accessed March 23, 2011
The Minnesota Department of Revenue, Minnesota Sales and Use Tax: Instruction Booklet, accessed March 23, 2011
Interview, John Stiles, spokesman, Mayor R.T. Rybak, March 22, 2011
The Humphrey School
Republican leaders in the Minnesota House and Senate say they will be ready to move quickly this session to provide state aid to communities hit by spring flooding.
The Legislature is scheduled to adjourn on May 23. Last fall, lawmakers met in a one-day special session to pass an $80 million disaster relief package for 30 counties. The need for relief could be significantly greater this spring. GOP House Speaker Kurt Zellers of Maple Grove says legislators will take care of whatever they need to.
"This is stuff that you have to take care of," Zellers said. "You have to to do it the right way. You have to be as quick and as efficient as possible for the people who are going through it. We have every faith in the world that whatever is needed, we'll work with the governor. It will be done quickly. It will be done professionally."
Republicans are also considering a small bonding proposal that would help with some long-range projects to control flooding in Minnesota communities.