Posted at 6:24 AM on April 19, 2011
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: Daily Digest
Let the politicking begin. State lawmakers are back in their legislative districts today for the Easter/Passover break. They'll likely gather some citizen input and also rely on caucus talking points to make their case on the state's budget.
Gov. Dayton also has a heavy dose of public events this week. He'll be on MPR's Morning Edition later this morning. He'll also hold a round table for senior citizens this afternoon in St. Paul.
GOP legislative leaders will fly around the state on Wednesday.
MPR says the fate of the legislative session could depend on the first-term members who rode the GOP wave to office.
The University of Minnesota sent out an action alert to supporters warning of the GOP budget cuts.
Dayton also has a private meeting today with Delta Airlines CEO Richard Anderson.
GOP Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch and DFL Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk were on MPR's Midday on Monday. Listen to the show here.
A committee in the Minnesota House approved a bill that would require people to show a photo id to vote.
A Minnesota bill would eliminate public employees' union dues from going to support political activity, foundations and magazines unless employees ask to contribute to those items.
St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman says the federal government will sign the full funding grant agreement for Central Corridor.
The Star Tribune says there is a bipartisan effort to bar high school dropouts from getting a driver's license.
DFL Rep. Michael Paymar wants to ban guns at the State Capitol.
Minnesota DNR tells hunters and anglers that they need more money.
Outdoor groups are supportive of higher DNR fees.
DFL Sen. David Tomassoni wants to lengthen legislators' terms.
The credit rating agency, Standard and Poors, warned the U.S. government about its debt load. Stocks tumbled as a result of the news.
Once unstoppable, farm subsidies appear to be on the chopping block.
President Obama says he'll ignore language that would ban several White House advisory posts.
Obama hits the road today to spread his economic message.
President Obama and is wife earned $1.7 million in 2010 and paid $453,770 in taxes.
The U.S. Supreme Court declines to take a fast track on a challenge to the federal health care law.
BP is looking strong one year after the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
A Pentagon probe found that Stanley McChrystal did not violate Defense Department standards.
DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar wants to beef up cloud computing protections.
An anti-war group protests GOP Rep. Chip Cravaack's voting record on military spending.
Race for the U.S. Senate
DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar ended the 1st Quarter with $2.5 million in the bank and no Republican opponent.
Race for President
President Obama's approval rating is down in the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll but he still leads his GOP rivals.
The economy is the main reason Obama's disapproval ratings are at fifty percent.
GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann hit two key presidential primary states. She was in South Carolina attending a tax day rally in the morning. She also met privately with Tea Party conservatives in New Hampshire.
Bachmann told CNN that she's unlikely to participate in the May 5th debate.
AP says Bachmann is in the early stages of writing a book.
CBS News says Bachmann's event drew a small crowd.
Sarah Palin released a new website for her PAC.
Politico points out that Tim Pawlenty shifted his stance on the budget agreement.
USA Today says Pawlenty apologized for his cap and trade vote last month.
The Fix says Pawlenty and other 2012 contenders are triangulating with Congress.
The National Review says Pawlenty's overtures to Tea Party members aren't breaking through - yet.
Pawlenty also hired two consultants in Iowa.
A South Carolina political expert says Pawlenty could catch on in South Carolina.
There won't be a Digest for the rest of the week. We'll still be posting on the blog but won't be getting up early to do it. Happy Passover and Happy Easter.
The Washington Post/ABC News poll shows President Obama leading Tim Pawlenty and GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann in head to head match-ups.
Obama leads Pawlenty 53 percent to 38 percent.
Obama leads Bachmann 53 to 39 percent.
The poll also revealed that many Republican leaning voters are unsure of who they'd support for president in 2012. A third of those polled said they weren't sure who they'd back. Mitt Romney received 16 percent support. None of the other candidates broke double digits. Twelve percent said they wouldn't support any of the 15 candidates listed. Pawlenty and Bachmann both received one percent support.
While the poll shows Obama leading the field, it also shows that the American public is not happy with how he's handling the economy. 50 percent of those disapprove of how Obama is handling his job as president. 57 disapprove of how he's handling the economy. 45 percent of those polled also say they definitely will not vote for Obama for a second term.
You can read the full poll here.
Gov. Dayton appeared on MPR's Morning Edition this morning. He had a ten minute interview with Morning Edition host Cathy Wurzer.
Dayton, who is locked in a budget disagreement with GOP legislative leaders, continued to criticize Republicans for putting forward a budget plan that doesn't balance. He says lawmakers have presented a plan that relies on money that may never materialize like a health care waiver. He said they haven't provided an "honest accounting" in their budget.
"They said all along they can balance the budget with cuts," Dayton said. "So let's see it."
Dayton is proposing an income tax hike on Minnesota's top earners to erase a $5 billion projected budget deficit. Republicans argue a tax hike is not needed.
Gov. Dayton also suggested that he'd "look at" a bill that would require people to show a photo id to vote. But he said he will only sign an election bill if it includes his plan to require politicians, political committees and other groups to file quarterly campaign finance reports.
"Any election reform has to have quarterly reporting of fundraising provision," he said.
Dayton has expressed concern about the photo id bill in the past.
Dayton also said he's meeting with Delta CEO Richard Anderson today to see Delta's plans for the company's Minnesota employees and MSP Airport.
You can listen to the full interview here:
The latest Public Policy Polling poll of Iowa Republicans shows GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann and former Gov. Tim Pawlenty need to make up some ground if they hope to have a favorable showing at the Iowa caucuses.
The poll found that Mike Huckabee, who won the 2008 Iowa Caucuses, is leading the 2012 field. He's followed by Mitt Romney, Donald Trump, Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin.
Bachmann and Ron Paul both received support from six percent of those polled. Pawlenty received support from five percent.
One interesting note: Pawlenty appears to be sucking up some of Donald Trump's support. Pawlenty's support picked up two percentage points when Trump's name was taken off of the poll. In fact, pollster Tom Jensen characterized Pawlenty as one of the "winners" in the poll because he picked up some ground from a January poll.
"If there's a 'winner' in this poll it's Tim Pawlenty who's up to 7% from 4%, suggesting that he's slowly gaining steam and if there's a 'loser' it's Sarah Palin, who's down to 12% from 15%."
Support for Bachmann jumps to its highest levels if Trump, Huckabee and Palin aren't in the race. 15 percent of those polled indicate they would support Bachmann if that were the case.
Side note: Nearly half (48%) of those polled in Iowa don't think President Obama was born in the United States.
Read an analysis of the poll here.
Read the poll here.(2 Comments)
In a sign that Democrats plan to make the 2012 election campaign about national issues, the Democratic Congressional Committee is running an ad campaign aimed at 25 potentially vulnerable House Republicans, including freshman Rep. Chip Cravaack.
The ads capitalize on the Republicans' vote for their party's budget road map, which includes a plan to transform Medicare into a voucher-based system.
Many outside observers, including the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, say that seniors' out of pocket expenses would rise if the plan were adopted.
Democrats have seized on the possibility that expenses will rise, claiming in the ads that, "Congressman Chip Cravaack voted to end Medicare forcing seniors to pay $12,500 for private health insurance, without guaranteed coverage."
The ads go on to say, "Tell Cravaack to keep his hands off our Medicare," a line highly reminiscent of Republican objections to President Obama's health care overhaul.
The DCCC would not disclose how much it was spending on the campaign, which includes radio and online ads and robo-calls, but said that the radio ads would air frequently during drive-time for the rest of this week.
Cravaack narrowly won his seat last November in one of the biggest upsets of the 2010 elections, defeating long-time DFL Rep. Jim Oberstar.
His 8th Congressional District has long been considered a DFL stronghold and will be a top priority for Democrats to recapture in 2012.
Last week, Cravaack's campaign reported that the Navy veteran and former airline pilot had raised $121,000 in the first three months of the year, a figure Politico dubbed, "less-than-impressive."
But despite Cravaack's possible vulnerability, no DFLers have yet announced plans to challenge him.
The outside group American Crossroads, which backs Republicans tells Politico the DCCC is spending only $160 for the radio ads against Cravaack.
The DCCC has not yet responded to a request for more information about its spending on the ad campaign.
National Republican Congressional Committee spokeswoman Joanna Burgos described the ad buy as, "shameless scare tactics," on the part of Democrats.
The fact-checkers at Polifact have weighed in and describe the Democrats' claim that Republicans plan to end Medicare is in the "pants on fire" category.
Polifact emphasizes that under the Republican plan, Medicare will continue as it has for those over 55 but goes on to say, "the Republican plan would be a huge change to the current program, and seniors would have to pay more for their health plans if it becomes law."(2 Comments)
Posted at 3:32 PM on April 19, 2011
by Mark Zdechlik
Filed under: Tim Pawlenty
The Associated Press in Iowa reports that Pawlenty 2012 exploratory committee staffer Benjamin Foster submitted his resignation over the weekend.
In early April Foster was arrested and charged with trespassing and public intoxication after allegedly trying to enter a home at 3 a.m. in Ankeny, IA. The Pawlenty campaign placed Foster on a two-week suspension. The AP quotes Pawlenty staffer Eric Woolson saying Foster offered to resign "recognizing the seriousness of the mistake."
Ankeny police say Foster was drunk and lost when he tried to enter a home there. His presence alarmed a teenage girl and her father, who held Foster at gunpoint until police arrived.
Online court records show Foster pleaded not guilty to the charges last week.
Gov. Dayton voluntarily released his income tax return today. He reported earning Dayton earned $671,724 in 2010 - most of it from selling stocks. His tax return shows Dayton paid $99,690 in federal taxes and $50,701 thousand in state taxes.
Dayton reported selling $407,000 worth of Target Corporation stock. Dayton is an heir to the Dayton Hudson Department Store chain that eventually became Target.
Target's executives contributed to Republican Tom Emmer, Dayton's chief opponent in the 2010 election. Target also gave money to MN Forward, an independent group that worked to defeat Dayton.
Dayton reported about $8,100 in contributions to charity including donations to Planned Parenthood, MinnPost, Page Academy and Esalen Institute.
Dayton spent $3.9 million of his own money to win the race for governor. Unlike when he was a U.S. Senator, Dayton has said he will collect a salary as governor.
UPDATE: Dayton's spokeswoman Katharine Tinucci made it clear that Dayton's sale of Target stock had nothing to do with Target's donation to MN Forward.
"He did not sell his stock for political reasons," said Tinucci. "He sold it for money."
Here's the full return.
The conservative group, Minnesota Majority, announced today that it will start driving around a "Soup Truck" to point out what they argue will happen under Gov. Dayton's income tax hike on top earners.
The group says the truck will travel to several different Minnesota cities to highlight the tax plan.
"Governor Dayton may not comprehend the consequences of what he's proposing," said Minnesota Majority president Jeff Davis. "But the business community does. Higher taxes will mean fewer jobs."
Dayton's tax plan won't impact every Minnesota taxpayer. The Department of Revenue projects that five percent of the state's taxpayers will pay the higher rate. His plan will raise the state's top income tax rate from 7.85 percent to 10.95 percent. Single filers who make $85,000 a year or more after deductions would pay the higher tax. Couples who make $150,000 a year after deductions would also pay the higher tax.
It would make Minnesota's income tax rate the second highest in the country.
DFL Party Chair Ken Martin said Minnesota Majority should be looking at the budget cuts put forth by Republican lawmakers to see the real impact on lower income Minnesotans. He says only top earners will see an income tax hike.
"Frankly, it's a shock to find out that Republicans care about feeding people. The GOP is the party that proposed cutting Meals on Wheels, that wants to drive up property taxes and increase the squeeze on the middle class and small business owners working to feed their families. Given that Governor Dayton's plan would only raise taxes on the top 5% of income earners, the question is: Do you have to show your country club card to get served at their soup truck?(5 Comments)
All the gimmicks in the world aren't going to change the fact that the GOP proposal is unbalanced, dishonest and hurts middle class Minnesotans."