Minnesota Congresswomen and possible 2012 GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann has joined a growing list of Republicans who are backing away from questions about President Obama's citizenship. After an ABC News host presented Bachmann with a copy of Obama's birth certificate, Bachmann said the issue was settled.
"That is not the main issue facing the United States right now the main issue facing the United States is dealing with our debt and our deficit."
Businessman and reality television producer Donald Trump has been focusing on Obama's citizenship as he talks about running for president. When asked whether she takes Trump's candidacy seriously, Bachmann said:
"I think it's up to Donald Trump if he takes his candidacy seriously. Certainly he's had a good foothold with a lot of people in the United States and I think they're intrigued by him and what he has to say."(1 Comments)
During a recent House Tax Committee hearing, Rep. Steve Gottwalt, R-St. Cloud, made an oft-repeated claim about Gov. Mark Dayton's budget.
"The governor's proposal expands state government," he said on April 13, 2011. "It expands state government 22 percent."
Gottwalt isn't telling the whole story of the state's finances.
In the current biennium, the state expected to spend about $30.2 billion from the general fund, the state's primary pot of money. Dayton says he wants to spend about $37.3 billion in the upcoming biennium.
That's about a 23.5 percent increase in spending. So, on one hand, Gottwalt's claim is within range.
However, Gottwalt sidesteps two important facts: In the current biennium, Minnesota received $2.3 billion in federal stimulus money to stabilize the state's budget and help pay for Medicaid. And to balance the budget, the state agreed to put off paying schools an additional $1.9 billion. Despite the delay, the state has told schools to continue spending normally by tapping reserves or using credit.
According to the Minnesota House Fiscal Staff, those actions allowed the state to pay for about $4.2 billion more than the general fund would support in the current biennium, essentially bringing general fund spending to $34.4 billion.
Factor in federal dollars and the school payment shifts, and Dayton is proposing only an 8.4 percent spending increase.
In the current biennium, it looks like the state will spend about $30.2 billion. But that number is artificially low because of one-time federal stimulus dollars and a school payment shift.
As a result, Gottwalt's claim is misleading.
Minnesota House Fiscal Staff, General Fund Spending Increase: FY 2010-11 to FY 2010-13, March 2011
Minnesota Management and Budget, Gov. Mark Dayton's FY 2012-13 Biennial Budget, Feb. 12, 2011
Minnesota Management and Budget, General Fund: Fund Balance Analysis, Governor's Revised Recommendations, March 16, 2011
Minnesota Management and Budget, February 2011 Budget Forecast, accessed April 19, 2011
Interview, Rep. Steve Gottwalt, April 19, 2011
Interview, Bill Marx, Chief Fiscal Analysis, Minnesota House of Representatives, April 19, 2011
The Humphrey School
Posted at 4:55 PM on April 20, 2011
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: U.S. House
GOP Rep. John Kline will be holding a town hall forum next Wednesday morning in Red Wing.
The chair of the House Education and Workforce Committee will hold the event at 9:30 am at the Red Wing Public Library.
After security researchers revealed today that Apple's best-selling iPhone and iPad devices contain a hidden file that secretly records the location of its user, DFL Sen. Al Franken wrote a letter to Apple CEO Steve Jobs demanding an explanation.
"Anyone who gains access to this single file could likely determine the location of a user's home, the businesses he frequents, the doctors he visits, the schools his children attend, and the trips he has taken--over the past months or even a year."
He went on to ask that Apple provide information on how the location data is being collected and used and why consumers weren't told that their personal information was being collected.
As head of the newly-formed Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law, Franken is in a position to keep this issue alive, including calling public hearings, if he's not happy with Apple's response to the letter.
Coincidentally, Apple released its most recent quarterly results today. The company said it sold over 18 million iPhones and over four million iPads.
You can read the entire letter Franken wrote to Jobs here.(7 Comments)