A measure that would amend the state's constitution to define marriage as between a man and woman gets a hearing in a Minnesota Senate committee today. Groups opposed to the effort are trying to urge GOP leaders that making the change would make Minnesota less "businesss friendly." The state's two largest business groups haven't taken a stand on the issue.
Tidbit: Target Corporation says it's monitoring the gay marriage issue at the State Legislature but have not taken a position on it.
A House committee hears a measure that would amend the constitution to require people to present photo identification to vote. On Thursday, the Senate passed a bill that would put the requirement in statute.
Republicans are also proposing a constitutional amendment that would require the Legislature to get at least 3/5ths vote in the Legislature to raise taxes.
The House Public Safety Committee approved a gun rights bill.
Gov. Dayton tells the Rochester Post-Bulletin that he's "less optimistic" about reaching a budget deal by deadline.
Tidbit: GOP lawmakers are also privately saying it's unlikely a budget deal will be reached by May 23rd.
The Pi Press says Gov. Dayton's office is seeking state efficiency.
Dayton also attended a "worker's memorial" service in Mankato.
Cargill, Target, General Mills and Medtronic are planning a multimillion dollar investment in Minneapolis schools.
Funding for a Vikings stadium could come from a tax on ALL sports merchandise. MPR says the Twins aren't so happy about that.
President Obama will visit Alabama today to inspect the wreckage caused by this week's tornadoes.
DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar says she's hopeful that a measure to raise the federal debt ceiling will be tied to a bill that reduces the deficit.
GOP Rep. John Kline says he wants a "greatly reduced federal footprint" for education.
Race for President
GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann and Tim Pawlenty will join Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Herman Cain for The Americans for Prosperity "Summit on Spending and Job Creation" event tonight.
Tim Pawlenty says via news release that he'll participate in next week's South Carolina debate.
The WMUR Granite State poll shows President Obama leading Tim Pawlenty in a head to head match-up in New Hampshire. Mitt Romney leads Obama in the same poll.
Rep. Paul Ryan, R-WI, says Pawlenty's plans to cut Medicare won't work. Ryan also praised Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels.
Pawlenty urges a "fair minded use" of ethanol.
The Star Tribune says Pawlenty and Bachmann are fishing for voters in different pools (for now).
Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty issued a statement early this morning confirming he will be at the first GOP 2012 presidential nomination debate next week in Greenville, S.C.
Pawlenty had been expected to attend along with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum and Herman Cain, former Godfather's Pizza CEO. It's unclear now whether Gingrich will attend.
And there has been no word from former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney or Minnesota Congresswomen Michele Bachmann, who is considering a run for president.
In making it official he'll be there Pawlenty said, "it's important that Republicans show up now, talk about their records, and begin the debate on how best we can defeat this President."
Asked whether the statement is a jab at likely 2012 GOP contenders who will not be participating in the debate, a Pawlenty spokesman told MPR News, "The statement speaks for itself."
Before former Gov. Tim Pawlenty arrived in Boston, Mass., a few weeks ago to speak at a tea party rally, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak gave his take on the former governor's record.
"The facts are this: Under Tim Pawlenty, the average tax rates went up for the bottom 90 percent... of Minnesotans. The richest 10 percent had their average taxes go down," Rybak said during an April 14, 2010, conference call with Boston reporters. "So if the Tea Party wants to represent the top 10 percent of the country and raise 90 percent of the people's taxes, they'll love Tim Pawlenty."
There's truth to Rybak's claim, but he leaves out an important detail.
Rybak is talking about the effective tax rate, which is the ratio of taxes to income.
Generally speaking, he's correct. Between 2002, the year before Pawlenty took office, and 2008, the wealthiest Minnesotans - the top 10 percent - saw their effective state and local sales tax rate decline slightly. Meanwhile, lower earners generally saw their rates increase slightly.
And Pawlenty's policies played a role in that shift. For example, he supported cuts to Local Government Aid, which prompted some local governments to raise property taxes for many Minnesotans. That increase largely hit middle-and-lower income earners, according to the Minnesota Department of Revenue. A new cigarette fee backed by Pawlenty also changed effective tax rates.
But something else happened during Pawlenty's time in office: The richest Minnesotans got richer, in part due to unusually high capital gains income. So, while taxes may have increased for everyone in the state, in terms of percent of income, those changes were less dramatic for the state's wealthiest.
Rybak is correct that effective tax rates went up a bit for lower earners, and down slightly for higher earners. These changes have to do with how much money Minnesota's wealthiest made during Pawlenty's tenure, but they were also affected by changes in tax policy.
Though Rybak didn't provide all the details in his conference call, his claim is close enough to be accurate.
Minnesota Department of Revenue, 2011 Tax Incidence Study, March 2011
Interview, John Stiles, spokesman, R.T. Rybak, April 28, 2011
Interview, Aaron Twait, Research Director, Minnesota Taxpayers Association, April 28, 2011
Interview, Paul Wilson, Director of Tax Research, Minnesota Department of Revenue, April 29, 2011
The Humphrey School(6 Comments)