Posted at 6:11 AM on May 25, 2011
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: Daily Digest
Gov. Dayton vetoed nine budget bills assuring a special session will be called to pass a two-year budget. Dayton also said there's a "strong likelihood" that a government shutdown will occur.
Read the veto letters here.
GOP lawmakers toured the state to discuss the budget impasse.
The state starts preparing for a shutdown today.
MPR's News Cut blog gives a glimpse of what a government shutdown would look like.
Politics in Minnesota takes a look at some of the major legislative initiatives that stalled out this year.
Dayton signed the Surly bill.
Minnesota students' math and reading scores show little improvement.
Anoka-Hennepin faces a lawsuit over harassment of gays.
Minneapolis is still gathering info on needs after the tornado.
Democrats join Republicans in criticizing President Obama's policy on Israel.
Israel's President Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to Congress and set a high bar for the resumption of peace talks.
Vice-President Joe Biden says increased revenue has to be a part of the deficit reduction plan.
A Democrat won a congressional seat in a conservative New York district.
The U.S. House has scheduled a vote on lifting the debt ceiling. Democrats say it's a political stunt.
Decorum broke down in a hearing on the Consumer Finance Agency.
The U.S. green lights the prosecution of John Edwards.
DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar questions AT&T over overbilling.
DFL Rep. Keith Ellison says he's planning a mini-filibuster over Medicare.
Race for President
President Obama's campaign is cultivating Clinton donors.
Sarah Palin appears to be ramping up a run for the White House. A feature length film that focuses on her years as Alaska's governor will be released in Iowa next month.
Tim Pawlenty speaks to the Cato Institute today. AP reminds voters that Pawlenty relied on one-time money, tax hikes and shifts to balance the state's budget.
The Club for Growth issued a white paper on Pawlenty that says 'We struggle to identify the real Tim Pawlenty." The group praised Pawlenty for holding the line on spending but warned he could be "susceptible to adopting "pragmatic" policies that grow government."
Pawlenty was in Florida on Tuesday to discuss "entitlement reform" but did not take a direct stand on Paul Ryan's proposal to change Medicare.
Jeb Bush, Florida's former governor, praised Pawlenty for "truth telling."
The Washington Post says Florida's primary is wide open for Pawlenty, Mitt Romney and Jon Hutsman.
Politico says Pawlenty is still being booked for paid speeches.
Pawlenty also repeated his call to end U.S. ethanol subsidies. The head of a renewable fuels group says Pawlenty should also give a speech in Houston, TX to discuss the phase out of oil subsidies.
Democrats are pointing out that Pawlenty and Romney opposed the auto bailouts.
Roll Call takes a look at who GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann is surrounding herself with.
The Alliance for a Better Minnesota, a coalition of unions, wealthy DFL donors and others, will start running between $500 thousand and $1 million worth of ads with the hopes of influencing the state's budget debate.
Denise Cardinal, executive director of The Alliance for a Better Minnesota, says the group will run TV, radio and online ads to urge Minnesota voters to contact their legislators and urge them to support Dayton's tax plan.
Cardinal also says they'll start running ads targeting key lawmakers next week but didn't release a list of those lawmakers
On Tuesday, Dayton vetoed nine budget bills sent to him by the GOP controlled Legislature. He will have to call lawmakers back into a special session to avoid a government shutdown on July 1. Dayton wants an income tax increase on Minnesota's top earners to erase part of the state's $5 billion budget deficit. Republicans say the budget deficit can be erased through spending cuts alone.
ABM is expected to announce greater details of the ad campaign at noon today.
Update: ABM says the ad is funded from state and national unions. The group has received funds from Dayton's two sons and his ex-wife during the 2010 election.
Here's the ad:
Update: The Taxpayers League of MN is raising money off of the ABM ad. Taxpayers League President Phil Krinkie sent out this fundraising e-mail to supporters:
Not even 48 hours after the 2011 session has adjourned the tax and spenders have announced they will spend between $500 thousand and $1 million to run TV, radio and online ads to urge Minnesota voters to contact their legislators and urge them to support Dayton's $1.8 billion tax increase. Click here to watch the first ad released today.
We need to counter this ad campaign with our message:
No New Taxes, No New Revenue!
We must support our Senators and Representatives who have said "No" to Dayton's job-killing tax increases. Legislators will soon be facing immense pressure to raise taxes, generated by $1 million worth of advertising paid for by tax-and-spend special interests.
DFL Gov. Mark Dayton on Wednesday called some Republican members of the Legislature "anti-government."
"They don't know what government does," Dayton told MPR's Morning Edition. "They don't view a shutdown as catastrophically as I do."
Dayton said he's asking his commissioners to identify critical services to protect in case he and Republican leaders are unable to reach agreement on a budget by July 1, the start of the next fiscal year.
Dayton said he's still pessimistic a deal can be reached, noting that Republicans have been "united and steadfast" against raising taxes. He said within both the House and Senate Republican caucuses are "right-wing sub-caucuses."
"They just won't budge," he said.
He said they are stuck on the overall size of the budget.
"$34 billion, then they prefer $32 billion, and then $31 billion. I mean, they don't even know what those numbers mean," Dayton said. "All they know is the number 31 is less than 32. And that makes it a good idea because they're just anti-government."
Though Dayton agreed a temporary government shutdown would be a "terrible catastrophe," he said agreeing to the budget plan the Republican-controlled Legislature approved would be even worse.
When asked if Dayton has tried reaching out to Republican members who might be willing to break ranks on a budget, Dayton said he hasn't started that process yet.
"We can't pass anything without Republican votes, so somebody's going to have to exercise a profile in courage and do what's right for Minnesota," he said.
Note: MPR host Cathy Wurzer mentioned during the interview that a partial state government shutdown occurred under Jesse Ventura's time as governor. The shutdown occurred in 2005 under then Gov. Tim Pawlenty.
(MPR reporter Matt Sepic contributed to this report.)
If you've never seen former Gov. Tim Pawlenty wearing a Boy Scout uniform, or sending supporters wearing Viking hats chasing after President Obama, then you have to see this video from Taiwan's NMA animated "news agency":
If you want to learn more about the company that creates these surreal videos, check out this great article from Wired last year.
Governor Mark Dayton says he's taking symbolic action to veto a ballot question that would define marriage as between one man and one woman in the state constitution.
Dayton called the measure mean spirited, divisive and un-American.
"Although I do not have the power to prevent this divisive and destructive constitutional amendment from appearing on the Minnesota ballot in November 2012, the Legislature sent it to me in the form of a bill," Dayton said. "Thus, symbolic as it may be, I am exercising my legal responsibility to either sign it or veto it. Without question, I am vetoing it."
The measure will go on the ballot anyway, and the question does not require an override vote to stay alive. Dayton said he would actively campaign against the matter in the run-up to the 2012 election.
Here's Dayton's veto letter:
GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann wants to raise $240 thousand dollars over the next 24 hours. In a fundraising e-mail, Bachmann is raising the funds off of a call to make President Obama a "one-term president."
"Americans around the country are struggling to make ends meet, and looking towards our government to provide answers and a path towards recovery. It is clear these answers and solutions will not be provided under the Obama Administration. Barack Obama's failed policies have led our nation down a path of economic downfall and despair. We cannot afford another four years of an Obama White House."
Bachmann, who is mulling a run for the White House in 2012, is aiming to highlight her fundraising prowess one day before she delivers a major speech in Iowa. Bachmann has said that she intends to announce her intentions in June but she hinted at a run during a video message that accompanied her fundraising e-mail.
"As many of you know, my family and I are prayerfully considering what the next eighteen months or so may bring," Bachmann said on the video.
Bachmann has visited several key presidential states. She's been to Iowa, South Carolina and New Hampshire over the past four months.
Duluth City Councilman Jeff Anderson announced this morning that he's running for Congress in Minnesota's 8th Congressional District.
"I see the next generation of Northern Minnesota prosperity on the horizon, That prosperity includes our children attending the best schools, growing jobs in an increasingly diversified economy, and making sure our senior citizens have the care and help they need to live in dignity," Anderson said in a news release.
Anderson was born and raised in Ely, MN and now serves as a small business owner and radio sales executive in Duluth. He was first elected to the Duluth City Council in 2007.
Anderson is the second Democrat to formally announce a run for Congress in Minnesota's 8th District. Former DFL state Sen. Tarryl Clark announced that she was buying a condo in Duluth and hoped to run for the seat. Clark represented St. Cloud in the Minnesota Senate.
Both candidates are hoping to challenge first-term Republican Congressman Chip Cravaack in 2012.
One unanswered question is whether Cravaack will continue to represent Duluth. It's a redistricting year and the courts are likely to decide the new boundaries of his district. The GOP-backed redistricting bill vetoed this week by Gov. Mark Dayton would have put him in a district that didn't include Duluth and the Iron Range.
Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain will be making a campaign stop in Minnesota in June.
Cain, the former CEO of Godfather's Pizza, announced on Twitter today that he'll be attending the RightOnline 2011 Convention in Minneapolis on June 18. The conference is scheduled to be held on June 17th and 18th and aims to bring together conservative bloggers, conservative organizations and citizen actviists for grassroots training.
The conference is organized by the Americans for Prosperity Foundation, a group that works to advance Republican issues. The group is funded by David Koch of the Koch Industries (You can read more about the group at FactCheck.org's site).
Cain isn't the only candidate for the White House who is scheduled to speak at the event. Tim Pawlenty is scheduled to speak. GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann, who is considering a run, is also scheduled to speak at the event.
And the RightOnline 2011 Convention isn't the only political event being held in Minneapolis that weekend.
The Democratic leaning Netroots Nation will be holding its annual conference in Minneapolis between June 16 and June 19.
DFL Sen. Al Franken, DFL Rep. Keith Ellison, DFL Rep. Tim Walz and former Sen. Russ Feingold, D-WI are some of the people who will be speak at the Netroots Nation event.
Netroots nation was originally organized by the writers of The Daily Kos.
There's a cardinal rule of presidential primary politics: don't knock ethanol in corn-state Iowa.
But that didn't stop former Gov. Tim Pawlenty from telling an audience there he'd phase-out ethanol subsidies if elected president.
"Even in Minnesota, when we faced fiscal challenges, we reduced ethanol subsidies," he said during his announcement Monday that he's running for president. "That's where we are now in Washington, but on a much, much larger scale."
Pawlenty cut state ethanol subsidies - but he left out that he also promised to pay them back later.
Minnesota ethanol producers have been enjoying subsidies since 1987. For a long time, they got 20 cents from the government for every gallon of fuel they produced. The subsidy was meant to jumpstart small, farmer-owned operations.
When Pawlenty took office in 2003, the state was facing a budget shortfall. Pawlenty cut $20 million in ethanol subsidies that year - roughly three-fourths of the $26.8 million in payments slated to go out - and followed-up with a plan to reduce the payments to 10 cents per gallon in the coming biennium.
Pawlenty's plan didn't fly with rural lawmakers. Ultimately, he and the Legislature agreed to draw down the subsidy to 13 cents per gallon through fiscal year 2007, and pay producers the difference later on. According to a Legislative Auditor's report, the state paid out $50.5 million in so-called deficiency payments during the last biennium.
Furthermore, the program was always slated to end in 2010, so the ethanol subsidies would have halted regardless of Pawlenty's actions (though deficiency payments are still trickling out.)
Though Pawlenty wanted to cut ethanol subsidies, he also pushed to expand the state's requirement that every gallon of gasoline be blended with 10 percent ethanol. In 2005, the state approved Pawlenty's plan to require gas be mixed with 20 percent ethanol by 2013, a government mandate that's bolstered the market for the corn-based fuel.
It is true Pawlenty cut Minnesota ethanol subsidies, but he glosses over the fact that ethanol producers eventually got their money anyway.
That's enough to make this claim misleading.
YouTube.com, Tim Pawlenty in Des Moines - 2012 Announcement Speech, May 23, 2011
Minnesota Public Radio News, Lawmakers resist Pawlenty's proposal to cut ethanol subsidies, January 16, 2003
Minnesota Public Radio News, Ethanol bill nears crucial test, by Laura McCallum, March 16, 2005
Minnesota Department of Energy, Gasoline Pricing Facts for Consumers, accessed May 25, 2011
Office of the Legislative Auditor, Biofuel Policies and Programs, April 2009
The Minneapolis Star Tribune, Cuts in the pipeline: Subsidies keep ethanol industry from fizzling, by Joy Powell, March 11, 2003
The St. Paul Pioneer Press, Session out but not over, by Patrick Sweeney and Bill Salisbury, May 20, 2003
Interview, Ralph Groschen, Senior Marketing Specialists, Minnesota Department of Agriculture, May 24, 2005
The Humphrey School
MPR News is hosting an online debate about ethanol. Find it here.(2 Comments)
WASHINGTON - Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty's kicked off his presidential campaign by traveling to Iowa on Monday to tell farmers that he would end ethanol subsidies. On Tuesday, he went to Florida to tell seniors he wasn't afraid to make changes to Social Security and Medicare.
That theme continued on Wednesday, when Pawlenty traveled to Washington, DC to announce that there should be fewer federal workers and that they should be paid less.
"We can't have federal employees getting a better deal than the people paying the bill - and that's the taxpayer," Pawlenty said.
Before a subdued crowd at the libertarian Cato Institute, Pawlenty cast his record as governor of Minnesota as one filled with the kind of "hard" decisions he would also make as president.
When pressed for specifics by both the audience and reporters about whether he supported House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan's (R-WI) plan to end the current Medicare single payer insurance system and replace it with vouchers for private medical insurance, Pawlenty demurred from answering the question directly.
"I think in general, the direction of it is positive, but I'm going to have my own plan, and so we're going to have some differences from his plan," Pawlenty said, promising to release more details soon.
Although Pawlenty pledged to rein in government spending, he also said the Pentagon should remain off limits to budget cuts, saying, "The rate of growth can be slowed down, but it shouldn't shrink in absolute terms."
When asked a question about foreign policy, Pawlenty jumped at the chance to say he had had "an unusual amount of international experience" for a former governor and then rattled off a long list of countries and regions he had traveled to.
In addition to the speech, Pawlenty also attended a fundraiser co-hosted by his two closest congressional allies, fellow Minnesota Republicans John Kline and Erik Paulsen.
Scheduling conflicts prevented both from attending but in an interview with MPR News earlier this week, Paulsen said many members of Congress were hoping to learn more about Pawlenty while he's in the capital.
"Right now as they're focused on Tim Pawlenty running for president officially," Paulsen said, "Now they're really paying attention and they want to meet him."
Pawlenty continues his campaign this week with stops in New Hampshire on Thursday and in New York on Friday, where he promised to tell Wall Street, "the carve-outs, the bail-outs, the subsidies, the handouts, are over for you as well."
Eight members of the Minnesota Senate said they're not happy that Gov. Dayton has called them "extremists." The group of lawmakers held a news conference today to react to comments Dayton made this week. They include GOP Sen. Michelle Benson (who was carrying her newborn), GOP Sen. Ben Kruse (who was clad in a baseball hat and jeans), GOP Sen. Roger Chamberlain (who rides his bike to work, has a truck that needs tires and tills his own garden) and Pam Wolf (a teacher). The group worked to highlight that they're mainstream Minnesotans who are aiming to improve Minnesota.
Governor Dayton blamed the current budget impasse on "extreme right-wing caucus members" who don't know how government works. Republican Senator Al DeKruif of Madison Lake says he and the other Republican members of the Legislature are not extreme.
"What we are trying to do is not be extremists in any way but actually common sense folks that come from the real world to help our government be what it should be, be everything it can be and should be. Live within our means and provide the services that we need to be providing."
Dayton and the GOP controlled Legislature are at odds over the best way to pass a two year state budget. Minnesota is facing a special session and possible government shutdown on July 1 because the two sides are at odds over taxes and spending.
Dayton is proposing to increase income taxes on Minnesota's top earners to erase a $5 billion projected budget deficit. Republicans say they won't budge off of a $34 billion budget. None of the first-term lawmakers said they would support more revenue to break the impasse.
This year's crop of Republican newcomers has considerable influence in both the House and Senate. They make up more than half of the Republican Majority in the Senate and nearly half in the House. That means freshman lawmakers will have a big say about whether GOP legislative leaders can cut a budget deal with Dayton in time to avoid a government shutdown on July 1.(6 Comments)
Posted at 8:00 PM on May 25, 2011
by Brett Neely
Filed under: U.S. House
WASHINGTON - The House is currently debating a very long series of amendments to the defense authorization bill and four of Minnesota's eight House members have amendments that will be debated on the floor.
Here are some of the highlights:
8th District Republican freshman Chip Cravaack continues his campaign to eliminate government funding for the U.S. Institute of Peace
St. Paul DFLer Betty McCollum continues her campaign against military bands. Her amendment would limit spending on professional musicians in the military to just $200 million a year, down from the current $320 million.
DFL Rep. Keith Ellison's amendment would require the Secretary of Defense to present new war plans for Afghanistan in light of the recent death of Osama bin Laden.