The Legislative Commission on Planning and Fiscal Policy holds a hearing today to focus on Gov. Dayton's budget. The group of mostly GOP lawmakers wants Gov. Dayton's commissioners to detail Dayton's proposed cuts and his tax plan. The big question is why lawmakers are holding the hearing now instead of during the legislative session.
The meeting comes at a time when the GOP is trying to sell a position that they have compromised by spending more in tax revenues than the current budget cycle. But as MPR points out, they aren't telling the entire story regarding the budget because they leave out the spending obligations paid for by the K12 shift and the federal stimulus.
The New York Times says tax collections aren't keeping with states' fiscal needs.
GOP Rep. Keith Downey faced down some of his critics at a town hall meeting on Wednesday night.
An ad war starts over the state budget. The Alliance for a Better Minnesota targets twelve state lawmakers who oppose Dayton's budget. A business backed group started running newspaper ads thanking lawmakers for not increasing spending.
Campaign Finance Board ruling
The Minnesota Campaign Finance Board fined an alleged felon who can't be found.
A Public Policy Polling survey finds that Minnesotans don't want Pawlenty or Bachmann to run for the White House, give Gov. Dayton a 51% approval rate, are narrowly opposed to a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, give GOP lawmakers a 58% disapproval rate, give DFL lawmakers a 45% disapproval rate and support Dayton's plan to tax top earners (63%).
The Vikings are still working with lawmakers on the stadium bill.
4-day school week
Another school district wants to go to a 4-day school week to save money.
Under the Dome
Attorney General Lori Swanson is aiming to end tiered rates at CenterPoint.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will be in Minnesota today.
Google says Chinese hackers targeted the e-mail accounts of senior U.S. officials.
House Republicans pressed President Obama on spending cuts and Medicare.
Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-NY, won't say whether a twitter photo is him.
Stocks dropped sharply after several reports disappointed investors.
Race for President
Mitt Romney officially enters the race today.
The New York Times says employment data may be the key to President Obama's job.
Sarah Palin is in New Hampshire today.
The Wall St. Journal takes a look at the budget problems Tim Pawlenty left the state of Minnesota.
The New York Times says Pawlenty is working to build a grass roots base in Iowa.
Tim Pawlenty and Michele Bachmann are scheduled to speak Friday at an event in Washington D.C.
Politico looks at the often cool relationship between Pawlenty and Bachmann.
Pawlenty campaigned in Council Bluffs, Iowa on Wednesday and continued to talk tough on the debt ceiling.
The PoliGraph says a DNC ad distorts Pawlenty's comments.
Pawlenty hired the niece of Ovid Lamontagne to be his office manager in New Hampshire. Lamontagne is a conservative king maker in that state.
Time says several of the candidates, including Tim Pawlenty, have indicated support for a health insurance mandate.
The National Review says Pawlenty says he never supported it.
Bachmann is getting ready to run. Bachmann's Chief of Staff is leaving his position to accept a new position with her.(1 Comments)
GOP Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch says the decision on a government shutdown "lies with the governor."
Koch, R-Buffalo, spoke to MPR's Morning Edition. She said she's looking forward to the Legislative Commission on Planning and Fiscal Policy hearing today.
"It's a way for people to fully understand the various budget proposals," she said. "We're looking forward to talking about our budget proposal and vet the governor's budget proposal."
Koch said Republicans want the revenue and finance commissioners to detail Gov. Mark Dayton's budget and proposed tax increases. She said she's also interested in hearing about a proposal to increase taxes in a way that wouldn't hurt small businesses.
"We're not interested in tax increases but we do want to talk about that proposal," Koch said. "It gets tossed around and people can offer compromises all day, but we really need to fully understand them."
Koch again argued that the GOP budget is increasing spending, despite the fact that federal stimulus money and a K-12 accounting shift was used in the last budget. She responded to that question in the interview:
"They used one-time federal stimulus money and a one-time gimmick shift as ongoing funding. That's not our fault, that's not the governor's fault, that was decisions made by other Legislatures and other administrations. One-time money should not be used as ongoing funding. Even if you count that in as reality, we're spending about the same," Koch said.
When asked about a possible government shutdown, Koch said it would be up to Dayton, because the Legislature already passed a balanced budget that he vetoed. But Koch said a budget deal can be reached.
"There's absolutely time to finish this out," she said.
Posted at 9:19 AM on June 2, 2011
by Elizabeth Dunbar
Filed under: Redistricting
Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Lorie Gildea has appointed a panel of five judges to begin hearing challenges over the process to redraw congressional and legislative district boundaries using 2010 census data.
You can read the full story here.
The five-judge panel will draw the lines if DFL Gov. Mark Dayton and GOP legislative leaders can't reach an agreement on a plan by Feb. 21.
Gildea appointed Wilhelmina Wright as the presiding judge. Judges Ivy Bernhardson, James Florey, Edward Lynch and John Rodenberg were also named to the panel.
The group was appointed by several former governors. Here are the judges on the panel and which governor appointed them.
Wilhelmina Wright was appointed by Gov. Jesse Ventura (Independence Party)
Ivy Bernhardson was appointed by Gov. Tim Pawlenty (Republican)
James Florey was appointed by Gov. Arne Carlson (Republican)
Edward Lynch was appointed by Gov. Rudy Perpich (DFL)
John Rodenberg was appointed by Gov. Ventura (IP)
Posted at 9:31 AM on June 2, 2011
by Elizabeth Dunbar
Filed under: MN Legislature
The chairman of Minnesota's Independence Party says the party opposes a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage in the state.
The Legislature passed the measure on May 21, and it will be on the ballot for the 2012 election. It asks voters if marriage should be defined as only between one man and one woman.
In a statement, Independence Party Chairman Mark Jenkins said the amendment goes against the party's platform, which declares that it opposes "having the government impose state-sponsored morality or values on people of good conscience with differing views."
Jenkins also asked fellow members of the party and all Minnesotans to "work to defeat" the constitutional amendment.
The full statement is on the party's website.
DFL Gov. Mark Dayton says he'd like to hire an outside mediator to help bridge his differences with Republican lawmakers over the state budget. Dayton made the suggestion today during a news conference. He said he's at an impasse with the GOP-controlled Legislature over the best way to erase a $5 billion projected budget deficit. He said Republicans refuse to budge on their opposition to raising taxes and characterized the current state of budget talks as nonproductive.
"And it's not going to lead us to the resolution we need before July 1," Dayton said. "So to get somebody who has the expertise and can set parameters and help define a process that will define a process that will lead to a successful resolution is in the best interest of all Minnesotans."
The governor made the announcement several hours before a scheduled hearing on his budget by a legislative commission of mostly GOP lawmakers. Dayton said he would not allow his commissioners to participate in a hearing by the Legislative Commission on Planning and Fiscal Policy. The panel, made up of mostly Republican lawmakers, aimed to discuss Dayton's budget proposal. Dayton said he would not allow his commissioners to "be berated" in a hearing that he characterized as a "political stunt."
"It's political grand standing kind of theater to distract people away from that they're unwilling to compromise," Dayton said. "The fact [is] that their budget will have drastic effects on the lives of Minnesotans."
GOP House Speaker Kurt Zellers says the hearing was meant to discuss the details of Dayton's budget plan. Zellers also ruled out Dayton's offer to bring in a mediator.
"We were elected to lead," Zellers said. "Last fall, when folks voted for not only Gov. Dayton but voted for each and every one of us in our legislative district, we were expected to come down here and do our job. It is tough work. It's not easy. If we all had to pick when we would take over as governor or speaker or majority leader, this budgetary crisis is not the time that we would all pick."
GOP lawmakers have not offered an alternative to the budget proposal Dayton vetoed last week. Zellers says he and other GOP legislative leaders don't support Dayton's proposal to raise income taxes on Minnesota's top earners and want to erase the $5 billion projected budget deficit through spending cuts alone.
Dayton wants to raise income taxes on Minnesota's top earners to help erase part of the state's $5 billion projected budget deficit.
Dayton and lawmakers have to pass a state budget before July 1 or state government will shut down.
DAYTON'S Q&A SESSION:
Public Policy Polling says its latest survey of likely Republican primary voters shows former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty has nearly three times as much support among "usual" Republican primary voters as he did just two weeks ago, prior to formally launching his presidential campaign. Pawlenty garnered 13 percent of the support, behind former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin who are tied at 16 percent. Rep. Michele Bachmann got 9 percent.
Two weeks ago, Public Policy Polling had Pawlenty polling at just 5 percent.
If Palin were out of the mix, Bachmann would tie Pawlenty at 13 percent according to the poll. In that scenario, Romney would have the lead with 20 percent.
PPP says it surveyed 574 "usual Republican primary voters nationwide" from May 23rd through May 25. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.
GOP legislative leaders say they are ruling out Gov. Mark Dayton's suggestion that they bring in an outside mediator to help bridge the divide on the state's budget.
Dayton made the proposal earlier today. GOP House Speaker Kurt Zellers says Dayton and lawmakers were "elected to lead."
Dayton and lawmakers are at odds over the best way to craft a two year budget that erases a $5 billion budget deficit. Dayton wants to raise income taxes on Minnesota's top earners to erase part of the deficit. GOP legislative leaders say they can erase the budget deficit through spending cuts.
Dayton says he's waiting for Republicans to make a counter proposal to his plan to raise $1.8 billion in taxes. Republicans say they want Dayton to provide greater specifics on where he would make $1.8 billion in spending reductions.
Dayton and GOP legislative leaders are scheduled to meet privately tomorrow at 9 a.m. GOP Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch wouldn't say if they will make a budget offer to Dayton at tomorrow's meeting.
GOP Leaders take questions from reporters:(2 Comments)
A new poll shows U.S. Sen Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., continues to rank as one of the most popular Senators in the nation and is in good position for a re-election bid in 2012.
Public Policy Polling released results today that found 61 percent of state voters approve of Klobuchar's job performance, while 28 percent disapprove. That's up slightly from a PPP poll last December that found a 59-29 spread.
The poll also found Klobuchar leading five potential Republican challengers in head-to-head matchups. She leads former Gov. Tim Pawlenty, 54-41; Rep. Michele Bachmann, 57-37; 2010 Attorney General nominee Chris Barden, 57-30; State Sen. Dave Thompson, 55-28; and the only announced candidate so far, former State Rep. Dan Severson, 56-28.
PPP surveyed 1,179 Minnesota voters through automated telephone interviews May 27-30. The margin of sampling error is +/-2.9%.(2 Comments)