It's Day 6 of the state government shutdown.
Gov. Dayton and GOP legislative leaders meet again today. They appear to be no closer to a budget deal after meeting for an hour yesterday.
Watch video of the newsers here.
Former Vice President Walter Mondale and former Gov. Arne Carlson are forming a commission to help bridge the divide over the budget.
Tidbit: Dayton is reaching out to moderate Democrats and Republicans with the hopes of finding some sort of compromise.
MPR lists some ideas of where new revenues may come from.
MPR takes a look at the impact of extending the K12 shift.
Here's Dayton's Tuesday morning interview with MPR's Morning Edition.
Tidbit: GOP House Speaker Kurt Zellers will be on MPR this morning in the 7am hour.
AFSCME and MAPE will hold a rally at the State Capitol today show "what's at stake with a cuts only budget." They will set up a mock "Downeyville" in response to GOP Rep. Keith Downey who has called to cut the state's workforce.
Minnesota Majority has financed billboards criticizing Dayton on the shutdown.
Tidbit: Minnesota Majority says Clear Channel declined to run the billboards.
Gov. Dayton requested an extension in some services in the shutdown. Those services include services for battered women, child care subsidies and programs helping the homeless and disabled.
Social services beg for funding at a government shutdown hearing.
Truckers want rest stops opened during the shutdown.
Vandals trash some of the state's parks.
Parks may be closed but tourism continues.
The MNGOP and the DFL are raising money off of the shutdown.
The Star Tribune reports that MNGOP Chair Tony Sutton will start taking a $100,000 annual salary.
Under the Dome
Gov. Dayton seeks tornado aid from the Small Business Administration.
Rep. Tara Mack, R-Apple Valley, had a baby girl last night.
The St. Paul City Council will vote on a resolution against an Arden Hills stadium.
President Obama warns against a short-term deal on the debt limit.
Obama is summoning Congressional leaders to the White House to discuss the deficit reduction talks.
The U.S. secretly held an alleged Somali terrorist on a Navy ship for two months before bringing him to New York to be indicted.
DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar hopes for an ethanol deal this week.
The Washington Post complains that DFL Sen. Al Franken isn't talking to that news outlet or other national news outlets. Franken continues to speak with local news outlets like MPR News and the Star Tribune.
GOP Rep. John Kline says he has not heard a response from the Education Department regarding his waiver letter.
Tidbit: GOP Rep. Chip Cravaack's spokesman Shawn Ryan is leaving Cravaack's office. His last day is Monday.
Race for President
Unions are wedded to but still wary of President Obama.
Tim Pawlenty is scheduled to appear on NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday.
The Wall St. Journal profiles Pawlenty and points out this interesting tidbit:
Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty brings a biographical peculiarity to his quest for the White House. Were he to win, he'd be the first president who had never lived outside his home state.
Pawlenty hired Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Mike Huckabee's daughter to help Pawlenty win the Iowa caucuses.
While Pawlenty hired Huckabee's daughter, GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann hired many other members of Huckabee's team.
The WMUR-Granite State poll shows Bachmann in a distant second place to Mitt Romney in New Hamsphire. The pollster says Pawlenty has failed to "gain traction" and is polling at 3%.
The Washington Post profiles Bachmann and her husband Marcus. In particular, the Bachmann family's opposition to gay rights.
The Huffington Post says many of Pawlenty's colleagues don't recognize the man running for president.
(Note: The Washington Post, the Wall St. Journal and the Huffington Post stories are in-depth looks at Pawlenty and Bachmann. I learned something new about the candidates).(2 Comments)
The latest WMUR Granite State Poll shows 35 percent of likely Republican primary voters in New Hampshire say they would vote for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann holds a distant second place in the poll with 12 percent. But Bachmann is the only other candidate who registered support in the double digits.
Texas Rep. Ron Paul had 7 percent. Former Minn. Gov. Tim Pawlenty and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin had just 3 percent.
The 773 people were randomly selected for the poll and interviewed between June 21, and July 1, including 357 likely Republican primary voters and 263 likely Democratic primary voters. The margin of error for the poll's 2012 GOP questions is 5.2 percent.
Republican legislative leaders and Governor Mark Dayton are heading into their second day of budget talks since a partial state government shutdown. The two sides met yesterday without reporting any progress. House Speaker Kurt Zellers told MPR's Morning Edition today he expects talks will narrow to health care programs this afternoon.
"I think that will be a lot of the focus today," Zellers said. "Where our health care folks have been, what they have been able to accomplish you know in the last day or two here, and seeing if maybe that number that we were apart really wasn't as far apart as we though it was."
Zellers said one area that they can find cost savings is by asking the federal government for approval to change how the federal Medicaid program is run in the state. Dayton has said there's no guarantee the federal government will approve the request.
Zellers also renewed his call for Dayton to call lawmakers back into special session, something Dayton said he's not willing to do until a full budget deal is reached.
Dayton and the GOP controlled Legislature are at odds over the best way to erase a $5 billion budget deficit. Dayton wants to raise income taxes on top earners. Republicans say they don't want to spend any more money.
Zellers repeated his stance that the GOP budget offers from last week are now off the table because Gov. Dayton rejected them. Republicans suggested an additional K12 payment shift and borrowing against future tobacco payments to bring in more revenue. The governor said he would accept one of those options but not both because it won't fix the state's budget problems over the long-term.
Zellers said the K12 shift and the tobacco bonding is "not perfect" but said those options are better than Dayton's income tax increase.
"Rather than taxing a small businesswoman out of the state because she files her business and personal income together," Zellers said. "Raising those taxes with tough economic times and when our neighboring states and states all across the country aren't makes Minnesota uncompetitive,"
Zellers also didn't take an expansion of gambling off of the table. But he said some of the problems with gambling is that local officials in Minneapolis and Bloomington aren't interested in a casino in their cities.
"That would be one option, yes" Zellers said of expanding gambling. "I'm not opposed to that. If it's not something the governor is going to sign, I don't think we should put the taxpayers or the legislators through the exercise."
Dayton has said he's open to an expansion gambling but questioned whether the revenues generated from a casino or a slot machines at the state's horse tracks would generate significant revenue.
Zellers also reiterated that GOP legislators are comfortable with their $34 billion budget. The key question is whether they can find a proposal that meets Dayton's demands for more revenue.
Here's the full interview: Listen
A coalition of labor and environmental groups is calling on Governor Mark Dayton and Republican legislative leaders to end the six-day-old government shutdown with a budget deal that creates new jobs.
Members of the Blue Green Alliance said the mass layoff of public employees, as well as the idling of thousands of construction workers, is hurting Minnesota. Bob Struve of the American Council of Engineering Companies said the 150 companies he represents in Minnesota could lose 1,000 jobs in a prolonged shutdown.
"Construction is a seasonal business, and the damage caused by a long shutdown means that jobs, projects will be moved to 2012 and possibly even cancelled," Struve said. "The damage to our firms could be very, very significant."
As members called for an end to the shutdown, they renewed their call for Dayton and GOP legislative leaders to pass a bonding bill.
Dayton proposed a $1 billion bonding bill early in the session, but GOP leaders never supported it. Still, Harry Melander of the Minnesota State Building and Construction Trades Council said he thinks a bonding bill could be part of a final budget agreement.
"We continue to be optimistic that the Legislature will do what's right for Minnesota," Melander said. "And try to put tens of thousands of construction workers back to work and provide needed infrastructure repairs that need to happen to make Minnesota the state that it is."
Neither Dayton or GOP legislative leaders have discussed a bonding bill in the final days of budget negotiations.
WASHINGTON - A new poll shows GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann drawing 18 percent support in New Hampshire in the Republican presidential primary race, only seven points behind Mitt Romney, who has consistently led polls in the Granite State and owns a home there.
The PPP poll has Bachmann gaining 14 percent support since the company's last New Hampshire poll in April. Meanwhile, Romney's support dropped 12 percent.
PPP says Bachmann's support in New Hampshire, which is host to the nation's first presidential primary in 2012, comes from tea party supporters. The company says Bachmann's net favorability ratings are the strongest among the presidential contenders with 64 percent of respondents holding a favorable impression of the 6th District Congresswoman compared to just 24 percent holding an unfavorable impression.
Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty remains toward the back of the pack of contenders with 6 percent support, tied with Jon Huntsman, who only recently announced his campaign, and two points ahead of Newt Gingrich, whose campaign staff resigned en masse last month.
Bachmann has appeared to be concentrating her resources on winning two other early voting states, Iowa and South Carolina, where social conservatives hold more sway, rather than New Hampshire, which has a strong libertarian and fiscally conservative bent.
PPP surveyed 341 New Hampshire Republicans who say they'll vote in the primaries. It conducted the poll between June 30th and July 5th (with a break on the 3rd and 4th of July). The poll's margin of error is +/- 5.3 percent. The full results and methodology are available here.(9 Comments)
Posted at 3:46 PM on July 6, 2011
by Brett Neely
Filed under: U.S. House
WASHINGTON - This week, most of the Washington media are watching negotiations between Democrats and Republicans on raising the nation's debt ceiling, but the House of Representatives is working on a big piece of legislation too, the massive $649 billion Defense Appropriations Act.
Following in the footsteps of earlier attempts to end military sponsorship for NASCAR teams, DFL Rep. Betty McCollum plans to offer an amendment limiting such support for NASCAR and other motor sports to $20 million a year. According to data collected by McCollum's office, military sponsorship of motor sports costs taxpayers nearly $100 million a year.
McCollum's office received death threats from irate NASCAR fans when she proposed a similar amendment in February. The congresswoman's staff told MPR News that there's no evidence the sponsorship has helped the military recruit new soldiers, the programs' intended purpose.
Another McCollum amendment would cut off funds to the $150 million Task Force for Business and Stability Operations in Afghanistan, which is run from the Secretary of Defense's office. The program's website says it focuses on "operations aimed at creating economic opportunities for the people of Afghanistan" by connecting American investors with Afghan businesses.
McCollum argues that programs like these are better operated by the State Department and US Agency for International Development, although both departments are likely to face deep cuts from Republican appropriators. One company participating in the task force highlighted by McCollum's staff is the fashion firm Kate Spade, which hired an American who traveled to Afganistan to locate sources of cashmere.
The House is likely to debate the bill for the remainder of the week, with an open amendment process that's likely to mean long hours for lawmakers and possibly rowdy debate. It's not clear what chances of success McCollum's amendments have as some southern Democrats have expressed discomfort with past attempts to cut NASCAR sponsorship and the Pentagon has requested funds for the Afghan business fund next year.
Gov. Dayton tells reporters about his latest budget offer:
GOP legislative leaders react to Dayton's proposal:
Gov. Dayton is revising his tax proposal with the hopes of convincing Republicans to accept some sort of revenue increase. Dayton has presented GOP legisaltive leaders with two offers. The first would create an temporary income tax increase on people making more than $1 million. It would also increase surcharges on hospitals and health plans and delay payments to schools.
The second option would raise cigarette taxes by $1 a pack, increase the health care surcharge and delay payments to schools.
Dayton said he was revising his budget plan with the hopes of convincing Republicans to accept some sort of revenue. Republicans quickly rejected the plan which prompted Dayton to say Republicans don't support any proposal that increases revenue.
"If this is a step back, it's their step back," Dayton said.
GOP legislative leaders renewed their call for Dayton to call lawmakers back into a special session so they can pass a bill that would continue funding.
GOP House Speaker Kurt Zellers says the offer is a step backwards. He says Republicans campaigned on holding the line on taxes and spending.
"If that's what we campaigned on and that's what we were elected on, how do our members go back home and say we gave up all of our principles to the governor?" Zellers told reporters. "It's not about wins and losses. It's about keeping your word to the people who elected you."
The sides are at odds over the best way to erase a $5 billion projected budget deficit. Dayton says ongoing revenue has to be on the table. Republicans say they don't support any spending increases. The two sides are $1.4 billion apart on a two year budget.
Minnesota is in the sixth day of a state government shutdown.
Michael Brodkorb, spokesman for the Senate Republican Caucus and Deputy Chair of the Minnesota Republican Party, sent an e-mail to reporters pointing out that Dayton rejected a tobacco tax increase during the 2010 campaign for governor.
"You raise the price of a pack of cigarettes $1.50 as Mr. Horner proposed, that's money out of the pockets of working people and poorer people, and that means kids don't have as much to eat or don't have the same quality of food. Those are addictions, and I think you treat addictions as addictions and you don't penalize the people who are dealing with them economically." Source: Smart Politics
For his part, Dayton said there are few viable alternatives left that would raise the amount of money needed to close the gap between him and Republicans.
"After the income tax there aren't any good taxes in my view. But the only real sources of permanent revenue are property taxes, sales taxes and so-called sin taxes," Dayton told reporters.
Here's Dayton's letter:
Here's what Dayton says his $1.4 billion in added revenue will protect:9 Comments)