St. Paul - The Minnesota House and Senate are now grinding out the final pieces of a budget that will end a shutdown that is in its twentieth day. Both chambers are in breaking as lawmakers go through the K-12 budget bill and wait for the State Government Finance bill to be made public. Those are the last two pieces of the budget that have to be made public.
The House and Senate have passed eight budget and spending bills since Gov. Dayton called them into special session at 3pm. Debate on many of the bills has been brief. The most contentious arguments occurred when lawmakers discussed the Tax bill. Democrats complained that Republicans were relying on a "Beg, Borrow and Spend" plan to pay for the state's budget. The plan relies on spending cuts, a K-12 payment delay and borrowing against future tobacco payments to erase a $5 billion projected budget deficit. Governor Dayton accepted the GOP proposal last week as a way to end the state government shutdown.
Democrats in both the House and Senate criticized the financing.
"Governor Dayton reluctantly took your plan," Sen. Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, told Republicans. "He took your plan on tobacco bonds. He took your plan on borrowing from our kids. You win. You didn't have to tax those millionaires. You win and Minnesotans lose."
Republicans countered that they compromised with Dayton and worked to reduce spending in areas like Health and Human Services programs. GOP House Majority Leader Matt Dean criticized DFLers in the Minnesota House for not voting for a Tax bill that helps end the shutdown.
"Every red vote is a vote to continue the shutdown," Dean told the House Chamber. "We need to get Minnesota back to work. We need to stop pointing fingers."
Dayton said he intends to sign all of the budget bills at once. His spokesman said he'll likely take action on the bill midmorning. If, of course, the Legislature finishes its work by that time.
(Photo Credit: Nikki Tundel)
Posted at 5:03 AM on July 20, 2011
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: Daily Digest
Gov. Dayton is expected today to sign the 12 budget and spending bills that will end the state government shutdown. Dayton called a special session at 3pm Tuesday and lawmakers passed all of the bills in 13 hours.
Here's an FAQ on when state employees will return to work.
It could also take several weeks before services are operating at the level prior to the shutdown.
None of the bills were in doubt, except for the higher education budget bill in the Senate. The chair of the committee wasn't happy that a provision that banned human cloning wasn't included in the bill.
The bill cuts higher education funding by 10 percent.
Here's a look at the bonding bill.
The LGA payment will be a week late.
Gov. Dayton says he's not sure about calling a special session for the Vikings.
The House passed the GOP debt measure. President Obama praised a compromise plan being discussed in the Senate.
A House panel will hold hearings on Al Shabab recruiting. DFL Rep. Keith Ellison is mentioned.
Race for President
A reporter is accosted by Bachmann's security guards.
Bachmann reacts to the story on her migraines.
AP says the Iowa Straw poll means more to some than others. Tim Pawlenty is mentioned.
Gov. Dayton is expected to hold a signing ceremony this morning. He will sign the 12 budget and spending bills at the event, putting an end to a state government shutdown that is in its 20th day. Dayton will take the action after the Minnesota Legislature worked into the early morning hours to pass the bills. Dayton called a special session on Tuesday afternoon for them to start their work.
Democrats in both the House and Senate criticized the methods used to balance the state's budget. Dayton and GOP legislative leaders relied on a mix of spending cuts, an extended payment delay to K12 schools and borrowing against future tobacco payments to erase a $5 billion projected budget deficit. Rep. Jim Davnie, DFL-Minneapolis, said he wasn't happy the state was borrowing money to fix the state's budget deficit.
"This budget, this tax bill, mocks Minnesota," Davnie said. "It takes us to places we've never gone before because we knew they were the wrong places to go. To pay ten dollars for every seven dollars we borrow. It's irresponsible spending."
Republicans, who said the budget deal isn't perfect, are focusing on the methods used to rein in government spending.
"We're going to run on this budget," GOP Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch said. "We're going to talk about erasing a $5 billion forecast deficit without raising taxes. That's a big thing."
Koch said she's optimistic that Republican lawmakers will be able to pass other measures that change how government operates when they return for the 2012 legislative session.
But they still have at least one disagreement as they end the 2011 session and it's over the size of the state's two year budget..
Republicans say they stuck to their pledge to spend only $34 billion over the next two years. The Dayton Administration says the tally is $35.7 billion. The difference depends on how you account for the shifts and borrowing.(2 Comments)
Gov. Mark Dayton has signed budget bills ending the state government shutdown.
Dayton's signatures came after a special legislative session that ended early this morning. The governor said he doesn't like the way the new budget will be financed. It does not include the upper income tax increase he championed. But, Dayton said it ends the shutdown and puts state employees back to work:
"By statute, the actual flow of dollars does not begin until tomorrow morning, but the actual mechanisms of the agency heads and those who are already in the office to get things now back in gear, get the computer systems up and running and the like are underway," Dayton said.
State employees will be recalled beginning at 6 a.m. tomorrow. All state employees are being told to report to work at their normally scheduled time. When government shut down July 1st, 22,000 state workers were laid off and state parks and rest stops were closed.
Andrea Mokros, Gov. Dayton's Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications and Outreach,
says now that there's finally a budget deal she is leaving the governor's office.
Mokros said next week she will begin the transition to a new job at the White House as Director of Scheduling and Advance for the First Lady
"It's been a tremendous honor to work for Gov. Dayton, and to be a part of the first DFL Administration in a generation," Mokros said.
Her previous jobs include running her own company, Deputy Chief of Staff to U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar and as Communications Director to Senate Majority Leader John Hottinger.
WASHINGTON - Michele Bachmann's presidential campaign released a letter from the Attending Physician of Congress addressing her medical record of migraine headaches, saying she is "overall in good general health."
The Daily Caller and other outlets have reported that the Stillwater congresswoman suffers from "debilitating" headaches that have required hospitalization and could impair her ability to serve as President.
Bachmann responded yesterday, acknowledging that she suffers from headaches and saying they would not affect her ability to serve were she to win the Republican nomination and the presidency in 2012,
The letter, from Dr. Brian Monahan, says Bachmann's migraines "occur infrequently," that tests and brain scans were normal nor does she require daily medication to treat the condition.
In a veiled reference to Bachmann, former Gov. Tim Pawlenty told reporters in Iowa that candidates "have to be able to demonstrate they can do all of the job all of the time." Pawlenty's poll numbers have dropped precipitously since Bachmann entered the race.