Welcome to the Daily Digest.
Governor Mark Dayton has called special elections for two open Minnesota Senate seats.
Pop quiz: How big is Minnesota's new budget?
Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke is scheduled to speak to the Economic Club of Minnesota in September.
Police have arrested a suspect in connection with an arson at a Minneapolis home previously occupied by Gov. Mark Dayton.
Dayton has been assigned to the National Governors Association Executive Committee.
House Speaker John Boehner has postponed a vote on his debt ceiling plan after the number crunchers said the proposal wouldn't save as much cash as Boehner hoped.
That's not the end of Boehner's woes; he also needs to win over conservatives in his party who want deeper spending cuts.
Minnesota's GOP delegation is split over how to deal with the debt ceiling.
Rep. Collin Peterson has endorsed the Gang of Six debt ceiling plan. He's asked his staff to start researching a new Farm Bill that will fit within the plan's spending cuts.
A New Jersey law firm says Rep. Chip Cravaack owes them money.
The Washington Post predicts that, because of redistricting, 2012 will be a tough election for House Blue Dog Democrats, a coalition of moderates that formed in 1995 after the party lost big in the previous year. The Post says 16 are vulnerable or potentially vulnerable. Seventh district Rep. Collin Peterson is among six who appear safe.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar and her Republican colleague from South Dakota, John Thune, penned an op-ed about biofuels.
The Race for President
New Hampshire state Rep. Shaun Doherty has resigned from Gov. Tim Pawlenty's New Hampshire steering committee. He's backing former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney instead.
The Washington Post reports that public records show Rep. Michele Bachmann secured a $417,000 home loan backed by either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Bachmann and her husband signed for the loan just a few weeks before Bachmann said the programs should be axed, according to the story.
Bachmann says that neither party has it right on the debt ceiling.
The Don may not be running for president, but he's still offering opinion on former Gov. Tim Pawlenty.
Conservative Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin ponders whether there's trouble in the Pawlenty camp.
Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King gave CNN his assessment of the Republican field. He mentions the tension building between the Pawlenty and Bachmann camps, saying, "we don't need a Minnesota Hatfield & McCoy thing going on in here."
PolitiFact says that Bachmann's claim that Pawlenty said the "end of small government is over" is Mostly True.
A Pawlenty supporter thinks Pawlenty is being too hard on Bachmann.
And for your Ipod, a tune for the times.
Say it with me: "I ain't got no quantitative statutory budget restraints."
Chris Eaton, a longtime DFL and union activist, says she's running for the vacant Minnesota Senate seat in District 46 in Brooklyn Park and Brooklyn Center. Eaton, who is currently director of health services for Mental Health Resources Inc. in St. Paul, is a registered nurse who belongs to the Minnesota Nurses Association. She says she was also a member of AFSCME for two decades. Eaton says she's been active in DFL politics since George McGovern ran for president in 1972 and served on the DFL State Central Committee.
"I've been one of the worker bees so I know a lot of people," Eaton said. "I have never taken a public role before."
Eaton is running to replace DFL Sen. Linda Scheid, who died in June from ovarian cancer. Eaton says she decided to run for Scheid's seat after talking with Scheid two days before Scheid's death. She says she also consulted other Democrats about her decision to run. Eaton says Scheid and her family encouraged her to run after DFL Rep. Deb Hilstrom, who represents part of the district, declined to make the switch from the House to the Senate.
"She was very excited that I was running," Eaton said of Scheid.
Eaton enters the race with a lot of endorsements. Hilstom and DFL Rep. Mike Nelson - who also represents part of the district - are backing her. She also has the DFL Party's endorsement and is backed by WomenWinning, the Teamsters and the Minnesota Nurses Association. She is also married to Brooklyn Center Mayor Tim Willson.
Eaton says her top concerns are the economy, health care and the state budget. She says she's also concerned about the level of gridlock at the State Capitol. She said she would support tax increases to help fix the state's long-term budget problems.
"We clearly need to raise revenue and I would start with Gov. Dayton's plan," Eaton said. "We put a small percentage tax on stadiums. I would certainly think we could do it to make sure our schools are running and our health care was funded and our roads are being repaired."
Eaton is ramping up her campaign in a shortened campaign cycle. Gov. Dayton has called a general election for October 18. A primary, if necessary, will be held on September 13. Candidates can file for the elections between July 27 and August 3. The district is represented by Democrats but there's no guarantee that Eaton will win in October.
"We have never won a special election in this district," Eaton said referring to races that included Darlene Luther, Mike Nelson and Linda Scheid. All three lost special elections but later won in general elections. "I'm going to start a new trend."
Tom Reynolds is running as a member of the Independence Party. No Republican candidate has formed a campaign committee for the race.
DFL House leader Paul Thissen wasted no time using the final budget agreement to solicit cash from voters.
The day after the deal was signed, Thissen penned a fundraising letter, claiming that Republican leadership wouldn't compromise with his party on Gov. Mark Dayton's plan to temporarily raise taxes on Minnesotans wealthiest, "even though it would only affect 7,700 people, and even though only half of those people are Minnesota residents!"
Thissen's claim is basically correct.
During the campaign, Dayton maintained he'd raise taxes on the state's wealthiest to close the budget gap. Once he took office, that plan narrowed. In the final throes of the budget battle, Dayton offered to raise taxes only on Minnesotans making more than $1 million in taxable income annually, and only through 2013.
Republicans roundly rejected the idea, as they have all of Dayton's efforts to increase taxes; they contend that tax hikes will hurt small business owners and potentially prompt people to leave the state.
Thissen points out that half the people who would have been taxed don't live here.
According to the Minnesota Department of Revenue, 7,700 millionaires are expected to file with the state for tax year 2011. About 3,900 of those returns are coming from year-long Minnesota residents.
The rest are from part-time or out-of-state filers. The former are people who move in the middle of the year and pay taxes in Minnesota and another state as a result. Non-residents are those who make money in Minnesota, such as income from a business or rent, but live somewhere else.
The revenue department can't say precisely how many returns are from part-time residents and how many are from non-residents, but estimates that most are from the latter group.
Thissen said that half of the millionaires Dayton's new plan would have taxed don't live in Minnesota year-round. For the most part, he's correct. According to the revenue department, about half of the 7,700 returns from millionaires come from people residing elsewhere.
Letter from Rep. Paul Thissen, July 21, 2011
Minnesota Public Radio News, Dayton puts two new offers on the table, by Catharine Richert, July 6, 2011
Interview, Carrie Lucking, spokeswoman, House DFL Caucus, July 26, 2011
Interview, Minnesota Department of Revenue, Tax Research Division, July 26, 2011(5 Comments)
The latest numbers from Gallup deliver more good news for U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann -- who speaks at the National Press Club Thursday -- and more bad news for former Gov. Tim Pawlenty.
Among declared candidates, Bachmann is supported by 18 percent of Republican voters, according to the national poll, which was conducted July 20-24. That puts her second behind frontrunner Mitt Romney.
In June, Bachmann was supported by only 7 percent of Republican voters. Since then, her poll numbers have risen to 18 percent, largely on the strength of her performance in the New Hampshire debate according to Gallup.
"Most other candidates' support has held steady or shown a slight decline since June," pollsters said.
Meanwhile, Pawlenty is supported by 4 percent of Republican voters. That number is in line with other recent national polls, which are especially useful when it comes to fundraising and building visibility among voters.
Though Pawlenty has campaigned doggedly, he's had trouble expanding support among conservative voters, and it appears the recent poll numbers only underscore his challenge.
Bachmann could lose support if Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani are thrown into the mix.
None of the potential candidates have declared their candidacy, but any could shake up the field if they do, especially for Romney. For instance, if Perry decided to enter the race, he'd come in at a close second behind Romney with 18 percent of Republican support. In that case Romney's support would decline from 27 percent to 23 percent.
Bachmann is the featured noontime speaker at the National Press Club on Thursday, where she's expected to talk more about her candidacy for president.