Good Friday morning, and welcome to the Daily Digest.
Job vacancies in Minnesota were up by nearly a third this spring compared to the same time last year.
Reps. Erik Paulsen and John Kline are skeptical of extending the payroll tax cut.
Debate over extending the cut is going to be a hot topic in Congress when lawmakers return next week.
Paulsen has gotten little media attention since he entered office.
Rep. Chip Cravaack has concerns about New York water ballast regulations.
CNN profiles Rep. Keith Ellison's religious evolution.
Race for President
Donors from the finance industry have been generous with Rep. Michele Bachmann.
Bachmann and her fellow GOP presidential candidates are unlikely to detail their jobs plans any time soon.
CNN says Bachmann may struggle in Iowa.
A new poll by Fox News shows Texas Gov. Rick Perry as the preferred GOP candidate.
GOP campaigns snag Gov. Tim Pawlenty's office space and staffers in New Hampshire.
The Vikings Stadium
The team may kick-in more money to close the stadium deal.
Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch said she doesn't think a stadium plan should be exempt from a referendum if sales taxes are part of the financing package.(2 Comments)
Posted at 9:45 AM on September 2, 2011
by Mark Zdechlik
Filed under: Michele Bachmann
Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann called today's jobs report, "further evidence that President Obama's failed economic policies are not working and have completely stalled job growth."
Today's Labor Department report shows that the unemployment rate was stuck at 9.1 percent last month.
"After spending three days last month on a bus tour focusing on jobs - today's economic report shows that the nation's economy is sitting at a huge stop sign," said Bachmann. "It's time for a comprehensive restructuring of how Washington spends taxpayers' dollars by controlling spending and encouraging pro-growth economic policies."
The White House had its own statement on the report.
"Clearly, faster growth is needed to replace the jobs lost in the downturn," said White House economist Katharine Abraham.
A popular item for sale this year at the Minnesota State Fair DFL pavilion is a bright blue T-shirt ripping Minnesota Republican Rep. and presidential candidate Michele Bachmann. DFL Spokeswoman Kristin Sosanie told MPR News so far more than 200 of the shirts have sold for $20 a piece, so many the DFL had to order more.
Barbara Kruschel of Cambridge bought one of the shirts.
"I have a hard time taking her seriously. There are so many things that she says that later they say, well, no, this isn't correct. So I think she distorts the truth and she just aint my candidate. So if you can't put up with her, I guess you've go to laugh at her," said Kruschel.
Bachmann's presidential campaign didn't respond to an MPR News inquiry about the shirts.
About two blocks away from the DFL booth Minnesota Republicans have their own state fair novelty. For just $1 you get a button that says 'Change, I'd Like Mine Back.' It's also blue.8 Comments)
The Independence Party of Minnesota will not formally back a U.S. candidate in 2012, and will instead focus its efforts on a handful of legislative candidates.
Party Chairman Mark Jenkins said he cannot prohibit someone from running under the IP banner, but he said the party has no plans to recruit, endorse or provide financial support to a candidate. Jenkins said he thinks the Independence Party is poised to win some legislative seats for the first time, and that's his priority as chairman. He said the party doesn't have the resources right now to also run a U.S. Senate candidate.
"My hope is that in 2014 then maybe we have the resources to support both a statewide governors race and a slew of state legislative races," Jenkins said. "But I mean it's no secret that there are some areas of the state where we're a little thin, and we need to built that up. I want that to be our focus."
Incumbent Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar is running for a second term next year. So far, two Republican challengers have stepped forward.
Posted at 11:50 AM on September 2, 2011
by Brett Neely
Filed under: U.S. House
WASHINGTON - Minnesota's quietest member of the U.S. House will be holding a post-Labor Day town hall next week, just before Congress goes back to work.
GOP Rep. Erik Paulsen's office announced that he plans to hold the event on Tuesday, Sept. 6 from 7 to 8 PM at the Mound-Westonka High School in Minnetrista.
Congress returns to work on Wednesday afternoon and President Obama will address a joint session of Congress Thursday night, where he'll lay out his plan for how to reduce unemployment.
Posted at 2:00 PM on September 2, 2011
by Catharine Richert
Filed under: PoliGraph
In a role reversal, some Republicans are advocating for what amounts to a tax increase and some Democrats are pushing for a tax cut.
At issue is the extension of a payroll tax cut Congress passed last year. It's due to expire in December.
During a press conference on Aug. 26, state Democratic-Farmer-Labor party chairman Ken Martin asked the state's GOP delegation to make clear where they stand on the issue. He also highlighted President Obama's tax record.
"President Obama has cut taxes for 95 percent of working families and has cut taxes for small businesses 17 times," he said.
Martin's statement is true.
The stimulus bill included a handful of tax cuts that affected roughly 96 percent of the population, according to the Tax Policy Center, a tax think-tank in Washington, D.C.
According to the same group, nearly all workers are benefiting from last year's agreement to lower workers' Social Security payroll contributions from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent of their wages.
Since Obama took office, taxes have been cut for small businesses - and larger companies, too - 17 times. The perks are buried in different bills, and include a tax credit for hiring people who have been out of work for at least two months, a new deduction for health care expenses for the self-employed, and eliminating the capital gains tax on some small business investments.
The White House touts those 17 cuts on its website, and the president's critics don't dispute the figure. They do, however, point out that taxes have also increased for some of these same businesses; a penalty on employers with more than 50 workers that do not offer health insurance is a frequently cited example. The fine goes into effect in 2014.
Others, argue that because the cuts are targeted, they're more like loopholes or tax expenditures. Will McBride, an economist at the conservative Tax Foundation, said such cuts only serve to make the tax code more complex.
"It doesn't sound like good tax policy," he said.
Martin's statement is correct. Between the stimulus bill and the payroll tax cut, taxes have been cut for about 95 percent of taxpayers. And since Obama's been in office, small businesses have benefited from 17 tax cuts.
DFL press conference, Aug. 26, 2011
PolitiFact.com, Tax cut for 95 percent? The stimulus made it so, by Angie Drobnic Holan, January 28, 2010
The White House Blog, Seventeen Small Business Tax Cuts and Counting, Feb. 25, 2011
The New York Times, For Some in G.O.P., a Tax Cut Not Worth Embracing, by Jennifer Steinhauer, Aug. 25, 2011
The Kaiser Family Foundation, Summary of the new health reform law, accessed Sept. 1, 2011
PolitiFact, The Obama administration has cut taxes on small businesses 17 times, by Robert Farley, June 12, 2011
The Internal Revenue Service, The Making Work Pay Credit, accessed Sept. 1, 2011
Email exchange, Kristin Sosanie, spokeswoman, Minnesota DFL, Sept. 1, 2011
Interview, Roberton Williams, the Tax Policy Center, Sept. 1, 2011
Interview, Will McBride, the Tax Foundation, Sept. 2, 2011