DFL Rep. Betty McCollum is taking a potential match-up with GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann seriously.
In a fundraising e-mail to supporters, McCollum complained about the DFL redistricting plan but also started laying the groundwork for what could be a contentious and expensive race.
"I don't know what DFL Party leadership and their attorneys were thinking - they didn't consult with me.
The congressional redistricting map submitted by the DFL to the state Supreme Court's "Special Redistricting Panel" pits Minnesota's two congresswomen against one another: Michele Bachmann against me."
The DFL Party proposed a map that would pair McCollum and Bachmann in the same district. McCollum, who lives in St. Paul, currently represents a heavily Democratic district. Bachmann, from Stillwater, represents the GOP leaning 6th District.
McCollum, who was first elected to Congress in 2000, suggested a race against Bachmann will cost millions.
"I could be in for a re-election campaign that would require me to raise $4 million, $5 million, or even more to win if Rep. Bachmann is my opponent. Remember - in 2010 Bachmann spent $11.1 million to win re-election!"
It isn't certain whether McCollum will be paired with Bachmann. A special redistricting panel will release its set of maps on Feb. 21 if Gov. Dayton and the GOP-controlled Legislature can't agree before then. The GOP plan doesn't pair any incumbents.
Another uncertainty is whether Bachmann runs for reelection. The 6th District Republican is currently running for president and hasn't said whether she'll run for Congress if she fails to win the GOP nomination. In the e-mail, McCollum characterized Bachmann as the founder of the Congressional Tea Party Caucus and a "right-wing darling."
It isn't the first time McCollum has gone after Bachmann. She criticized Bachmann earlier this year at a fundraiser.(4 Comments)
State finance officials say the cost of last summer's 20-day government shutdown was minimal.
"In broad terms, immediate shutdown costs were offset by estimated compensation savings," the report by Minnesota Management and Budget said.
The state agency says the state lost $50 million in things like tax collections and lottery receipts, spent $10 million on shutdown preparations and recovery costs and paid $10 million in unemployment benefits. But MMB Commissioner Jim Schowalter said the state and federal government saved about $65 million by not having to pay the 19,000 employees who were laid off during the shutdown.
"Where there was harm there was significant harm," Schowalter said. "Some places continued unaffected, others didn't continue and were completely shut down. So as a result, when you look at the impact of employees, those who continued to work were not so impacted. those who were laid off had substantial stresses and issues."
Schowalter said one reason the shutdown didn't have a bigger impact is because a judge ruled that about 80 percent of state spending had to continue during the shutdown.
The government shut down after Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and GOP legislative leaders failed to agree on a two-year budget by the end of the last fiscal year. The impasse forced state workers to be laid off, parks to close and many road construction projects to be mothballed.
Gov. Dayton issued this statement on the report:
"I am grateful that the report concludes there was no net cost to Minnesota taxpayers. Unfortunately, it also shows that the worst financial hardship fell upon state employees, who were involuntarily laid off."
Sen. David Hann, R-Eden Prairie, says the Senate GOP Caucus will push law changes to prevent any future shutdowns.
"I don't think anybody wants to contemplate additional political game playing around the state budget," Hann said. "We should be able to reach agreement to say that if we have not reached a budget agreement at the end of the time we're required, we should have the existing budget or some percentage of that budget be continued," Hann said.
Hann also said Dayton should get the blame for the shutdown - suggesting it was a political tool to get his tax hike passed into law.
But Eliot Seide, who represents the state employees union American Federation of State County and Municipals Employees Council 5, issued a statement saying the Republican majorities in the Legislature are to blame:
"State employees lost $65 million in wages because a gridlock group of tea party Republicans chose to protect millionaires instead of Minnesotans. They laid off 19,000 workers instead of creating jobs. They ruined family vacations at state parks, delayed road construction and disrupted people's lives in countless ways."
"AFSCME state employees do their part every day to make Minnesota a state that works. That's a stark contrast with the tea party Republicans who created a state that didn't work for 20 days."
Here's the full shutdown report:1 Comments)
The Minnesota Senate has released the agendas for two informational hearings on the proposed Vikings stadium.
Senate Committee on Taxes and the Committee on Local Government and Elections will hold the first joint hearing Nov. 29, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The agenda includes background and site information. Representatives from the Metropolitan Sports Commission, Vikings, Ramsey County/Arden Hills and Minneapolis will offer testimony. The public will also be allowed to testify at both hearings.
On Dec. 6, the Committee on Taxes and the Committee on State Government Innovation and Veterans will hold a joint hearing from 12:30 p.m. To 6:00 p.m. The focus will be on state and local support for a stadium, as well as financing options. Lawmakers have invited NFL officials to testify. They will discuss current sources of revenue, including arts and cultural funds and Minneapolis convention revenue. New sources of revenue will also be addressed. That list includes electronic pulltabs, racino gambling, sports memorabilia sales tax, NFL income tax surcharge and ticket surcharges.
Discussion of the Block E casino proposal has been added to the agenda for Dec. 6.
Posted at 1:38 PM on November 22, 2011
by Tim Pugmire
Filed under: State Government
State officials have launched a contest to find a logo that they plan to use for commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.
Minnesotans can submit logo designs through December 30. The state Civil War Commemoration Task Force announce a winner on January 10. During a news conference today, state Rep. Dean Urdahl, R-Grove City, said the Civil War was a watershed moment in the nation's history. Urdahl, who is a co-chair of the task force, said events over the next four years in Minnesota will mark the sesquicentennials of both the Civil War and the Dakota War.
"With education obviously comes knowledge and understanding," Urdahl said. "And this is something, an event, that needs to be better understood. Not just the Civil War and our involvement in it, but the Dakota War. And I hope that can lead to some reconciliation with the Dakota people as well."
Gov. Mark Dayton established the Civil War task force back in April to oversee all of the activities related to the 150th anniversary. Secretary of State Mark Ritchie is the other co-chair.
Here's more on the contest:
Logo PDFs should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Documents must measure 8.5 inches by 11 inches and be smaller than 10 megabytes in size. The contest is open to all ages, and people can call (651) 259-3130 for more information.
Foreign aid to Pakistan has become a flashpoint between the Republican presidential candidates.
The country is "too nuclear to fail," Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann said during Tuesday night's GOP debate.
As long as Pakistan poses a nuclear threat, U.S. aid to Pakistan provides some influence in the country, Bachmann said. But she also said that "the Obama policy of keeping your fingers crossed is not working in Pakistan."
Her position is in sharp contrast to one held by several GOP front-runners, most notably Texas Gov. Rick Perry who has said he would zero-out aid to foreign countries that don't support American interests.
"I would not send them one penny, period," if Pakistan does not agree to support U.S. interests, Perry said.
It's a position Bachmann said was "highly naive" in Tuesday night's debate.
Foreign aid surfaced in a Nov. 12 debate, also about foreign policy.
"Pakistan is clearly sending us messages," Perry said during that debate. "It's clearly sending us messages that they-- they don't deserve our foreign aid that we're getting, because they're not bein' honest with us... It's time for us as a country to say no to foreign aid to countries that don't support the United States of America."
Later in that debate, front-runners Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich agreed with Perry's approach.
It's a position that rankled some conservatives, including former Sen. Norm Coleman who penned an op-ed with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee in favor of foreign aid, writing that so-called soft power should not be dismissed as "expensive and expendable."
"Adequate resources for the military are necessary. But so are adequate resources for global health, economic development and the promotion of democracy and human rights," Coleman and Huckabee wrote.
"When it's spent in a strategic and targeted manner, with transparent accountability, foreign aid makes a substantial contribution to U.S. security and prosperity," they wrote.(1 Comments)