Posted at 6:30 AM on February 23, 2012
by Catharine Richert
Filed under: Daily Digest
Welcome to the Daily Digest where we're still parsing the effects of the state's new political maps, the GOP presidential candidates debated in Arizona and a new report shows that the debt would increase under their tax plans.
MPR takes a look at what the new maps mean for the political future of the Legislature.
Here's what some paired incumbents are saying about a future run.
The Washington Post says that the new map may make things slightly better for Democrats.
A state Senate committee passed a voter ID bill.
Minnesota got $26 million to fund a state health insurance exchange.
The state's foreclosures dropped 17 percent in 2011.
The state's teachers react to a bill that would consider job performance when making cuts.
Gov. Mark Dayton signed a bill requiring that teachers prove they have basic academic skills before they get a teaching license.
The Burnsville school district won't say why it paid its former director of human resources more than $250,000 to leave her position, the Star Tribune reports.
The state is sponsoring a campaign to get more people signed up for food stamps.
House Majority Whip Rod Hamilton, R-Mountain Lake, a lawmaker not previously involved in the Vikings stadium debate, introduced a bill that would use cash from electronic gaming to pay for an Arden Hills facility, the Pioneer Press reports.
State Senate Republicans are announcing their own Vikings stadium financing plan at 10 a.m. today.
President Barack Obama proposed closing corporate tax loopholes and cut subsidies to reduce the corporate tax rate to 28 percent.
He signed a bill to extend the payroll tax cut.
On the Campaign Trail
The GOP candidates debated for the last time before the primaries in Arizona and Michigan, and Super Tuesday.
At some points during the debate, Santorum had trouble defending his record, particularly on earmarks.
Earmarks and Congress were among the Washington Posts's debate losers.
In criticizing Obama's plan to lower the corporate tax rate, Mitt Romney offered some hints about his own, the Washington Post reports.
While Romney lead Marriott International, the company used complicated tactics to avoid paying taxes, Bloomberg News reports.
Slate dissects Romney's rhetoric on abortion over the years.
A new Gallup poll has Santorum leading in the Midwest and with weekly churchgoers.
A second Gallup poll shows that both Santorum and Romney do well when matched against Obama.
A new report shows that the debt would increase under three of the four GOP candidates' tax plans.
Obama campaign manager Jim Messina was in Minnesota yesterday, fundraising and getting students at Macalester College and the U of M fired-up about this year's election. At Macalester, he, Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak and Rep. Betty McCollum told stories about how they got involved in politics that were meant to motivate the students.
Among other things, the students asked tough questions about the president's stance on torture, how campaign strategy changes depending on the GOP nominee, and why they should be expected to volunteer for the campaign if they have to work to pay off student debt.
In Minnesota, Rep. Chip Cravaack's opponents are focusing on his family's move to New Hampshire at coordinated rallies around the 8th.
Pete Hegseth, who has all but officially announced he will run for the GOP endorsement to run against Amy Klobuchar, has updated his website and is soliciting donations.
Wisconsin Secretary of State Doug La Follette, a Democrat, says he may run against Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.
Money and Politics
A fourth of super PAC donations are coming from just five wealthy donors.
The Washington Post games out the fundraising winners and losers for January.
The New York Times writes that this race has spawned super-donors who are giving millions far earlier than ever before.
Gov. Mark Dayton is dismissing the latest stadium financing plan floated at the state Capitol. He says a provision phasing out the state's business property tax is a no-go.
Sen. Roger Chamberlain, R-Lino Lakes, offered to put up a $300 million loan for a new NFL venue, to be repaid by a 10 percent tax on virtually every transaction within walking distance of the new stadium. That would include tickets, concessions, personal seat licenses, naming rights, signage in and on the stadium, TV and media revenue and stadium rental.
The Vikings would be on their own to come up with the rest of the cost of a new $1 billion stadium. Team vice president Lester Bagley said it's a non-starter. "The bottom line is the bill economics are not workable in this small to midsize market. It would not allow the team to be competitive.''
But Dayton objects mostly to an unrelated provision -- a phase out of state commercial and industrial property taxes through 2022. It doesn't directly pay for a stadium, but Chamberlain suggested it might free up business money to buy sponsorships, advertising, naming rights or other stadium-related business.
"The party of property tax increases is at it again," Dayton said in a statement released this morning. "Some Republican legislators now want to force me into accepting their scheme for eliminating all property taxes on businesses in order to get their approval for a new 'People's Stadium.'"
He said dropping the business property tax would shift the tax burden to other property owners, and would add to tax hikes from the elimination of the Homestead Market Value Credit last year.
Bagley said that the team continues talks with the city of Minneapolis and the state over a proposal to build a new stadium on the Metrodome site.(3 Comments)
There has been more fallout among incumbents who were recently paired in the same districts as a result of redistricting.
The biggest question is what GOP House Majority Leader Matt Dean intends to do. Dean has been paired with Rep. Carol McFarlane, R-White Bear Lake. McFarlane told MPR News that she's not sure whether she's going to run again.
Dean said he too was undecided about his political future.
"I certainly hope to be," when asked if he want to come back to the Minnesota House.
Dean later declined to answer whether he'll challenge McFarlane or move into a new legislative district.
"I haven't talked to Carol," Dean said. "It would be inappropriate for me to say anything publicly."
When pressed about whether he intends to challenge McFarlane, Dean said "I haven't made any decisions."
Dean wasn't the only one trying to make up his mind. Rep. Andrew Falk, DFL-Murdock, said he hasn't decided whether he intends to run for re-election. He said he needs to talk with Rep. Lyle Koenen, DFL-Clara City, who is now in the same district.
Koenen said he hopes to run for re-election but doesn't want to be in an endorsement battle with Falk.
"It's my intention that Rep. Falk and I work this out to a mutual agreement," Koenen said. He said one option is for one of them to challenge Sen. Joe Gimse, R-Willmar, but they both prefer to stay in the House. Koenen says he'd like to make a decision quickly.
Meanwhile, two Republicans paired in southern Minnesota say they'll leave the decision up to the delegates. Rep. Ron Shimanski, R-Silver Lake, and Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen R-Glencoe, were paired in House District 18B.
"This is one that neither Ron or I would seek out, but it's what we have to accept," Gruenhagen said.
Rep. Bob Dettmer, R-Forest Lake, said he's decided to seek the GOP endorsement even though he was paired with Rep. Bob Barrett, R-Shafer.
"I'll be running," Dettmer said. "My wife and I have already decided that we're going to run for office and we're going to ask for the endorsement."
Barrett said he hasn't made a decision. There is an open seat roughly a mile from his home.
In the Minnesota Senate, Sen. Ted Lillie, R-Lake Elmo, says he's still trying to decide what to do. Lillie is paired with Sen. Ray Vandeveer, R-Forest Lake. Lillie said it's possible that he'll move into an open seat in Woodbury.
"There is a possibility of running in that district," Lillie said. "It is a home base for us. My wife is the medical director at the hospital there."
Lillie also said he could run for Congress against DFL Rep. Betty McCollum. Vandeveer was unavailable to comment.
Two Republicans paired in a west Central Minnesota Senate District say they hope to decide about their political future within the next day. Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, and Sen. Gretchen Hoffman, R-Vergas, have been paired. Both said they hope to announce some sort of plan by Friday.
Rep. Bev Scalze, DFL-Little Canada, hasn't been paired with an incumbent, but she says she's going to give up her House seat and run for an open seat in the Minnesota Senate. Scalze said redistricting left her in a district that has an open Senate seat and an open House seat. She said she felt that running for the Senate will help her deliver on her agenda.
"There is going to need some experience in that district," Scalze said. "I can give that to them"
One lawmaker who was paired in redistricting announced today that he's retiring. Rep. Mark Buesgens, R-Jordan, said he'll leave the House after seven terms. Buesgens moved from his home in Jordan and now lives in Savage. That means he was paired with Rep. Pam Myhra, R-Burnsville.
Buesgens said he was proud of his work on K-12 issues and his ability to slow down or defeat legislation he disliked. He was often the only no vote on bills
"If people are looking for a laundry list of new laws that they put in the statute books as their measure of success then I'm pretty unsuccessful," Buesgens said. "But if you're looking for someone who would stand up and champion liberty and freedom then I think I've been very successful for that."
Buesgens said he has no intention of running for office again.
There will also be an endorsement battle in Senate District 31. Sen. Michelle Benson, R-Ham Lake, and Sen. Michael Jungbauer, R-Ham Lake, were paired together. Both say they want to stay in the Senate.
Benson said she's committed to abiding by the decision of the Republican delegates. The first-term Republican said she'll stress her work on the estate tax, energy policies and health care
"You hope through steel on steel that the delegates pick the best candidate."
Jungbauer said he's looking forward to running in the district. He said he already represents a large portion of it and said he has the opportunity to represent family members that he didn't represent before.
"It was like a no brainer for me, Jungbauer said. "It's like I have to try to run."
Jungbauer initially said on The Late Debate radio that he would run in a primary if he didn't win the endorsement. But he backed off of those comments on Thursday.
"There is no way on this earth that I will walk out of a normal, fair endorsement convention where somebody says to me 'Jungbauer, you're not our guy' and I would go ahead."
Jungbauer predicted that the upcoming convention will be a "tough endorsement fight."
Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer, R-Big Lake, announced that she's also leaving her House District to run for an open seat in the Minnesota Senate. Kiffmeyer, who also served as Minnesota Secretary of State, said she'll continue to focus on the same issue in the Legislature but will be representing a larger district.
"I'll work on the same issues but I'll represent a larger distrit than I would as a House member," Kiffmeyer said. "Especially with a brand new district, I'll be able to give some experienced leadership to both sides of the district."
Kiffmeyer also said making a quick decision will allow Republicans to run for the two other open seats in the district.
Here's a list of the lawmakers who have announced their retirements so far:
Rep. Mark Buesgens, R-Jordan
Rep. Mindy Greiling, DFL-Roseville
Rep. Mark Murdock, R-Ottertail
Sen. Linda Higgins, DFL-Minneapolis
Sen. Amy Koch, R-Buffalo
Sen. Gary Kubly, DFL-Granite Falls
Sen. Keith Langseth, DFL-Glyndon
Sen. Gen Olson, R-Minnetrista
Arden Hills' prospects to host the Vikings got a boost in a bill this week from Rep. Rod Hamilton, R-Mountain Lake, and there may be another nod for the Ramsey County bid in the works.
Rep. Tom Hackbarth says he's going to designate the Arden Hills site for his racino stadium bill -- and up Hamilton's bid by including electronic pull tabs, as well. Hackbarth says he's going to reintroduce his racino/stadium bill with the Ramsey County site named as a location as soon as Monday.
"Mine is the racino that will pay for the Vikings stadium, you don't need a local match," Hackbarth said. "It brings in $135 million a year. It can pay for a number of other things as well, such as the school payback, the shift payback... It also says we're going to give some tax relief to the charitable (gambling) organizations."
Likely House stadium bill sponsor Morrie Lanning, R-Moorhead, says Arden Hills is still on the table.
"I've said all along, I've never eliminated them," Lanning said in an interview today. "If we cannot strike a deal with the city of Minneapolis, then obviously, that's what we have to do, is look at the Arden Hills option."
Lanning also said today that it's going to take some affirmative action from Minneapolis to win approval for its stadium bid at the Capitol. He conceded that Hennepin County won Target Field without a formal vote, but said Minneapolis isn't going to get the benefit of the doubt.
"It has to be, at the very least, a letter from, signed by a the majority of the City Council, saying that 'We support this'," Lanning said. "We need some indication. For us to be putting together something here in the form of a bill, and we don't know if they're going to support this or not -- pretty risky."
There's no sign, though, that a Minneapolis deal is any closer than it's been for more than a week.(1 Comments)