The Vikings stadium is front and center again.
On Thursday morning, Governor Dayton told MPR News that he was open to reopening the Vikings stadium bill. He backed off of those comments later in the day. The concern is over electronic pull-tab revenue can pay for the stadium bonding.
Here's Dayton's full interview where he also talks about his plan to deal with the $1.1 billion projected budget deficit.
Dayton will interview two candidates for Transportation Commissioner today. They are Jefferson Bus Lines CEO Charlie Zelle and acting Transportation Commissioner Bernie Arseneau.
Top state officials Thursday declined to approve the sale of leases to explore for minerals in northeastern Minnesota, pending the results of a court case.
The chief backer of a bill that aims to prevent bullying in schools is hopeful the bill will pass in 2013.
A state audit of health insurers finds the company finances are "generally sound" but the report raises some questions.
The Minnesota Legislative Auditor's office will broadly review the state Department of Health's administration of grants, after health officials may have allowed thousands of dollars to be inappropriately used by one nonprofit over the last two years.
House DFL leaders announced their staff appointments.
GOP House Speaker John Boehner says he wants the negotiations on a deal to avert the fiscal cliff to come down to him and President Obama.
Obama pitched his position on the issue by appearing with a family in Virginia.
Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who now lobbies for the nation's biggest banks, visited the White House to discuss the fiscal cliff.
South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint is leaving the Senate to take a job with the Heritage Foundation.
Defense Department officials are expressing concerns about chemical weapons in Syria.
Former Vice President Al Gore is pushing President Obama to get moving on efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions.
Jobless aid applications dropped slightly.
More bad news for Best Buy. The Star Tribune says a court ordered the company to pay $27 million to settle a trade secrets case.
Minnesota's exports are at $5.1 billion in the third quarter.
The federal government has set new student loan repayment options.
The presidential election cost $2 billion.
WASHINGTON - It seems like the election was ages ago. But for political junkies eager to get one last fix of 2012, most U.S. House campaigns have released their last campaign finance reports of the election cycle, which includes the five week period before and shortly after the election.
Here's a quick rundown of where the incumbents and a few of their challengers stand following the elections:
Michele Bachmann - While the 6th District congresswoman won re-election, the Republican tea party leader did not have a good night on Nov. 6. Despite campaigning against President Obama for more than two years, he was comfortably re-elected while Bachmann barely held onto her seat in the most Republican district in the state. Still, she has one consolation: Bachmann's campaign sits on a $2.1 million war chest as the next fundraising cycle begins. She also paid off $390,000 worth of debt from her unsuccessful bid for the GOP presidential nomination and made a last-minute transfer of $115,000 to the campaign arm of House Republicans.
Chip Cravaack - The Republican congressman fell short in his bid to return to Congress for a second term representing the 8th District, and the campaign finance reports show what a hard-fought contest it was. Cravaack's campaign bank account has just $34,539 left but managed to avoid taking on debt in the final days of the race. Tens of thousands of dollars from fellow Republican House members flooded into the campaign's coffers, but they weren't enough to stop Cravaack's DFL challenger, former U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan, from taking the district by 9 points. Cravaack can continue to control his campaign's bank account even once he leaves office and could run again using those funds, or return the money to donors, give it to charity or contribute to other candidates' campaigns in the future.
John Kline - While Republican U.S. Rep. Kline faced a stronger-than-expected challenger from DFLer Mike Obermueller, Kline ultimately prevailed in the 2nd District. Kline, whose name has been mentioned as a possible Senate candidate in 2014, holds $554,000 as the next fundraising cycle begins.
Mike Obermueller - Kline's challenger seems interested in a rematch in 2014. Nearly a month after losing the election, his campaign issued a statement calling on Kline to compromise in the fiscal cliff negotiations, and national Democrats appear impressed that he came within 8 points of Kline despite running at a significant fundraising disadvantage. Still, Obermueller will have some financial housecleaning to do to get himself in shape for another election. He lent his campaign $32,500 in the final weeks and it has less than $15,000 on hand.
Erik Paulsen - Erik Paulsen was the only Minnesota Republican to widen his margin of victory in this election over 2010. He's also sitting pretty financially with more $772,000 in the bank as his name is also floated as possible candidate for Senate or governor in 2014.
Collin Peterson - The long-serving DFLer comfortably won re-election in the rural 7th District. He ends the election cycle with just $41,000 in the bank, a small amount for a veteran lawmaker.
Tim Walz - DFLer Walz handily won re-election in his southern Minnesota 1st District. Unlike 2010, when his campaign had to go into debt, Walz ends the 2012 cycle in the black with more than $128,000 in the bank.
As of Friday morning, U.S. Reps. Keith Ellison and Betty McCollum had not filed their paperwork with Federal Election Commission, nor had U.S. Rep.-elect Rick Nolan.(1 Comments)
This week, state officials released their latest predictions about Minnesota's fiscal outlook for the next few years.
The news was mixed. The state has money to pay some bills right now, but it also has a long-term budget gap of $1.1 billion. Complicating matters is the looming fiscal cliff, which Congress and the president are in the midst of trying to solve.
PoliGraph took a look at several statements from both sides of the aisle about the latest Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB) forecast.
"For the next biennium, of course this is a long-range projection, [the budget] is almost balanced. There's a $68 million deficit, which would be the best it's been in over a decade." - Gov. Mark Dayton
In an interview on Dec. 5, MPR's Cathy Wurzer asked Gov. Mark Dayton about Minnesota's structural deficit, and he replied that things may look better in a few years.
Dayton says he misspoke.
MMB predicts the state will actually have positive balance of $263 million for fiscal year 2016-2017, and prior years have boasted larger surpluses. MMB also warns that the figure does not include the more than $2.33 billion the state will owe in interest or any additional money the state will owe schools.
"Therefore, future increases in state spending may be significantly greater than those shown," according to the MMB forecast.
You know,[the wealthiest] were paying the higher rates during the 1990s when President Clinton was in office, and we enjoyed boom years in the states. We had the highest real per capita family income in 1999 than we've had in our history. Since then, we've dropped almost 9 percent from that high in the aftermath of the Minnesota tax cuts in 1999 and 2000, and also the Bush tax cuts in 2001 and 2003." - Gov. Mark Dayton
Dayton made this statement in response to a question about Republican concerns that a state tax increase on the wealthiest to close the budget gap, which has been a priority for Dayton, and the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts on the federal level would hurt the state's economy.
Dayton was arguing that their logic is flawed because tax cuts don't always correspond with a strong economy.
It's true that the wealthiest paid more in federal income taxes during the Clinton years. Clinton raised the top marginal rate from 31 percent to nearly 40 percent. It also happened to be a time of strong economic growth, partly because of Clinton and George H. W. Bush's broader fiscal policies, which lead to lower interest rates and lots of activity on Wall Street, as reported by the Washington Post and PolitiFact.
George W. Bush slashed those tax rates; Minnesota lowered its tax rates around this time, too.
Assuming Dayton is talking about the national decline in real household income - real per capita family income doesn't exist - it's true that it took a 9 percent nosedive after 1999, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Republicans are responsible for the third consecutive budget surplus - Republican legislators
A bright spot in MMB's forecast is that the state currently has a balance of $1.3 billion this biennium, something Republicans were quick to take credit for in press conferences and constituent emails. It's the third time since last November MMB has found the state has a positive balance.
But there are a few things to know about this money and where it came from.
First of all, the cash is already spoken for. Surpluses announced earlier this year and last year were legally obligated to the state's cash flow and budget reserves. Similarly, the latest $1.3 billion must be used to pay for money the DFL and GOP controlled legislatures borrowed from schools to balance the budget in prior years.
In fact, MMB Commissioner Jim Schowalter said that he's not calling the extra cash a surplus because the current budget relied on one-time deficit reduction and school payment shifts. The state still has a $1.1 billion deficit.
"One time actions only happen one time," he said. "When you're trying to get a structural balance together, we still have some work to do."
To say that this biennium's balance is the result of Republican policies isn't entirely accurate. While it's true that the budget approved by the GOP-controlled Legislature and Dayton included some spending cuts, the vast majority of the balance comes from higher tax revenues, including "strong, strong corporate profits over the biennium," according to State Economist Tom Stinson.
Stinson warned that the news isn't so good for the coming biennium when revenue is expected to be down by $68 million.
Minnesota Public Radio, interview with Gov. Mark Dayton, Dec. 6, 2012
Minnesota Management and Budget, November 2012 Forecast
Minnesota Management and Budget, General Fund - Fund Balance Analysis, November 2012 Forecast
Minnesota Public Radio, Minnesota faces $1.1 billion deficit, by Tim Pugmire and Tom Scheck, Dec. 5, 2012
The UpTake, videos of Gov. Mark Dayton, MMB, House and Senate Leadership discussing the budget, accessed Dec. 6, 2012
Email exchange, John Pollard, spokesperson, Minnesota Management and Budget, Dec. 7, 2012
Email exchange, Katharine Tinucci, spokesperson for Gov. Mark Dayton, Dec. 7, 2012
Phone interview, Matt Mossman, Minnesota Department of Revenue, Dec. 7, 2012(0 Comments)