Gov. Dayton's budget and tax proposals are expected to be released this morning. They'll likely dominate the political discussion on a busy legislative day at the Minnesota Capitol. MPR News will live blog on the proposals when they're released.
Dayton's budget a gamble on his political future (MPR News)
Key Dayton advisers suggest the governor's plan, likely to include some higher taxes, will mark a cultural change in Minnesota government. But it's also an agenda that could put him in a politically dicey position.
Sales tax on clothes likely for Dayton (Star Tribune)
"Likely targets for new or increased sales taxes include cigarettes, some consumer services and perhaps the most politically vexing target -- a first-ever tax on clothing."
DFL convention closed to public, press (St. Cloud Times)
"DFL delegates endorsed Joanne Dorsher for the House District 14A special election at a convention that was closed to the public and press." Her campaign manager, worried about a 'Republican tracker,' said he decided to close the meeting.
Minnesota retirement plans are just 75% funded (Star Tribune)
"More than two years after the Legislature acted to shore up Minnesota's public pension plans, some indicators show the plans are worse off than they were before the legislation."
Three firms bid to build Vikings stadium (Pioneer Press)
"Getting a construction manager in place is the next big step in the process of putting up the stadium." Finalists include Mortenson Construction of Minneapolis.
Obama Writes Note For Time Capsule In Ely (Associated Press)
"A handwritten note from President Barack Obama will be buried in a time capsule in Ely, not to surface for 50 years."
Obama second term begins with sweeping agenda for equality (Washington Post)
Obama offers liberal vision: 'We must act' (New York Times)
GOP confident in debt ceiling bill (Politico)
Bill to honor slain officer
Part of Minnesota Highway 23 in central Minnesota would be renamed as Officer Tom Decker Memorial Highway in honor of the Cold Spring police officer shot and killed in November.
Sen. Michelle Fischbach, R-Paynesville, is expected to introduce the legislation today. U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann has introduced legislation to rename a post office in his honor. -- Tom Scheck(0 Comments)
Gov. Mark Dayton this morning releases his budget and tax proposals to the 2013 Legislature. Keep it here for the latest.
Gov. Dayton is scheduled to deliver his budget plan today. We don't know specifics yet, but there has been enough chatter to examine some of the possibilities.
As I reported this morning, the politics of this are tricky for Dayton. Dayton has been focused on increasing spending for schools (and his aides are pushing greater investment on early childhood education).
Dayton's challenge will be to balance his proposed tax hikes with increased spending that he argues would move the state forward. The worry, however, is that higher taxes could also undercut the state's economic recovery.
But that added spending will come on top of erasing a $1.1 billion projected deficit. Republicans will work to portray Dayton and DFLers in control of the Legislature as out of control tax and spenders.
Here are the political risks for some of the possible changes to the tax code:
Income tax on top earners: Dayton made it a key issue during the election. It will likely go up.
Political stakes: He claims it will make Minnesota's tax system fairer. Critics say it will deter business spending. They also claim rich are getting whacked on the federal level.
Expanding the sales tax to clothing: Expanding the sales tax to clothing would put Minnesota more in line with other states.
Political stakes: Minnesotans have become accustomed to not paying a sales tax for clothing. Get ready for claims Dayton broke a promise to only increase taxes on the wealthy.
Lowering the sales tax rate but expanding the base: This is another possibility. It would make Minnesota more competitive with other states. Expanding the sales tax to some services like haircuts and other services would deliver more revenue to the state.
Political stakes: It would be seen as a positive for the business community and could be accepted by a public that would be wary of seeing a tax on clothing. The downside is that lowering the rate is expensive.
Lowering the Corporate Income Tax: It would make Minnesota more competitive with other states (MN's tax rate on corporations doing business in the state is already one of the highest in the country)
Political stakes: He would be throwing a bone to the business community. The downside: Does Apple really need to take home more in profits?
Raising the cigarette tax: Minnesota's tobacco taxes are lower than most surrounding states (except North Dakota)
Political stakes: The public health community has been pushing for an increase with an aim to deter smoking. It would also only hit about a third of the public. The downside is that many blue collar workers smoke - a key DFL constituency. Dayton also criticized plans to increase the tobacco tax during the 2010 campaign for governor and it goes against Dayton's pledge to keep the state's tax system progressive.
Cutting property taxes: Dayton has argued that he wants to lower property taxes. It's a bit difficult to do since property taxes are raised by local governments. He could, however, work to deliver increased aid to cities and counties or create direct tax breaks for homeowners and hope those governments respond by lowering property taxes.
Political risk: The plan would be popular among seniors and others who are worried about property taxes. The downside is that despite increased aid, local governments may continue to push for property tax increases to pay for local services. Higher property values will also result in higher property taxes for homeowners.
WASHINGTON - After a narrow victory in 2008, Republicans have long assumed that DFL U.S. Sen. Al Franken would be vulnerable in the 2014 elections, but a new survey suggests the state's junior senator has solidified his position in the state.
The survey of 1,065 Minnesota voters by Public Policy Polling found Franken with a job approval rating of 52 percent. Franken's work in the Senate received a thumbs down from 41 percent of those surveyed. Approval ratings above 50 percent tend to suggest a relatively safe position for incumbent lawmakers.
Franken also bests a wide field of potential GOP challengers in a series of hypothetical lineups including former Sen. Norm Coleman, U.S. Reps. John Kline, Erik Paulsen and Michele Bachmann. The closest any of them comes to Franken is Coleman though he still draws just 44 percent support compared to Franken's 50 percent. Coleman has also ruled out a rematch against Franken in interviews with MPR News and other outlets.
PPP also polled a subset of 275 Minnesota Republicans about their preferences for the party's nominee and found that Bachmann was the overwhelming favorite should she decide to run. The four term congresswoman has the support of 45 percent of the GOP voters polled which was far ahead of any other potential candidates. But Bachmann polls badly against Franken in a general election setting, drawing 40 percent support compared to Franken's 54 percent.
So far, Bachmann has been mum on future plans and shows little sign of positioning herself for a Senate run.
Some caveats: PPP is a Democratic-friendly firm that uses automated phone surveys, which are generally considered less accurate than live interviews. However the company's polls had a track record of accuracy in last year's elections.
The poll, conducted between Jan. 18 and 20, has a margin of error of 3 percent. The Republican subset has a 5.9 percent margin of error.(4 Comments)