Gov. Dayton's budget and tax plans will continue to dominate the day at the Capitol. On MPR News this morning, Senate leaders talk over Dayton's proposals and other legislative issues. Listen in just after 11 a.m.
DFL lawmakers hold off endorsing Dayton budget plan (MPR News)
DFL legislative leaders call Dayton's budget plan bold and honest but aren't fully embracing it. DFL House Speaker Paul Thissen says full package is unlikely to become law.
Dayton wants sales tax expansion, many others don't (MPR News)
Most of the increased revenue would come from taxing a slew of business services, including legal, accounting, architectural, and management consulting. Critics say the proposed changes would cost jobs.
Education gets big boost in Dayton's budget proposal (MPR News)
"Education officials in Minnesota are finding much to be happy about in Gov. Mark Dayton's budget proposal. All levels of education, from preschool to higher ed, would receive increases in funding under the plan."
Poll: Franken approval ratings solid, GOP competitors weak (MPR News)
Survey from Democratic-friendly firm finds 52 percent approve of DFL U.S. Sen. Al Franken's work in the Senate; 41 percent don't. Franken is also seen far ahead of his potential GOP competitors in 2014.
Abortion foes rally on 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade (Pioneer Press)
Despite frigid temperatures, crowd gathers on the steps of the Minnesota Capitol to protest four decades of legalized abortion in the United States.
Walz gets agriculture committee post
U.S. Rep. Tim Walz will be the top Democrat this Congress on a House Agriculture subcommittee that oversees conservation, forestry and biofuels.
While there aren't a lot of forests in Walz's southern Minnesota district, it is a big producer of corn and sugar beets. Corn is already a popular biofuel while sugar beets are being evaluated by the federal government and several companies as a promising source of energy.
Minnesota Democrats have an outsized influence on the House Agriculture Committee. The panel's top Democrat is 7th District U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson and newly-sworn in Rep. Rick Nolan also has a seat on the committee. -- Brett Neely
Half way through his term, Gov. Mark Dayton holds solid public approval numbers and new polling suggests he would beat ex-Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman in a race for governor next year.
Fifty-three percent of voters back Dayton's job performance, while 39 percent disapprove, according to survey results released today from the firm Public Policy Polling.
Within those numbers, though, party divisions run deep. Only 14 percent of Republicans approve of the job Dayton is doing.
PPP surveyed 1,065 Minnesota voters and 275 usual Republican primary voters January 18th to 20th -- before Dayton unveiled his dramatic plans to overhaul the state's tax system.
Among Republicans polled, Coleman is the clear favorite to challenge Dayton, with 57 percent saying they'd like him to be their candidate next year. PPP said no one else it offered as a potential challenger got more than 5 percent.
Dayton won a narrow victory in 2010, capturing less than 44 percent of the vote.
The poll, though, found Coleman is not that popular with the general electorate, with 35 percent viewing him favorably and 43 percent offering a negative opinion.
In a head-to-head choice with Coleman, the survey found Dayton a clear winner.
Based on its polling, PPP says, "Dayton's run as governor so far has been a lot more successful than his tenure in the Senate -- he looks like a strong favorite for reelection next year, at least 22 months out."
Click here to read the full results of the survey.
The firm also did recent polling on Sen. Al Franken.
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.
MPR News reporter Tom Scheck contributed to this report(2 Comments)
The headlines from Gov. Dayton's budget announcement focused mostly on his tax plan and his increased education spending. But there were several items that didn't make it into yesterday's coverage.
Here are some details:
Dayton plans to expand the federal Medicaid program (Medical Assistance) to more people. Many will be transferred from existing programs but the Department of Human Services predicts 80,000 people who currently don't have health insurance will be enrolled in the state and federal health insurance program.
Dayton is proposing increasing the car rental tax from 6.2 percent to 9.05 percent and dedicating the money to Explore Minnesota. The agency would use $7.5 million per year from the tax for marketing activities aimed at boosting tourism to the state.
A lot of Dayton's education plan has already been covered. He is, however, proposing scrapping a program championed by Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington. It's a scholarship program that gave money to high school students who graduated early.
Dayton wants to expand the state's trade office. He wants to create foreign trade offices in three new markets. A spokesman for DEED said officials haven't determined where the offices would be located. Minnesota currently has one foreign trade office in Shanghai, China.
Dayton wants to lift a requirement that funeral homes have an embalming room. The plan would exempt funeral homes from the requirement if there was an embalming room in a branch location instead.
Dayton wants to study mercury levels and asthma rates for children in the metro area.
His plan would dedicate more money to build housing in areas where job growth is happening but there aren't enough places for workers to live. "Thief River Falls, Roseau, Worthington and Jackson are just a few of the communities where major employers are poised to expand, but a lack of affordable housing for the local workforce is standing in the way," the Dayton Administration said in budget documents.
Dayton is also proposing renter's assistance so children aren't moving as much. He also wants to provide housing assistance for ex-offenders.
Part of the $225 million in savings in Dayton's plan comes from $43 million in HMO contract negotiations.
Dayton is proposing to increase rates to nursing homes, hospitals and other health care providers.
Minnesota grocers would no longer receive a 3 percent fee to process electronic benefit welfare cards.
The Court of Appeals, the Minnesota Supreme Court and District Courts would all see funding increases.
The state's public defenders would also receive more money.
Dayton wants to add more staff to improve service at Driver and Vehicle Services counters.
Dayton is proposing to spend $500,000 a year for improvements to Capitol Security.
He wants more money for the Environmental Quality Board.
Dayton wants paint, carpet and primary battery manufacturers to create product stewardship plans to handle the disposal of their products and reimburse the agency for the new program.
Insurance companies would have to pay $20 more to register their agents with the state of Minnesota.
Dayton also wants to spend $40 million to promote efforts to reduce unhealthy habits like smoking, alcohol consumption and obesity.
Dayton wants to create a scratch-off lottery game that would fund veterans services.
He also wants to permanently fund honor guards that perform at funerals for veterans.
Dayton also wants to expand the GI Bill to all veterans. It currently is applied to veterans who served after September 11, 2001.
Dayton is also asking for more money for basic goods and services. He's proposing greater spending for MnDOT for salt, sand and gasoline. He also wants to give the Department of Public Safety more money to pay for increased gasoline costs.
Dayton wants to use state money to match a federal grant to study the impact on birds and bats of wind turbines.
Dayton wants the Department of Human Rights to hire two Enforcement Officers to review and audit all state contracts over $100,000 for compliance with affirmative action plans. They include the Vikings Stadium, the St. Croix Lift Bridge and Central Corridor Light Rail.
Dayton allocates $355,000 to pay attorney's fees from last year's redistricting case. The political parties and attorneys for several citizens are due the funds as a result of the federal Voting Rights Act.