Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.
- Member for
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ST. PAUL -- Higher fees keep could keep spending on outdoors programs from deeper funding cuts. Even with millions of dollars in fee increases, some budgets may shrink rapidly, Minnesota legislators say. For instance, state tax money headed to the Pollution Control Agency would shrink by 19 percent under a funding plan senators ap-proved Th-ursday 49-15. And the Department of Natural Resources would get 5 percent less state funding. To help compensate, senators approved increasing fees $5 million, slightly less than Gov.
ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota House would give veterans programs more money, but delay or eliminate some agriculture spending. But for some representatives, neither got enough money in a Wednesday 83-49 mostly party-line vote, with Democrats in favor and Republicans opposed. "We are willing to fund dog parks and trails and hockey arenas," Rep. Rod Hamilton, R-Mountain Lake, said. "Where is our priority?" Rep.
ST. PAUL - The Minnesota Senate will consider raising all state income taxes, with married couples earning more than $250,000 annually being taxed at a new, higher 9.25 percent rate. Higher income taxes are the key to the Democratic-Farmer-Laborite controlled Senate plan that raises taxes $2 billion all told. Today's announcement sets up a three-way tax battle with the House and Gov. Tim Pawlenty. The DFL-controlled House on Monday begin looking at a plan that keeps all income taxes the same except for couples who earn more than $300,000. They would pay 9 percent of their income in taxes.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota House Democrats propose increasing taxes on rich Minnesotans, smokers, drinkers, businesses that recently moved to Minnesota and youths downloading Internet music. House Tax Chairwoman Ann Lenczewski, DFL-Bloomington, said the bill is the biggest tax-reform measure in 20 years.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota House Democrats propose increasing taxes on rich Minnesotans, smokers, drinkers, businesses that recently moved to Minnesota and youths downloading Internet music. House Tax Chairwoman Ann Lenczewski, DFL-Bloomington, said the bill is the biggest tax-reform measure in 20 years.
On a 43-22 vote, the Senate approved a bill requiring school boards to adopt a policy that prohibits harassment. The policy applies to students and school workers. "The fact is some kids suffer vastly more significant forms of harassment," Sen. Scott Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis, said, specifically saying gay students often are victims. "We don't tolerate this type of activity from adults; why do we tolerate it from kids?" he added. But Republicans opposed the measure. "We need to resist this temptation to be the super state school board," said Sen. Geoff Michel, R-Edina.
Updated 6:30 p.m.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota senators voted to chop public school budgets $273 per pupil Tuesday while opting to expand a program that pays teachers based on performance instead of seniority. Those on the winning side of the 37-29 vote were not happy to be cutting schools, but said a budget deficit left them no choice. "This bill expects more from our educational system and gives them less resources to carry it out," said Sen. LeRoy Stumpf, DFL-Plummer. "There is no way to sugar coat this," Stumpf added. "This is a reduction to our education system. ...
ST. PAUL -- Flood-weary Red River Valley residents should not be forced to worry about future flood-prevention funding, northwestern Minnesota representatives said Monday as they tried in vain to increase spending on permanent new dikes and other such measures. The Minnesota House approved a public works funding bill with $12.7 million for flood-prevention measures, less than half of that in a Senate-passed measure. Reps. Morrie Lanning, R-Moorhead, and Paul Marquart, DFL-Dilworth, led the unsuccessful fight to increase flood spending.