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
- 4 years 10 months
ST. PAUL -- Jaws dropped this morning as Minnesota leaders learned the state budget will be $876 million bigger than earlier thought. But the news came with warnings: -- A $1.3 billion deficit is expected in two years. -- The Minnesota economy could take another turn for the worse if the European economy stumbles. -- The good news depends, in part, on continuation of a federal tax cut established in the President George W.
ST. PAUL -- Jaws dropped this morning as Minnesota leaders learned the state budget will be bigger than earlier thought. Leaks before the mid-day official release of a budget forecast showed the current two-year state budget that began this summer will have $876 million more available than legislators expected when they plugged a $5 billion deficit in July after a 20-day government shutdown. Before this morning, most government observers expected a deficit, perhaps as large as $1 billion. Budget forecasts like today's come twice a year.
ST. PAUL -- A new method of funding Minnesota outdoors and arts programs needs better oversight, the Minnesota legislative auditor warns. "Things generally are OK," Legislative Auditor Jim Nobles said in an interview. "But given the amount of money involved and the expectations, we can never be satisfied." Nobles' staff Wednesday issued two audits that showed concerns about oversight of how up to $300 million a year is spent from so-called legacy funds, money raised by a three-eighths of a percent sales tax increase voters approved in 2008.
ST. PAUL -- Rural legislators must get on board if a new Minnesota Vikings football stadium has a chance, a legislative leader says. "Rural members are going to have to do some very heavy lifting," Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, said Tuesday as Senate Local Government and Taxes committee members discussed a possible new stadium. "I don't know of any senator from Minneapolis who will vote for this," Bakk told Minneapolis Mayor R.T.
ST. PAUL -- A Minnesota Vikings vice president did not specifically say today what would happen if state leaders fail to approve a new stadium deal before the team's Metrodome lease expires after this football stadium. Sen. Barb Goodwin, DFL-Columbia Heights, asked Lester Bagley if he was saying the Vikings would leave Minnesota after stadium talks fail. "Not at all," Bagley said. "What we are just saying that we won't have a lease." Gov.
ST. PAUL -- Eleven Minnesota day-care providers, supported by a coalition of conservative groups, today announced they plan to sue to stop a governor-ordered unionization election. Attorney Tom Revnew said his clients seek an injunction to stop the election, set to begin next week, asking nearly 4,300 in-home day-care providers if they want to join a union. He said state law does not give Gov. Mark Dayton authority to issue an executive order that set up the election. Ballots are to be sent out on Dec. 7, and day-care providers have two weeks to return them.
ST. PAUL -- Democrats make it clear they blame Republicans for rising property taxes, and will do that even louder in next year's campaigns. They hope the charge sticks this time. Democratic-Farmer-Laborite candidates for years have said GOP budget cuts, or lack of tax increases, have forced local governments to raise property taxes. It is happening again after a the Republican-controlled Legislature passed and Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton approved a new law that changed the homestead market value credit program, which basically cut state payments to local governments.
ST. PAUL -- Winter is setting in, giving soldiers on the front line of the Asian carp war a few months to form and implement a battle plan. "We have a brief window of time," Gov.