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.
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ST. PAUL -- A Minnesota day care provider vote to join unions is least temporarily on hold. A judge Monday ordered a stop to an election that was to begin Wednesday. Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton last month ordered the vote, which two unions have sought for six years. Ramsey County District Court Judge Dale Lindman issued a temporary restraining order and said that the proposal should go through the Legislature, not be ordered by a governor. Dayton said he would meet with Attorney General Lori Swanson before deciding how to proceed. Lindman set a Jan.
ST. PAUL -- A judge has put a stop to an effort to unionize in-home day care workers. Ramsey County District Court Judge Dale Lindman today issued a temporary restraining order to at least temporarily put the brakes on a unionization vote, which was scheduled to begin Wednesday. Gov. Mark Dayton, who issued the election order last month, said he would talk to Attorney General Lori Swanson about how to proceed. "I respect the decision of the court today," the Democratic governor said in a statement.
ST. PAUL -- A projected state budget surplus so shocked Minnesota political leaders Thursday that they did not know how to respond. Their talking points, drawn up long ago, featured placing blame on the other side for a new deficit. But then everyone, including the state economist, was surprised with an $876 million surplus. So those talking points issued after the announcement were changed rather hastily.
ST. PAUL -- The revelation of an $876 million Minnesota budget surplus includes a dark side. Gov. Mark Dayton showed the two sides by calling Thursday's announcement "terrific news," moments later adding that it is "no time to celebrate." "We're not out of the fiscal woods by any means," he said. The takeaway for an average Minnesotan is that no one should expect a return to the old days of higher state spending. For the time being, the projected surplus will stay in the bank, where the state economist said it should remain.
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.