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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Updated 8:30 a.m.
ST. PAUL -- Federal funds meant to spur the economy will help make this one of Minnesota's busiest road construction years. Federal economic stimulus money will provide $180 million for 60 Minnesota transportation projects outside the Twin Cities, Gov. Tim Pawlenty announced Wednesday. By the time all money is received, Minnesota officials expect to receive $596 million for state and local highway and transit projects in the coming two years. But that is just a start.
ST. PAUL -- The Pawlenty administration plans to spend all federal economic stimulus money that it can get its hands on -- estimated at $4 billion. That announcement on Monday came weeks after Gov.
ST. PAUL - Sen.
ST. PAUL - Two Democratic Minnesota U.S. House committee chairmen broke on opposite sides of the economic stimulus package the House passed Wednesday night. Jim Oberstar, who serves northeast and east-central Minnesota, was one of its strongest supporters. Collin Peterson, whose district encompasses most of western Minnesota, joined 10 other Democrats and all House Republicans in voting against the measure. The $819 billion package passed 244-118.
ST. PAUL -- Local governments, health providers, colleges and pretty much every other group that depends on state money took a punch in the gut today when Gov. Tim Pawlenty released his proposed budget for the next two years. Pawlenty's budget plan calls for $33.6 billion in spending, down 2 percent from the state's existing $34.4 billion budget. The announcement is the start of substantive budget discussions at the Capitol. "The upcoming budget debate should not just be about where we are now. It should be about where we're headed," Pawlenty said.
ST. PAUL - Local governments, health providers, colleges and pretty much every other group that depends on state money are bracing for a punch in the gut today when Gov. Tim Pawlenty releases his proposed budget for the next two years. The Republican governor has been dropping broad hints that public school education will be spared most of the budget-cutting pain as state policy makers face a deficit of near $5 billion - although most in the Capitol expect it to near or top $7 billion when all is said and done.
Norm Coleman still wants to return as a Minnesota U.S. senator, but until then has another job. The Republican Jewish Coalition today announced Coleman will become a "consultant and strategic adviser." "We are thrilled and honore to have Norm Coleman join us at the RJC at this critical time. We look forward to having the benefit of his experience and wise counsel to help the RJC plot its future course," coalition Executive Director Matt Brooks said. "We are confident that in a few months Sen.
ST. PAUL - Gov. Tim Pawlenty today pleaded with legislators not to raise Minnesotans' taxes while he also called for more education spending, but with strings attached. In his annual State of the State speech, Pawlenty also said he wants to freeze all state wages. Many of his proposals center around giving businesses tax breaks in hopes they will inspire firms to hire more Minnesotans. Pawlenty did not lay out details of his spending plan; that will come before month's end.