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 4 months
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota political leaders have a month to agree on a Vikings football stadium deal before chances of success diminish. Regardless of the timing, rural lawmakers who in the past have cast key votes in favor of stadiums are pessimistic of its chances. Even Rep. Tom Anzelc, an "unabashed, unqualified supporter," said a new football facility is a long shot. When the northern Minnesota Democrat left St.
ST. PAUL -- Tim Pawlenty now thinks he spent too much time and money in Iowa, and Monday night said that if he knew then what he knows now he probably would still be in the Republican presidential race. After his official governor's portrait was unveiled Monday night in the Minnesota Capitol, he said that in hindsight he may have pulled out of the race too soon. "We were out of money; to go forward you have to have money," Pawlenty said.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota voters are beginning to tell politicians that they do not like a new law that some say could raise property taxes. Opponents of the new law say it hurts homeowners with less expensive homes and that businesses will shoulder more of the property tax burden. Few Minnesotans understood, or even knew about, the old market value credit law. Now, many are hearing that its elimination may raise their taxes and are beginning to complain about it. "It is coming up at least a couple of times a night," said Rep.
ST. PAUL -- Some well-known Minnesota Republicans announced Thursday that they will fight the proposed anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment, a proposal their party strongly supports. "I'm Republican because I believe in individual liberty and freedom," Rep. John Kriesel said. "I believe this is an attack on that." The Cottage Grove lawmaker famously was one of four state House Republicans to vote last May against putting the issue on the November 2012 ballot.
ST. PAUL -- Many people have trouble planning next weekend, but the Minnesota Department of Transportation is looking 50 years down the road. Not surprisingly, MnDOT discovered it faces many challenges. A draft "vision statement" indicates that transportation planners must consider a variety of variables and obstacles in the next half century, ranging from a lack of money to an aging population to a rural exodus.
ST. PAUL -- Five judges on Tuesday begin hearing Minnesotans' opinions about fair congressional and legislative districts, a topic that surfaces every 10 years but is little understood by the public. "Maps should be drawn around people, not politicians," said Mike Dean, executive director of Common Cause Minnesota. "For too long, the redistricting process has been controlled by politicians and political parties." A five-judge panel will hear from Minnesotans for the next two weeks, and release their own district maps on Feb. 21. The judges will wait to make sure legislators and Gov.
ST. PAUL -- The country's third major credit-rating agency has downgraded Minnesota's bond rating, meaning that borrowing money for new construction and repair projects likely will cost state and local governments more. Minnesota Management and Budget on Friday announced Standard and Poor's dropped the Minnesota rating from AAA to AA-plus. "This downgrade is a direct result of the recently passed state budget," Management and Budget Commissioner Jim Schowalter said. "The budget was substantially balanced using one-time measures and does not lead to a long-term financial solution.
MINNEAPOLIS -- The new University of Minnesota president promised to lower administrative costs every year he holds the job and in his Thursday inaugural address said professors must keep up or "step aside." "My friends, we have work to do," President Eric Kaler said as he was officially installed as the university's 16th president. Kaler spoke to 1,000 invited guests and others via the Internet, including students and staff gathered at each of the university's five campuses. The 55-year-old president, on the job since July 1, used some of his half-hour speech to praise those at the univers