OK, so how about a casino … and we whack the trade office … and this time we really get serious with “tax evaders”? Embarrassed by the Revenue Office’s projections that showed him coming about 60 percent short of balancing the budget mainly by getting truly progressive with big-money families, Mark Dayton produced a new and improved second budget plan. This one features a casino at the MOA — and the normally DFL-friendly tribes are on board with that, right? Rachel Stassen-Berger’s “Hot Dish Politics” post says: “In his Tuesday budget plan, in addition to the $1.9 billion tax hike, Dayton would also increase taxes on homes worth more than $1 million to capture $95.4 million for the state coffers, bring in $340 million from a ‘crack down on tax evaders’ and gather an estimated $500 million from closing a tax loophole that allows people to live outside of the state” for just over six months and pay no income taxes to Minnesota. Dayton’s entire plan is attached to her post.
MinnPost’s Doug Grow analyzes the info drop, saying: “Certainly, his plan doesn’t lack for detail. Budget experts, of course, will need time to study Dayton’s numbers before determining whether it could work. Clearly, all of the budget proposals by the three candidates contain certain amounts of wishful thinking. For starters, no governor, no matter how popular, will be able to zip a budget package through the Legislature without major changes. In this case, whoever is governor likely will not be elected with a majority of the vote, meaning there will be little chance to claim any mandate, so you can expect nasty legislative fights.”
Over at the PiPress, Bill Salisbury’s story notes: “The DFLer also proposed cutting spending by $533 million more than he originally planned. Many state college administrators would take a pay cut under his revised plan. He recommended 5-percent salary reductions for the 302 Minnesota State Colleges and Universities employees — mostly administrators — who are paid more than the governor. That would save $10 million over two years. He’d save more than $300 million by reducing health care costs. He recommended eliminating excessive paperwork for health care providers by mandating uniform administrative procedures for insurance companies.” Salisbury adds: “Emmer has proposed balancing the budget by sharply curbing state spending increases over the next two years to match projected tax collections, a strategy that would cut state funding for colleges, universities and local governments and provide less money than is scheduled for public schools and health and human services. Horner’s budget plan calls for a mix of sales and ‘sin’ tax increases, business tax reductions and mostly yet-to-be-decided spending cuts.” In other words, “a plan” is better than half or none?
The debate-of-the-day, up in St. Cloud, gets coverage from MPR’s Tim Pugmire, who says: “Emmer claimed his plan, which balances the books through spending reductions, is the only balanced proposal and most detailed proposal being offered. Emmer described Dayton’s budget plan as the wrong idea at the wrong time. ‘The idea that you’ve got, not only do the numbers not add up, but it will drive business from the state,’ Emmer said. Horner issued a similar warning about the impact of tax increases on business. Horner, the former owner of a public relations firm, is proposing to eliminate the corporate income tax and expand the sales tax.”
Another day, another “Pants on Fire” ruling for one of Michele Bachmann’s partisan accusations. This one is the (very tall) tale of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s $100,000 booze bill while flying on government planes. We don’t really expect the congresswoman to be concerned about accusations such as this, but PolitiFact, the St. Petersburg Times’ fact-checker, applied the acid test to a claim she picked up from Judicial Watch and … it burned: “World Net Daily, a conservative website, led its article by saying that the purchases for the 2008 trip ‘reads like a dream order for a wild frat party’ … But that single receipt makes up just part of the more than $101,000 taxpayers paid for ‘in-flight services’ — including food and liquor — for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.” It more or less concluded: “Incidentally, the receipt that was the source of the ‘frat party’ jab in World Net Daily, and which was also linked to in Judicial Watch’s press release, shows a decidedly more modest pricetag for the “bar tab” — namely, $560.28, purchased at what appears to have been a no-frills base exchange at Maryland’s Bolling Air Force Base near Washington, D.C. The full receipt isn’t reproduced in the FOIA documents, so we can’t be sure what percentage is food and what percentage is alcohol. But even if you use the full amount to extrapolate the total paid for alcohol, it doesn’t come close to [the] $100,000 Bachmann says.”
MinnPost’s Derek Wallbank filed his story, noting: “Bachmann has been rated 11 times by PolitiFact, with six “False” and five “Pants on Fire” ratings. She has taken issue with the news agency before: Then-spokeswoman Debbee Keller told the New York Times in 2009 that Bachmann takes their ratings ‘with a grain of salt.’ ” There is a difference, you see, between “false” and “pants on fire.”
Numbers for advertising — usually to blister an adversary — were released Tuesday by prominent support groups like the Alliance for a Better Minnesota and MN Forward. MPR’s Tom Scheck reports: “Alliance for a Better Minnesota reports spending $2.8 million running advertising on Google, Facebook and TV criticizing Republican Tom Emmer. The latest campaign finance report shows ABM received $2.9 million since the start of the year and spent $2.9 million. The group received contributions [from] Win MN, the Campaign 2010 Fund. Those groups received funds from wealthy DFL donors like Alida Messinger (Democrat Mark Dayton’s ex-wife) and Vance Opperman and several labor unions like SEIU, Education MN and the Minnesota Nurses.” And, “MN Forward reports raising $1.2 million since the start of the year. The group spent $856,449. The group reports spending $300k on ads criticizing Democrat Mark Dayton and $348k on ads in support of Republican Tom Emmer.” You, the people, are speaking.
Hamline professor Dave Schultz was on Fox9 last night saying that of the three candidates, it’s Mark Dayton who is losing steam, largely because his central theme, “tax the rich,” is floundering.
MPR has an AP report about the current oldest man in the world — a Minnesota native living in Great Falls, Mont.: “Walter Breuning was born on Sept. 21, 1896, in Melrose, Minn., and moved to Montana in 1918, where he worked as a clerk for the Great Northern Railway for 50 years. His wife, Agnes, a railroad telegraph operator from Butte, died in 1957. The couple had no children. Breuning inherited the distinction of being the world’s oldest man in July 2009 when Briton Henry Allingham died at age 113. Allingham had joked that the secret to long life was “Cigarettes, whisky and wild, wild women — and a good sense of humor.” Still, three out four for the rest of us ought to be good for something, right?
God bless you, Allen Costantini, the KARE reporter continues to pursue Denny Hecker-mania while others seem content to move on. (“Move on” from Denny? Never!) The latest news is that, Randall Seaver, Hecker’s bankruptcy trustee (aka The Hardest Working Man in Minnesota), wants to see records for Denny’s pawn shop transactions and the source of tuition payments for his girlfriend’s kids at Benilde-St.Margaret. “Although Hecker, 58, and his girl friend, Christi Rowan, have pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to separate criminal felony counts in the Hecker business collapse, the search for Hecker’s personal assets continues in U.S. Bankruptcy court. Seaver has asked U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Robert Kressel for authority to conduct ‘Rule 2004 Examinations’, similar to a deposition, of Pawn America because ‘the Trustee believes that the records will evidence estate assets converted by’ Hecker and Rowan. That is, Seaver thinks Hecker has been liquidating property through the pawn business that should legally go to the bankruptcy Trustee.”
If you’re flying out for that, uh, business meeting in Vegas, you might want to remember to wear your better underwear. Those body scanners you’ve heard so much about are coming to MSP. An AP story says: “There are fears that the machines are too revealing. The TSA says the images are viewed in a walled-off location not visible to the public. The security officer who views the image doesn’t see the passenger.” But in some ways, he is the one who really “sees” the passenger.