Billion-dollar showdown looms for Dayton and Legislature


Given the partisan climate, it’ll be a showdown a week between Gov. Dayton the the Legislature. The Strib’s Mike Kaszuba sees the next one, or one of the next ones, brewing over that oft-mentioned $1 billion bonding bill: “The DFL governor says he will introduce a large state bonding bill later this month. Sen. David Senjem, R-Rochester, who heads the Senate’s capital investment panel, said he has no immediate plans to even convene the committee. ‘The idea of doing bonding to create jobs is not our way of thinking,’ Senjem said. Rep. Kurt Bills, one of the Republican newcomers who has brought a noticeably different philosophy to the Capitol, said yearly state bonding bills reach ‘a law of diminishing returns’ that crowds out private investment.”

Kaszuba reminds readers: “Since 1983, with DFLers often holding majorities at the Capitol, Minnesota has issued bonds to create jobs and build infrastructure in all but one of those years. For four of the past six years, general obligation bonding bills have exceeded $700 million. But in a sign of the sweeping political changes taking place, a $969 million bonding proposal introduced by Rep. Alice Hausman, DFL-St. Paul, the House DFL’s leader on state bonding issues, appears to be going nowhere.”

Speaking of “private investment,” Kaszuba’s Strib colleague Wendy Lee reports: “Venture capital investment in Minnesota companies plummeted 48 percent to $139.5 million in 2010, according to a report that comes out Friday. It was the lowest annual investment total in 15 years of record keeping, according to the MoneyTree Report from the National Venture Capital Association and PwC, formerly PricewaterhouseCoopers. The report is based on data from Thomson Reuters. Minnesota’s decline in investment contrasted with the national trend. Nationally, venture capital investments were up 19 percent to $21.8 billion, the report said.”

The Des Moines Register’s Tom Beaumont sees Congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s activities in Iowa as evidence of strength-building for the presidential caucuses: “Michele Bachmann has in a matter of two weeks begun looking as much like a presidential candidate as some of the Republican prospects most often mentioned over the past year. Although she says her mission in visiting Iowa Friday is to help shape the debate of the nascent 2012 campaign, the Minnesota congresswoman plans to touch all the bases usually trod by would-be presidential candidates in the leadoff caucus state. … In a Des Moines Register interview before leaving Washington, D.C., for Iowa Thursday afternoon, Bachmann stopped short of saying the mission was the first in a yearlong battle for the caucuses. But she noted the outsized role Iowa Republicans would have in setting the tone for 2012, and added that she wants to be part of that.”

All that, and she wants us back drilling, baby, drilling. “The Hill” blog reports: “A dozen members led by Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.) and including Tea Party favorite Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) introduced … a resolution expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that an effective moratorium by the Executive Branch on offshore oil and gas exploration and drilling should be terminated.”

Not what you’d call good PR for Chipotle. Yeah, that barbacoa stuff tastes good. But firing what protesters say is 700 workers … not so much. Steve Alexander of the Strib writes: “Denver-based Chipotle would not disclose how many Minnesota workers were fired. Protesters said the number was 700. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office, which conducted the Chipotle worker audit, declined to comment. However, a source said the number of Minnesota employees fired was closer to 350.”

Alexander emphasizes: “The protesters didn’t claim that all the fired employees were legal U.S. workers, but they did assert that the workers were fired without much explanation and without being given time to provide documents proving they were legal U.S. workers. They also claimed that fired workers had to endure delays in being paid. The claims, if true, would appear to be violations of Minnesota’s labor laws.”

If only they’d “harvested” the one that did a kamikaze number into my grille on I-35. The AP says there are 207,000 fewer deer bounding through the forest and across roads. “The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says thanks to ideal hunting weather during opening weekend of the firearms season, hunters harvested a total of 207,000 deer during the 2010 season. That’s the 13th largest harvest on record. The DNR said Minnesota’s deer harvests have moderated in recent years, because the deer herd is at or near population goals across much of the state.”

A lot of Minnesotans are not keeping up with their mortgages. Jessica Mador at MPR says: “Data from the Minnesota Homeownership Center show that more than 71,000 households got a pre-foreclosure notice, an increase of 8 percent. Several months of missed mortgage payments will generally trigger a pre-foreclosure notice. In the Twin Cities metro area, the number of notices increased by 3 percent over 2009. Minnesota Homeownership Center spokesman Ed Nelson said the biggest spike was in Greater Minnesota — where they saw a 15 percent jump in foreclosure notices.”

It could have been worse. Thieves duct-taped a hotel clerk in Hastings. Fox9 (and others) have security cam shots of one of the suspects: “Police are searching for as many as four suspects that robbed The AmericInn hotel on Highway 61 in Hastings around 2 a.m. Hastings Police Chief Paul Schnell says two men entered the lobby, jumped the counter and duct taped the clerk to a chair while they emptied the cash register.”
Like a good rumor? How about Rose Bowl hero-turned-NFL bad boy Vince Young coming to the Vikings? Blogger David Kindervater at Bleacher Report is spinning the tale that “because  [Craig] Johnson was once the QB coach in Tennessee, speculation is swirling that soon-to-be free agent signal-caller Vince Young will somehow follow his former coach to Minnesota. Now, there’s no evidence to prove this theory. Johnson hasn’t said anything like that. But with the Vikings in the market for a starting QB, it’s easy to see why the rumors have already started.” That, and as a sports blogger, you need a half dozen decent rumors a day to maintain web traffic.

Kevin Seifert on ESPN’s NFL Nation blog takes a different tack: “The Vikings hold the No. 12 overall pick, and as we noted Wednesday, early mock drafts suggest anywhere from two to four quarterbacks could already be off the board by that point. But past decisions have put the Vikings in an unenviable position this spring: They have little choice but to force a pick. The only question is whether the rookie will be ready to play right away or if the Vikings will also have to acquire a veteran option.”

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Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by Bill Gleason on 01/21/2011 - 07:40 am.

    Showdown on Bonding?

    It all depends on whose ox is being gored. King Banaian is an econ professor at St. Cloud State University and a right-winger.

    “St. Cloud’s newly elected Republican state Rep. King Banaian said he is not closing the door to a state borrowing proposal, but has his own idea of what might be included: Money for a science building at St. Cloud State University, where Banaian teaches. “I think it meets the criteria I have in mind,” he said.”


  2. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 01/21/2011 - 08:08 am.

    People of Minnesota, please pay attention. You have elected Republican majorities in the house and senate of the state legislature a substantial minority of whom believe ALL state government spending (for any reason) is bad.

    Gov. Dayton will be able to veto some of the ways the Republicans want to shred the state government, but because of the nature of government funding, we’re about to find out how much the government has been doing FOR us because we’re going to start losing large parts of it.

    Meanwhile, rather than having the venture capital necessary for the flourishing of new business in Minnesota, which, according to former King Timmy and the Chamber of Commerce, should have been flooding INTO out state because of all their “wonderful” changes aimed at creating the much-vaunted “better business climate” that investment money went other places.

    Politics aside, the smartest investors in the nation seem to think Timmy and his C.O.C. friends were lying about what they were doing, don’t they? How much else were thy lying about (and how much are our current crop of “small government” Republican true believers lying about?)?

  3. Submitted by B Maginnis on 01/21/2011 - 12:13 pm.

    Say Bri?

    Just curious. Why is operating lawfully “bad PR” for Chipotle?

  4. Submitted by B Maginnis on 01/21/2011 - 12:16 pm.

    Oh, and Bri, that was 350 illegals that were fired by Chipotle, in compliance with federal and state labor laws, as investigated by ICE.

    You left that out.

  5. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 01/22/2011 - 08:29 am.

    I can’t imagine that 350 Chipotle workers were here illegally. A few, possibly. 350? No.

    Sounds much more like one of the mass roundups that ICE carried out on agricultural workers a few years ago.

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