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Big day for Wisconsin as Walker prepares to play his hand

MORNING EDITION ALSO: Buyer’s remorse in Wisconsin? A Minnesota budget primer; 3M’s Buckley goes after Obama; a giant Iowa egg; Pawlenty lays egg with Salon; and a Minneapolis foody tour.
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Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s new budget will be the big news today, particularly if he follows through with deep cuts to education and other popular middle-class programs. The Huffington Post builds around an AP story by David Lee and Dinesh Ramde to say: “The governor is expected Tuesday to announce a new revenue limit that would require a $500 per-pupil reduction in property tax authority. The limits, in place since 1993, have gradually grown to reflect increasing education costs. That part of Walker’s proposal alone would reduce the money available to the state’s 424 districts by 7 percent, or nearly $600 million, based on a study done by University of Wisconsin-Madison economics professor Andrew Reschovsky. ‘When you make unprecedented and historic cuts like these to schools, it means teachers are laid off, class sizes are larger, course offerings are reduced, extracurricular activities are cut, and whole parts of what we value in our schools are gone,’ state superintendent Tony Evers said in a statement. In Janesville, a district with about 10,000 students, the school expects to get about a $5 million cut in aid, said David Parr, president of the local teachers union. The district already is considering laying off up to 60 of its teachers.”

It’s also official. Gov. Walker has been slapped with an unfair labor practices complaint. A Reuters story says: “The Wisconsin State Employees Union (WSEU) accused new Republican Gov. Scott Walker of unfair labor practices for refusing to bargain in a complaint filed Monday with a state employment commission. … ‘Instead of trying to find real solutions to the challenges facing the state, the governor is attempting to dictate terms. This not only in ineffective, it’s against the law,’ AFSCME Council 24 Executive Director Marty Beil said in a statement.”

Honeymoons don’t last long in Wisconsin, I guess. A Public Policy Poll says Wisconsin voters are having a case of buyer’s remorse with their new governor. Talking Points Memo’s story says: “In releasing the findings, Tom Jensen at PPP wrote: ‘The difference between how folks would vote now and how they voted in November can almost all be attributed to shifts within union households. Voters who are not part of union households have barely shifted at all — they report having voted for Walker by 7 points last fall and they still say they would vote for Walker by a 4 point margin. But in households where there is a union member voters now say they’d go for Barrett by a 31 point margin, up quite a bit from the 14 point advantage they report having given him in November.’ ” In other words, NOW they understand what he was talking about.

Walker did stop up in Superior on his fly-around Monday. Shelley Nelson of the Superior Telegram reports: “Sen. Bob Jauch, D-Poplar, who has been reaching out to Republicans in hopes of reaching a real compromise on the bill, said he was appalled the governor didn’t take time to meet with Superior City Council President Bob Finsland, who was among the protesters present at the airport. ‘I wish he would pick up the phone and talk to me instead of going to Superior and talking at me,’ the Democratic senator from Poplar said.”

Need a CliffsNotes primer on why Minnesota’s budget deficit projection dropped to $5 billion from $6.2 billion? MPR’s Elizabeth Dunbar writes: “So let’s say you’re thinking about cashing in on stock or other investments you own. If the income tax you’ll have to pay on the profit you make from cashing in is expected to rise, that might make you cash in early — before the tax hike kicks in. That’s what Stinson said happened — more people cashed in their investments. The reason it helped the state is because Minnesotans cashing in their profitable investments had more income, and therefore had to pay more income tax as a result, bringing more revenue to the state. But Stinson said there’s uncertainty about how federal capital gains tax rates will affect the state’s revenue picture.”

You did see that the Sheriff of Nottingham has weighed in, right? 3M CEO George Buckley gave an interview to the Financial Times in which he called President Obama “Robin Hood-esque.” What’s  more, says FT’s Hal Weitzman, “Mr Buckley, who has run the diversified manufacturer since 2005, said: ‘There is a sense among companies that this is a difficult place to do business. It is about regulation, taxation, seemingly anti-business policies in Washington, attitudes towards science.’ He added: ‘Politicians forget that business has choice. We’re not indentured servants and we will do business where it’s good and friendly. If it’s hostile, incrementally, things will slip away. We’ve got a real choice between manufacturing in Canada and Mexico — which tend to be pro-business — or America.’ ” Is this the same as saying he is wistful for the pro-science attitudes of the previous administration?

I don’t know if Jens Manuel Krogstad has the Des Moines Register’s poultry beat, but he had the story of the giant egg: “Aussie, a black Australorp chicken, laid a giant egg on Feb. 18. The light brown egg weighs 4.1 ounces, and measures 3½ inches long and 6½ inches in circumference, according to Nathan Batten, the hen’s owner. Large eggs in grocery stores weigh about half as much, while jumbo eggs weigh about 2½ ounces, according to USDA regulations. ‘It’s big. It’s twice the size of a large egg,’ said Iowa State University professor Hongwei Xin, director of the school’s egg industry center.”

I doubt Tim Pawlenty clicks into Salon looking for good reviews. But I’d like to be there when his staff slides over Alex Pareene’s post following TPaw at the Tea Party in Arizona. “Pawlenty, a mild-mannered, fairly boring longtime politician and former governor, is attempting to present himself to 2012 Republican primary voters as a conservative firebrand, in order to distinguish himself from Mitt Romney, a mild-mannered, fairly boring longtime politician and former governor — with more money and better name recognition than Pawlenty. Pawlenty is saying all the right words, at least. And those words are heated conspiratorial nonsense and pseudo-revolutionary cant about the unique threat a moderate Democratic president poses to the Union.”

Andy Sturdevant (and crew) at The Heavy Table blog put up a delightful tour of the foody stops on 38th Street in south Minneapolis — Ted Cook’s, Blackbird, Victor’s 1959, etc. The line art drawings are artful enough there has to be a poster in the works. Check it out.