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Study: GOP budget plan less effective than Dayton’s

MORNING EDITION ALSO: “Disruptive intoxication” in Mankato; Michele Bachmann hits the road; farmers in the Upper Midwest hit the fields — late; and more.
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The latest numbers-crunching says that the state GOP’s all-cuts budget (including tax cuts for “jobs providers’) actually does less to solve the chronic deficit problem than Gov. Mark Dayton’s plan. The Strib’s Lori Sturdevant writes: “…there’s bad news on a spreadsheet produced on the last day of the just-completed 2011 regular legislative session. Despite all the talk about reforming government operations to ‘bend the cost curve down,’ the GOP-approved budget would lead to a $1.2 billion state deficit in 2014-15. That is down from the $4.4 billion that current laws would require in the biennium after next, according to the numbers prepared by the House’s nonpartisan fiscal staff. But the GOP budget’s deficit in 2014-15 is slightly larger than the $1 billion that would remain under Gov. Mark Dayton’s original budget plan. That’s in large part because the GOP plan contains business tax cuts that take an ever-bigger bite out of forecasted state revenue. The upshot: Despite howls about Dayton’s ‘job-killing’ proposal to raise taxes and ‘draconian’ GOP spending cuts, neither side has offered fiscal medicine strong enough to finally cure the patient of its chronic deficits.”

If this catches on they’re going to have to arrest every Brewers and Packers fan in downtown Minneapolis. Dan Nienaber of the Mankato Free Press writes: “Several people have been cited for ‘disruptive intoxication’ since the Mankato ordinance was officially put on the books at the end of April. … Police officers are saying the ordinance is a tool they needed to deal with disruptive drunks. When the ordinance was being proposed, they said officers were having a tough time dealing with extremely intoxicated people when there wasn’t a direct victim. … One of the first people arrested as a result of the ordinance was 21-year-old Eric Alfred Clavel, a Minnesota State University student from Lake Elmo. He was confronted by police officers at about 1:30 a.m. May 6 after he called 911 to report a problem at Rounder’s bar. He said the bar was treating him unfairly. Bar employees said he had been kicked out of the bar twice for causing a disturbance and was refusing to leave.The officer who interviewed Clavel said he was yelling and spitting while he described the problem and wouldn’t calm down. When another person interrupted their conversation, Clavel ‘got in the officer’s face’ and told the officer to show him respect. He was arrested for disruptive intoxication. A preliminary breath test showed he had a blood-alcohol content of .15. The new ordinance only requires officers to show a suspect is intoxicated while being loud, boisterous, lewd, combative, disobeying an officer’s order, unconscious or urinating in public.”

Martiga Lohn of the AP files an assessment of the end of the official “jobs session” at the Legislature. “Despite the emphasis on jobs, the Republican-controlled Legislature’s highest-profile action so far was approving a statewide vote to ban gay marriage in the state constitution. It didn’t have anything to do with the budget, but should boost a small sector of the economy. A multimillion-dollar campaign is expected, which should keep political consultants and ad gurus on both sides in paychecks until November 2012.”

MPR’s Mark Zdechlik continues his GOP road trip, moving from Iowa to New Hampshire and filing on Michele Bachmann’s Memorial Day activities. “In an interview with MPR News, New Hampshire Republican Party Chairman Jack Kimball said Republicans in his state are concerned about government spending and the erosion of personal liberties. They want a return to constitutional values, he said. Kimball also said they’re eager for someone who will passionately represent their views on the campaign trail. He said the candidates would do well to consider the energy Donald Trump briefly brought to the race. ‘People are thirsting for that fire in the belly, taking the gloves off, showing that they’re ready to fight for them,’ Kimball said. Kimball said his advice to any and all of the candidates who are going to enter the 2012 race, or have already entered the race, is that you really do have to be passionate.”

If you’re late getting your garden in summer growing shape, consider Upper Midwest farmers. Jonathan Knutson of AgWeek writes: “Corn farmers in North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota could lose as much as $2.6 billion because of planting delays this spring, says a company that provides global crop insurance and risk management. ‘We’re behind the 8-ball a bit. It’s going to take abnormally good weather to catch up,’ says Jeff Hamlin, director of agronomic research for WeatherBill. As he notes, the strong possibility of reduced yields ‘isn’t driven by putting corn in the ground late. It’s what happens later in the growing season’ — weather events such as drought and frost — that are likely to push down yields.”

One of year’s most memorable lines came from the Forest Lake nurse who told a guy facing kidney stone surgery to “man up,” because, it turned out, she had stolen his painkillers. The St. Cloud Times has a story about state hospitals trying to put together a tighter system to track drugs. “While drug thefts have long been an issue in hospitals and nursing homes, top health officials are taking new steps to address the problem. The Minnesota Hospital Association and state Health Department are organizing a coalition of hospitals and licensing boards to identify and close loopholes in drug-handling protocols that make it easier to steal. ‘People are starting to realize that this is a serious and ongoing problem,’ said Keith Berge, who chairs Mayo Clinic’s medication diversion prevention committee. ‘They’re starting to recognize what they’ve been seeing. I think we’ve been seeing this all along and not recognizing it for what it is.’”

Here’s a lesson on the dangers of auctions and horses. Jeff Reinitz of the WCFCourier in Iowa reports on a Faribault couple going to court. “According to the lawsuit, Thomas Duban was taking part in the auction, and his wife was a spectator. Some of those watching were placed in the arena exit and to use the restroom they had to pass near horses, according to court records. During the event, Chupp called for the overhead doors near the exit to open. The action scared a team of horses, which trampled Martha Duban, according to records. She was taken to the Waverly Health Center and then airlifted to another hospital. The Dubans allege the defendants were negligent, creating an unsafe condition and failing to restrain the horses. Martha Duban suffered head trauma, according to initial reports, and will require future treatment, the lawsuit states. Thomas Duban is seeking compensation for loss of companionship.”

Be the first on your block to say you’re into “aerial yoga.” One of those trend stories, this one in a special to the Strib by Sheila Mulrooney Eldrd (that’s the spelling, folks) says: “Classmate Katherine Schlaefer dropped into an upside-down lotus position, enjoying the stretch for several minutes. She started aerial yoga while recovering from a long string of injuries, and found it to be both restorative and complementary to her triathlon training. ‘Practicing poses and playing off the ground changes your relationship with gravity,’ she said. ‘Working in multiple dimensions … develops strength in both core and stabilizing muscles and hones body awareness and spatial perception. This seems to translate to greater efficiency and fluidity in swimming, biking and running.’ Stella discovered aerial yoga when her interests in yoga and aerial acrobatics made her wonder if anyone had thought of combining them.” Well, Cirque du Soleil comes to mind.

Fairview Health Systems is shaving 240 jobs. Jessica Mador of MPR writes: “…the company says 70 are considered actual layoffs. The rest will come through attrition, or are positions the company will leave unfilled. Spokesman Ryan Davenport says the job cuts will span the organization and include all job classes, including administration and patient care support. Davenport blamed first-quarter operating losses  and the need to cut spending for the job reductions. ‘Lower than expected hospital patient volumes, certainly a need to reduce our costs,’ said Davenport. ‘We are certainly anticipating cuts unfavorable to hospitals and health care systems at the state and federal level, so this is really a move to try and respond to those factors.’”