No promises, but state budget discussions are under way


There are discussions about the budget mess. Between Gov. Dayton and the GOP. Just how “marathon” they’ll be (and, likewise, productive) is a whole other question. Dennis Lien’s PiPress story says: “The proposed meeting almost went off track late Wednesday and Thursday when Koch objected to Dayton’s move to include Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, and House Minority Leader Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis. She and Zellers contended the meetings would have a better chance of succeeding with the original participants. Koch objected specifically to Dayton’s decision to include Bakk. ‘He’s offered zero solutions,’ Koch said of Bakk.”

If you’ve been waiting for some outstate paper to offer support for the GOP position, here’s one. From the Owatonna People’s Press: “On Thursday, GOP legislative leaders presented the governor with yet another proposal. In an effort to solve the budget crisis and avert a government shutdown, the Republicans offered to drop their call for $200 million in tax cuts if the governor would abandon his call for $1.8 billion in tax increases. What’s more, they said that if the governor agreed, the money raised from eliminating those tax cuts would be spent on Mr. Dayton’s priorities — education, the environment, transportation, Local Government Aid, and flood and disaster relief. The governor’s reaction? No deal. In fact, the governor went so far as to call it a “non-proposal” and compared the Republican’s actions to rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. Well, if the GOP leaders are rearranging the chairs, then surely Gov. Dayton must be the iceberg itself — frozen to a proposal and not willing to change.”

And yes, Scott Johnson of Power Line is continuing his coverage of Minnesota’s parochial matters with Day # (a lot) of “Minnesota Cage Match, continued.” Today he writes: “I have stayed fastened on the showdown in Minnesota because I think it replays in small the events occurring in Washington, with one difference. Minnesota has to adopt a balanced budget as a matter of law. Can Republicans stand their ground? They face the concerted opposition of the dominant news organization in the state, the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Lead political reporter Rachel Stassen-Berger has all but signed on for the duration as the governor’s public relations arm.”  Hey Rachel, have you noticed any new themes in your email?

Don Heinzman of ECM Publishers editorializes about that  all-but-lost campaign call for “jobs, jobs, jobs.” He writes: “[U]pward job creation is about to hit a brick wall. Not only has the Legislature not added jobs, shutting down the government will put 36,000 people out of work. The possible shutdown also will halt many highway construction projects involving the state, resulting in more jobs lost. Budget cuts to the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System will result in loss of staff, adding to the job loss. A bonding bill that would have created more jobs is languishing, because the Republican majorities prefer to deal with it next year. The governor wanted a $1 billion bill which he called a jobs bill. … No matter what, spending cuts in both the governor’s and Legislature’s spending plans will cause loss of jobs just as employment was beginning to recover. What ever happened to the theme that this legislative session was going to be all about jobs, jobs, jobs?” Chill out, dude. We got that gay marriage bill through.

On that Rolling Stone cribbing a big Michele Bachmann story from Minnesota reporters business from this morning’s GleanCity Pages’ Erin Carlyle dials up G.R. Anderson, one of the local writers whose work was, um, uncredited “due to space limitations” by the big pop-culture magazine. Asked how he found out about it, Anderson says: “I learned about [it] via Facebook, like most citizens learn about their news these days. And at first I kind of shrugged it off, because the more popular Bachmann gets, the more my stories are linked to. Then I thought, well, it’s just another day in that regard. You know, for instance, like I told you before, Mother Jones at least had the courtesy and the courage to cite City Pages for stories that I did. I do have mixed feelings about the idea that it’s cited to City Pages and not to me, because I was the only one doing these stories — I was doing them of my own volition. At that time I was doing these stories, I was both the news editor and a reporter, and there was nobody but me to say no. I knew that this was a political movement rising right here — and I just followed it, like any good reporter would. I’m not congratulating myself, but I knew that she was a rising star. I knew when I first saw her at a state senate committee hearing, when she brought up the idea of a gay marriage ban — I want to say it was 2004. I checked my records, and it seems like that’s the case. I knew that she was going to be the next step in the W revolution. And in fact I think she was very relevant in getting him re-elected. If you go back and look at my stories, I quoted her verbatim, I got her on the phone — I did not shy away from her — and it’s exactly the person that we’re seeing now. I knew then that there were two rising stars in Minnesota — Michele Bachmann and Amy Klobuchar. And not Tim Pawlenty.”

Also at City Pages, Jessica Lussenhop covers the latest in Shoreview Council Member Blake Huffman’s once-lonely crusade to stop the Vikings’ Arden Hills stadium: “A week ago, Huffman posted the petition “Viking Fans Against the Arden Hills Stadium Proposal.” Huffman has been vocal in the past about his skepticism over the plan, and laid out his concerns once more in the petition. In particular, he’s concerned with the use of $350 million worth of Ramsey County taxpayer money as well as the $173 million price tag for infrastructure. ‘To date there has been no official votes on this issue and only one scarcely attended public meeting,’ Huffman writes. “The biggest development in several generations is certainly worthy of a series of public conversations before decisions are made.’ As of Wednesday, the petition had less than 90 signatures. But about a day after local papers ran stories about the petition, signatures skyrocketed. As of this writing, the count is over 1,500. Huffman said he plans to present the signatures to the Ramsey County Commissioners. But Huffman awakened some angry dogs with his petition’s success, including the guys behind … late yesterday afternoon, Josh Hewitt, the man behind @VikesStadium, created his own online petition called “Say ‘Yes’ to Vikings Stadium.” ‘True Viking fans are open to compromise and don’t take a ‘100% private financing or let them leave’ stand on this issue,’ the petition reads. ‘We feel as though the current proposal is a fair proposal.’ As of now, the petition has 434 signatures.”

CNN’s politicalticker notes a new ad put up by the House Majority PAC (the Democrats) against 8th District freshman Congressman Chip Cravaack: “The independent expenditure group’s main beef with Cravaack is his support of House Budget Chair Paul Ryan’s proposal that would require changes to Medicare as a method of battling the budget deficit. In the ad, quotes from reports that describe the budget as ‘a plan to essentially end Medicare’ that would require seniors to ‘pay $6,400 more’ each year and provide tax cuts of ‘$200,000’ for ‘millionaires’ appear against the backdrop of a man approaching a shiny SUV. The spot also drills the freshman congressman for leasing ‘a brand new luxury SUV with taxpayer money.’ Cravaack has been criticized for $1700 payments made toward his vehicle.” I don’t know about “luxury SUV.” This issue for me is how do you pay $1,000 a month to lease a Chevy Equinox?

Simultaneously, Aaron Blake on The Washington Post’s “The Fix” blog looks at how redistricting might effect Cravaack’s re-election prospects: “Democrats say the much more likely outcome is that the courts will leave the map largely as-is, with small adjustments being made for population shifts. While some districts will need to add population or lose population, the state is not losing or gaining seats, and Democrats hope the shake-up is relatively small. Republicans say the worst-case scenario is basically the district Cravaack has now, which went 53 percent for both President Obama in 2008 and Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) in 2004. Such a seat would also pit Cravaack against a formidable Democrat like Clark. The best case is his district becomes marginally Republican-leaning and draws out his top contenders — although the seat would still be potentially competitive.
Republicans appear to be hoping for a lot.”

Jeff Rosenberg at MnPublius is at wits’ end: “[D]id you know that Mark Dayton wanted this shutdown to happen? It’s true! He’s actually trying to prevent state services from operating, in order to cause as much pain as possible. What a horrible person! Also, did you know that Mark Dayton wants to ignore the rule of law and keep state services running? It’s true! He’s turning to the courts to keep the state running, even though there is no budget in place. What a horrible person! Good thing Senate Republicans are counter-suing to make sure the state really and truly shuts down if there’s no budget. So to recap, Mark Dayton is a horrible person because he wants to keep the government running and/or shut it down. Thankfully, the Republicans are onto him, and they are working their hardest to shut down the government and/or keep it running.”

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Comments (6)

  1. Submitted by James Hamilton on 06/24/2011 - 05:11 pm.

    Mr. Huffman’s all for a stadium – somewhere else – and really doesn’t seem to object to public funds, so long as they come from stadium users. I a resident of Saint Paul (which last I checked was in Ramsey County), simply don’t want a stadium anywhere unless it’s on the tax rolls. (I’ll now go and take my meds.)

    The petition:

    We, the undersigned, call on Ramsey County, Arden Hills and State of Minnesota to protect the citizens of Ramsey County by:

    1) building the new Viking stadium in downtown Minneapolis or St.Paul.

    2) having the Vikings and users of the stadium pay for all expenses

  2. Submitted by Gregory Lang on 06/25/2011 - 07:30 am.

    “The Revenue Department would keep a skeleton crew – 40 of its 1,400 employees – on the job to collect taxes, but it wouldn’t send taxpayer refunds, including about $90 million scheduled to be paid to 70,000 renters next month.”

    Note: The Circuit-breaker checks for renters are supposed to be out by mid August and are used by many renters for “back to school” supplies. (Homeowner credits go out in mid-October). The renter payments are based on property taxes paid as part of rent and income. More renters than homeowners tend to be democratic. The payment is largest for lower income renter of housing that is not subsidized. The larger refunds to lower income are more important to them than people with higher income. Market renters with lower incomes (IE: tend to vote democratic) are at times LITERALLY banking on this mid August money.

    The payments to homeowners is scheduled for mid October. The logic here is that it can be used to pay second half-property taxes due 10-17-11. If a late penalty is applied because people depended on the circuit breaker homestead refund here is the penalty schedule.

    Basically renters will be affected worse than homeowners by payment delays. The renters are more likely to be vote democratic.

  3. Submitted by will lynott on 06/25/2011 - 02:48 pm.

    Gregory #2, they will continue to vote Democratic, because,

    * the Rs want to eliminate the renters credit and the Gov wants to save it, and they know that;
    * they know they’ll get the money eventually, so if they need to spend it right away they’ll put it on the credit card; and,
    * even were the above not true, they’re not going to abandon Mark Dayton over a late rebate check.

    You’ve tried this goofy argument before. It didn’t fly then and it won’t fly now.

  4. Submitted by will lynott on 06/25/2011 - 02:51 pm.

    Should have added, Gregory, the people you’re talking about know the governor is on their side and the Rs definitely are not. No way this issue turns them into instant republicans. Get real.

  5. Submitted by Jackson Cage on 06/27/2011 - 08:45 am.

    And Will may be the only person in MInnesota to actually believe low-income voters have the ability to put their kids school supplies on thier American Express card!

  6. Submitted by Larry Kane on 06/27/2011 - 11:35 am.

    Of the ten states that rank as the highest taxed states, Minnesota ranks number two. If Mr. Dayton gets his way to increase the taxes by $1.8B
    Minnesota may gain the notoriety of being the number one state of the highest taxed states.

    Perhaps if Mr. Dayton feel it was necessary to sashay down the avenue in the Gay Pride parade, he might have had more time to resolve the conflicts between himself and those proposing the budgets.

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