Minnesota’s version of the Tax Wars will continue, not just unabated, but with escalating gusto from now until … Bob von Sternberg and Mike Kaszuba of the Strib write: “The budget deal that ended the state government shutdown is also single-handedly reigniting what will be at least a 16-month, rough-and-tumble rematch in the bitter partisan battle over taxing and spending. … ‘I’m not going to give up on this,’ Gov. Mark Dayton said of the tax increase proposal he campaigned on but was forced to withdraw. ‘I’m going to come back, if not next year, the year following’, he said. ‘I’ll advocate for it, campaign for it, press for it for as long as I’m drawing breath.’ House Speaker Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, says he is ready to start doorknocking now on what he considers the bottom line of the budget deal. ‘We didn’t raise taxes,’ he said flatly. ‘There are far more people who get the joke now. It’s not about taxing rich people, it’s about taxing small-business owners. … That’s not where a vast majority of Minnesotans are.’ ” All 7,700 of them.
Every GOP candidate knows the peril of getting cross-ways with a talk radio jock. Politico’s Burns and Haberman report: “Tim Pawlenty’s presidential campaign is flatly denying an Iowa radio host’s claim that Pawlenty’s team has contacted former Michele Bachmann interns in search of damaging information. Pawlenty press secretary Alex Conant said the campaign has asked WHO host Simon Conway to back up his charge, leveled at the former governor in a Wednesday interview. Conway has been ‘unwilling or unable’ to provide evidence supporting the accusation.” But I thought “evidence” on talk radio was just that the guy said it?
Not sure if there’s a warranty issue here. Paul Walsh of the Strib reports: “The driver of a 1915 Model T has died after a wheel fell off the vintage vehicle and it crashed on a southeastern Minnesota highway, authorities said. Kenneth W. Meek, 64, of St. Clair, Mo., died at St. Marys Hospital in Rochester on Wednesday, one week after the crash west of Chatfield on Hwy. 30, according to the State Patrol.”
Good Lord. The stuff that allegedly serious newspapers actually publish … On the Washington Post’s “On Faith” page, Margaret Feinberg looks at Michele Bachmann and asks: “Once Christians realize that the Bible in no way restricts women from serving in politics, we’re left to wrestle with a different question. Not can Michele Bachmann run for president, but should she? Is she truly the best candidate? Does she have the experience and know-how to lead our nation through challenging times? The average voter is looking for a leader who is capable, experienced, and proven —qualifications that seem increasingly hard to find if you examine the list of presidential hopefuls. The big issue for the 2012 election won’t be and shouldn’t be a question of gender. Rather, we need to ask who the best person is to turn around our economy, bring home our troops, and clean up Washington. And on that, the vote is still out.” So “Christians” believe the Bible restricts women from “serving in politics.” What the … ?
Seven years is a lot of persistence. Steve Brandt of the Strib writes: “Developer Brad Hoyt’s third stab at building housing on Loring Hill in Minneapolis could be on the verge of success. Hoyt’s bid for a 124-unit residence on the hill overlooking Loring Park got a key boost Thursday: A City Council committee voted 4-1 in favor of his appeal of the city Planning Commission’s denial of approvals he needs. Assuming the full City Council concurs next Friday, Hoyt could proceed with construction on a site he’s been trying to develop since 2004. … Meanwhile, Citizens for a Loring Park Community, the neighborhood group that testified against Hoyt’s proposal, is preparing to vacate the office it has occupied for 12 years after Hoyt opted not to continue its month-to-month lease.”
And the effect on Minnesota of a U.S. debt default will be … ? The AP says: “Minnesota could face higher borrowing costs and potential cash flow problems if the federal government defaults on its debt. The Minnesota Management and Budget finance agency said Thursday that a federal default could slow the economy and hurt markets, throwing plans to sell more than $1 billion in state bonds this fall into question and potentially causing a cash crunch. … The finance agency also said a cash flow problem could develop if federal funds don’t arrive on schedule and a bad market delays the bond sales. Pushing back the bond sales could hold up construction projects. Lawmakers last week approved a $500 million construction financing package for college and university campuses, flood relief and other projects. The state’s budget fix for a $5 billion deficit includes a plan to sell $640 million worth of bonds backed by future payments from a legal settlement with tobacco companies.”
That TV ad with the fake Morgan Freeman urging Wisconsin voters to reject Democrat Shelley Moore has caught the attention of Strib editorial writer Jill Burcum. She says: “Calls to the organization behind the ad weren’t immediately returned Thursday. The website for Citizens for a Strong America doesn’t list its funding sources. One credible organization, SourceWatch, alleges that Citizens for a Strong America has ties to billionaire libertarian David Koch, who has called for abolishing Social Security and legalizing prostitution, among other things. The respected Politifact.com fact-checked a previous ad the group ran in a Wisconsin Supreme Court campaign earlier this year and gave it the worst possible rating — ‘Pants on Fire’ — on its Truth-O-Meter. The group’s latest effort is nothing less than a fake celebrity endorsement of Moore’s opponent, Republican Sheila Harsdorf, in the recall election taking place just across the border. And it comes on the heels of the news that the state GOP enlisted fake Democrats to run in primary contests.”
Wisconsin is getting gayer by the year. Dan Simmons in the Wisconsin State Journal reports: “The number of same-sex couples in Wisconsin jumped nearly 66 percent from 2000 to 2010, according to federal census figures released Thursday. Not all of those couples publicly celebrated their union … and the state doesn’t allow same-sex couples to marry after voters approved a 2006 referendum limiting marriage to a man and a woman. … Among the 29 states for which the census has released data so far, every one showed an increase in same-sex couples, with a total overall jump of 49 percent. At the top of the list were Montana, which saw an 88 percent increase, and West Virginia, at 80 percent. Wisconsin ranks 11th among the 29 states in rate of increase. Big jumps in some states probably can be attributed to a growing willingness to report. ‘There does seem to be a notion that more conservative places previously had bigger closets,’ [UCLA demographer Gary] Gates said. New York, California, Vermont and Connecticut, by contrast, saw only modest increases.”
Last evening’s fiasco over the so-called “Boehner bill” to resolve the debt crisis — with the Speaker of the House (the Speaker of the House) — scheduling a vote without having his ducks in line to pass the bill — was still playing out when John Hinderaker filed a post on Power Line: “Normally one would assume that Boehner wouldn’t schedule the vote unless he knew he had the votes needed for passage, but news accounts say the outcome was still in doubt as of a few hours ago. … One would hope that voters have begun to notice that the only body that has actually done anything concrete to resolve the debt impasse is the House of Representatives. Unlike the Senate, it has passed a budget. It also passed cut, cap and balance. So now, for the third time, the House will have acted while the Democratic Senate can’t get its act together. Harry Reid says he will organize a vote in the Senate to defeat the House bill, perhaps as early as tonight. Maybe so. But as the clock ticks toward August 2 (which may or may not be a particularly meaningful date, but the Republicans are best served by going along with the assumption that it is), it will be obvious to everyone that any failure to resolve the debt ceiling issue lies at the door of the Democratic Party; in particular, Harry Reid and Barack Obama. So let’s hope Boehner has the votes.” John, pal, isn’t it pretty obvious that all Boehner can do is “hope” … and pray?