T-Paw has had enough of races he can’t win. Says Tom Scheck at MPR: “Pawlenty, who dropped his bid to run for president in 2012, will not challenge DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar in 2012. Minnesota GOP Chair Tony Sutton was actively recruiting Pawlenty to challenge the first-term senator after Pawlenty announced he wasn’t running again. Pawlenty’s spokesman, Alex Conant, confirmed to MPR News that Pawlenty won’t run against Klobuchar. The Associated Press first reported the news. ‘I don’t know what I will be doing next,’ Pawlenty said in an email to The Associated Press. ‘However, I will not be running against Amy in 2012.’ ” Maybe he’d consider running for mayor of an LGA-dependent city?
Odd, the different ways you can play these things. At the PiPress, Richard Chin writes: “A national report released today rates Minnesota, for the fourth year in a row, as second in the nation in child health and well-being. The study, however, found that in Minnesota, as in the rest of the country, more children are poor, more are in single-parent families and more are being born with low birth weights than at the beginning of the century. The 2011 Kids Count Data Book produced by the Annie E. Casey Foundation looked at how states ranked in 10 key indicators, including percentage of babies with low birth weight; infant, child and teen death rates; teen birth rates; teen dropout rates; and percentage of kids in poverty, with unemployed parents and in single-parent homes. In every indicator except child poverty, Minnesota ranked within the top 10 states in the country. That gave the state an overall rank of second, behind only New Hampshire.”
KARE-TV’s Jana Shortal turns the story around and says, “It should be a universal goal that no child lives in poverty but, it’s one this country and this state isn’t even close to achieving. Fourteen percent of all children in Minnesota are living in poverty. That number is drawn from U.S. Census data and was released in the annual Kids Count Data Book by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Fourteen percent is 174,000 Minnesota kids. The definition of poverty is sobering as well; a family of four is technically living in poverty if the income for the entire household is less than $22,000 a year. Minnesota has been losing ground in the poverty battle for the last decade. Since 2000, the state has seen a 56 percent increase in child poverty, and that number doesn’t account for data from 2010.”
Oh, that new “no new taxes” budget … it gets a little expensive at the county level when it comes to sex offenders. Says Rupa Chenoy of MPR: “The new state budget will double costs to counties for committed sex offenders, and some say that may affect how those criminal cases are handled. The state began civilly committing sex offenders in the late 1980s. The system detains sex offenders after they’ve served their prison sentences, and they undergo voluntary treatment. No one has been permanently released. Now, Minnesota has more civilly committed sex offenders per capita than any other state, each costing $328 daily. Under the new budget, the county contribution for future cases is bumped to 25 percent, up from 10 percent. ‘What we want to do is have the counties think more about what they’re doing,’ said State Rep. Tony Cornish, R-Good Thunder, who chairs the House Judiciary and Public Safety Committee.”
A Maple Grove boy will have coverage, from HealthPartners, for his autism treatments. Maura Lerner of the Strib writes: “A 4-year-old boy from Maple Grove has won his legal battle to force the state of Minnesota to cover his family’s expenses for an intensive form of autism treatment known as Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). But the ruling stops short of requiring the state to routinely cover the treatment, which can cost up to $100,000 a year. The case has drawn scrutiny from Washington, D.C., to St. Paul because of questions about whether taxpayers should be paying for the treatment. The child, identified only as T.O., and his mother sued the state for refusing to pay for his treatment during a six-month period when his family was in a state-funded managed care plan run by HealthPartners. Under the ruling, HealthPartners must pay for the treatment, which in his case totaled about $25,000, according to Amy Dawson, the family’s lawyer.”
A Macalester student writes about his disillusionment with politics in a Strib commentary. Says Michael Manansala: “[T]hree years later, I find myself dismayed. It was clear that the negotiating table during the debt ceiling debates afforded little space for youth-focused policies. As usual, entitlements, taxes and defense dominated the discussions. The debt deal terminated subsidized loans for graduate students and cut public education spending from the primary to the tertiary level. The Pell Grant program narrowly survived the ‘compromise’ and the DREAM Act was never brought up. Meanwhile, Congress again refused to raise taxes on the superwealthy and remained tepid in cutting defense spending. As a result, S&P reduced the U.S. credit rating from AAA to AA+. Now, the marginalization of America’s future makes it more difficult for my peers and me to finance our college educations.”
Frederick Melo of the PiPress lays out the agenda for Ramsey County’s Aug. 31 meeting on the Vikings stadium tax: “The $1.1 billion Vikings’ proposal calls for a contribution of $350 million generated by a new Ramsey County sales tax. Rod Halvorson, a charter commission member, said he plans to propose a ballot question that puts the issue to county residents in no uncertain terms, with the following language: ‘Ramsey County shall be prohibited from using any proceeds from the Ramsey County sales tax to fund or assist in funding a major league professional sports team or stadium.’ Halvorson said there probably isn’t enough time to get the issue before voters this November, as absentee ballots are issued Sept. 23. Charter amendments are voted on during ‘general elections,’ which is understood by commission members to mean major election years. The earliest it would likely appear on the ballot is November 2012. To get on the ballot, the question first needs the support of 9 of 17 charter commission members.”
Here’s a shocker. Towing is darn good business for the city of Minneapolis. Mike Mullen of City Pages writes: “Minneapolis drivers have paid more than $30 million in towing and retrieval fees since 2006, according to city records obtained by City Pages. The city accounts for nearly $40 million in revenue related to the impound lot during the same time. The vast majority of that revenue goes back out the door in expenses for employee salaries, towing companies, and the lot itself. But not all of it: From January 1, 2006 to July 31 of this year, the City of Minneapolis has made more than $7 million profit thanks to towing fees and the auction sales of cars that owners don’t retrieve. In total, 208,520 cars have been towed into the Minneapolis Impound Lot, at an average of about 37,300 a year. That’s more than 100 cars for each and every damn day of the year.” Hmmm … kind of makes you think Mullen lost one to the hook.
Perhaps out of fear of where Rick Perry will take the party, conservative blogger Ed Morrissey at “Hot Air” writes: “Let’s approach the question this way. What makes [Wisconsin Cong. Paul] Ryan significantly different from, oh, say, Tim Pawlenty? They’re both young, smart, soft-spoken midwestern conservatives. Pawlenty had the added advantages of eight years of executive experience and, unlike Ryan, no TARP vote to his record for his opponents to use against him. And he ended up flatlining in Iowa five months before the caucuses. Ryan’s advantage, of course, is that he’s hugely respected on the right among both the grassroots and the establishment for his boldness in pushing entitlement reform. But in a state where it’s considered dangerous to oppose ethanol subsidies, how far is the idea of overhauling Medicare going to fly? How far would it fly in Florida? There are two great risks to a Ryan candidacy. One: He’ll succeed in turning the focus of the primaries from economic growth to entitlement reform. We can argue about whether that’s a good thing — although Americans care much more about the former than the latter, it may be that this conversation simply can’t wait another moment — but if the party ends up with Ryan’s agenda, it had sure better have Ryan as its nominee too.” But can he form the word “treason” in the same sentence with the chairman of the Federal Reserve?