‘Three moving parts’ of session-ending deal … aren’t moving

Not last night, and probably not tonight or even tomorrow night. Don Davis of the Forum papers says adjournment is not yet in the cards. Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton came out of his office [Monday] after meeting with legislative leaders to say they discussed a tax-relief bill and he expected further talks later today. No progress was reported on public works projects, to be financed by the state selling bonds, but the governor said he thought that issue could be resolved. Dayton said discussions were constructive. His office is working on a response to Republicans’ plan. He said a GOP proposal to use some of the state’s budget reserves is ‘fiscally unsound and unwise.’ ‘That’s one of the hang-ups,’ he said of tax negotiations. Dayton said talks with leaders about a public works borrowing bill were ‘secondary,’ and they talked some about a new Vikings stadium, mostly about the process of passing a bill.”

At the Strib, Baird Helgeson and Rachel Stassen-Berger write: “By early evening, leaders emerged to say they could no longer predict when the session might end and that they had made no significant progress toward an overall agreement. ‘The three moving parts haven’t changed,’ said House Speaker Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove. ‘I think I’m going to quit guessing on days.’ The Legislature’s constitutional deadline for adjournment is May 21, although they had hoped for months to adjourn in April. … Republicans are proposing $200 million in business tax breaks over the next three years that would freeze the statewide business property tax, increase incentives for investors in start-up businesses and offer a sales tax break on capital equipment purchases. Republicans added a Dayton proposal for tax breaks to companies that hire veterans. To pay for all that, Republicans would pull about $43 million from the state’s emergency budget reserves. GOP legislators are banking that new tax revenue from a strengthening economy would quickly refill the state’s cash account.”

Another day and another veto of another abortion bill that was never going to get anywhere. Dennis Lien at the PiPress says: “Gov. Mark Dayton on Monday … vetoed bills requiring doctors to be present when abortion-inducing drugs are administered and creating a health care compact. The governor said he vetoed the abortion bill because it’s another attempt to place a regulatory burden on certain health procedures, existing options are safe, and it intrudes on federal medicine and medical safety practices.”

Minnesota’s partisan gear grinding over those health insurance exchanges got the state some ink in a Monday New York Times story by Robert Pear: “With zeal, excitement and a meticulous attention to detail, the administration of Gov. Mark Dayton is trying to expand health insurance coverage and remake Minnesota’s insurance market along the lines envisioned by President Obama. In setting up a marketplace where people can shop for insurance, the state has sought advice from consumer groups, labor unions, doctors and hospitals, employers, insurance companies, agents and brokers, and American Indian tribes. But one notable group has been missing from the process: Republicans, who control both houses of the State Legislature. Mr. Dayton, a Democrat, and the Republicans find themselves in an icy standoff. The situation is a case study of the politics found in state capitols around the country.” “Zeal,” “excitement” and “meticulous attention to detail” seems a bit gushy for The Grey Lady, doesn’t it?

Ex-Twin Delmon Young will get a week off, without pay, for his drunken raging in New York. The AP reports: “Young was suspended by Major League Baseball on Monday … for seven days without pay following his arrest on a hate crime harassment charge last week in New York. The commissioner’s office said the suspension is retroactive to Friday, when Young was arrested after a late-night tussle at his hotel during which police say he yelled anti-Semitic epithets. … The suspension will cost Young approximately $257,240 of his $6,725,000 salary.”

The crops are off to an early start. The Ag Department says 48 percent of planting is already done. At MPR, Mark Steil says: “With favorable weather most of last week, Minnesota farmers have planted nearly half their corn as the pace of spring planting continues ahead of normal. The U.S. Agriculture Department surveys show that 48 percent of the corn crop is in the ground. The normal progress for this time of the year is 31 percent. The weekly report also shows that spring wheat planting is 93 percent complete — average for late April is just 28 percent.” Knee high by … Memorial Day?

You can add Northeast Minnesota Lutherans to the list of those opposed to the GOP’s gay marriage amendment. The Duluth News Tribune says: “At its annual assembly Saturday in Grand Rapids, the Northeast Minnesota Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America passed a resolution publicly opposing ‘legislation or public policies that would prevent same-gender couples and their families from pursuing ordinary legislative or legal means to gain the support and protections afforded to all others.’ An amendment that would ban same-sex marriage in Minnesota goes before voters Nov. 6. State law already defines marriage as the union of a man and woman, but proponents of the proposed amendment say a constitutional amendment is needed to prevent judges or politicians from changing the law. The resolution passed Saturday calls for Bishop Thomas M. Aitken to make the synod’s position known throughout the synod and to the public. The synod has more than 130 congregations and 72,500 members.”

Get a load of a Golden Gopher fan’s pimped-out Chevy Impala, courtesy of Graham Watson at Yahoo Sports. “For anyone who didn’t think Minnesota had any diehard fans, the owner of this vehicle is here to prove you wrong. Forget the fact that the Minnesota football team went 3-9 in coach Jerry Kill’s first season, this loyal fan is proud of his team and even took his ride to what seems like a parking lot car show to show it off. And no detail has been left off. It’s got the gold and the maroon in a well-executed paint job. The ‘’M on the hood and Goldy Gopher on the door.”

Shades of Michele Bachmann … The AP says: “ Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign says he raised more than $13 million from mid-January through last week. The governor’s campaign says the money came from a total of 125,926 contributions. Walker has raised more than $25 million since Jan. 1, 2011, shattering the record for fundraising by any candidate for state office in Wisconsin. Walker himself set the record when he raised $10 million on his way to victory in 2010. … Campaign finance reports show Democrat Kathleen Falk raised about $977,000 since the beginning of the year in bid to unseat Republican Gov. Scott Walker in this spring’s recall elections. Reports filed Monday show Falk raised $977,059 between Jan. 1 and April 23. She initially said she had raised $1 million since the beginning of the year. The reports said she spent $884,859 and had $118,062 on hand.

Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by Steve Titterud on 05/01/2012 - 10:08 am.

    MN Legislature Plan: Privatize Profits, Socialize Debt

    Have we heard this somewhere before?

  2. Submitted by Logan Foreman on 05/01/2012 - 01:42 pm.

    The Republicans

    Will never give up the idea of lowering taxes for the rich and corporations and the totally specious argument that more jobs will result. They present no proof whatsoever and the last decade has proved them wrong over and over. The trickledown effect should be renamed as the drool effect.

  3. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 05/01/2012 - 03:10 pm.

    Poor, Poor, Poor Republican Legislators

    In cobbling together the coalition that has lately passed for the Republican Party in Minnesota, our “conservative” legislative friends find themselves in the ultimate “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” position when it comes to trying to close out this legislative session.

    In reality, there’s no way for them to get out of this situation undamaged, and likely unelectable in the fall. Still, I’m curious to see how long they will hold the state’s citizens hostage while they try to find a nonexistent solution to a whole constellation of problems that they, themselves, largely created.

    They’ve taken the deck and stacked it, like a house of cards, against themselves and their political careers. Now they’re desperately trying to get out of this legislative session without causing that house of cards to collapse (a collapse which is now inevitable).

    My only comment is, it’s ABOUT TIME their proverbial chickens came home to roost (on their own heads with all the attendant detritus with which a chicken roost is decorated).

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