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House DFL adding $50 million to Dayton’s bonding proposal

Don Davis of the Forum papers covers another public works bill, this one coming out of the House DFL. He says: “Rep. Alice Hausman, DFL-St. Paul, today unveiled House Democrats’ bill to fund construction projects related to state-run colleges and universities, transportation, housing, economic development, sewer systems, flood prevention and the Capitol building. … Republicans were not ready to commit to the Democrats’ bill. At least eight of their votes will be needed to pass the Democrat-controlled House because the state constitution requires three-fifth of lawmakers to support it. ‘Our caucus priority is not on a bonding bill at this point,’ Rep. Matt Dean, R-Dellwood, said, adding that a state budget needs to pass first. Dean said he would prefer that $109 million slated for state Capitol building renovation be presented in a separate bill rather than folded into a measure with more controversial issues.”

At MPR, Tim Pugmire writes: “The House DFL borrowing plan comes in at $800 million, compared to Dayton’s $750 million proposal. It includes about $22 million more than the governor for higher education projects, but about $52 million less for improvements to state-run veterans homes.”

Meanwhile … . Brian Bakst of the AP says: “Minnesota lawmakers will vote on whether to raise salaries for the Legislature, governor’s office and other top state agency positions. The proposed pay hikes are part of a budget bill rolled out Tuesday, April 9, in the state Senate. It would provide the first lawmaker pay increases since the late 1990s. The governor’s $120,303-a-year base pay would rise 3 percent in 2015 and again in 2016. The wage would then be tied to annual inflation. Legislators would see an even bigger bump because their pay would be set at one-third of what the governor makes. That would take their $31,140-a-year salaries to $40,890 in 2015.”

And, simultaneously … The Strib’s Jennifer Brooks says: “Minnesota House Democrats have outlined the $150 million in cuts they plan to make to the Health and Human Services budget. ‘Cutting $150 million from this budget was not a desirable or easy task, but we have achieved our goal of making significant reductions in the HHS budget while protecting the most vulnerable Minnesotans,’ House Health and Human Services Finance Committee Chairman Tom Huntley, DFL-Duluth, said in a statement issued as his committee took up a public review of the omnibus budget bill. … Some of the cuts will be covered by increased spending in other areas. If the Legislature approves all-day kindergarten this year, that could mean fewer children on welfare who need state-subsidized child care. The budget also cuts $66 million by changes in payments to managed care providers, and $93 million through ‘targeted reductions to existing programs and reforms of services in areas like dental and prescription drugs.’ ”

Our ever-vigilant Favorite Congresswoman … The AP, again, says: “Rep. Michele Bachmann and a state senator are calling for a state and national audit of Medicaid. Bachmann and Sen. Sean Nienow, a Cambridge Republican, said at a Tuesday news conference that the companies handling taxpayer-funded health care plans have profited from poor oversight and payment structure while low-income Minnesotans and doctors have suffered. A report last month showed Minnesota has overpaid health maintenance organizations like Health Partners and Medica by at least $207 million. Several doctors say they’ve struggled to give care to poor patients because the state’s reimbursement rates are too low.”

Speaking of … Mark Zdechlik at MPR says: “Bachmann says she’s confident she will be cleared of any wrongdoing in a congressional investigation of campaign finance violations by her presidential campaign. … Following a State Capitol news conference Tuesday, Bachmann told reporters the review was politically motivated and that she’s trying to clear up any concerns. ‘I’m working very closely with the people that are involved to make sure that we answer all the questions and that we get to the bottom of it,’ Bachmann said. ‘I’m thoroughly convinced that I’ll be cleared.’ ” It’s just good to hear she’s working.

The GleanAnd then there’s … the next storm … The AP story says: “Many rural Minnesota school districts were forced to cancel several days of classes because of the tough winter. Now administrators are worried those closures will come back to haunt them as they prepare for high-stakes achievement tests this spring. That’s particularly the case in western Minnesota, where districts can cover hundreds of square miles. Blizzards and ice storms can make it dangerous for school buses to navigate country roads. … Some superintendents say starting school before Labor Day would also help in years like this. Minnesota requires schools to start after Labor Day, although 30 districts have waivers to start earlier. The issue has come up many times at the Legislature but failed amid opposition from the state’s tourism industry.”

Feeling apocalyptic about the storm rolling in? Paul Huttner at MPR says this: “One of the greatest April snowstorms (besides the April 5-7, 2008, event) was the storm that began on April 5, 1933. The old Pigeon River Bridge crossing in Cook County saw 28 inches in one day from that storm. This still stands as the 24 hour state record for snowfall in April. Two Harbors in Lake County saw 17 inches of snow from the 1933 storm. Another historical snowstorm is the event that unfolded beginning on the morning of April 19th and ending on April 21, 1893. When it was all over 30 inches buried St. Cloud, with 24 inches in a single day. … The Twin Cities saw 10 inches from this event and this is the third largest April snowstorm in the Twin Cities.”

For, Aaron Gleeman reports: “[T]he Twins sent out a press release ‘announcing plans for an early entry program that will allow fans into Target Field 45 minutes before gates open to the general public, allowing them to view a majority of Twins batting practice.’ They’re charging $15 to get into the ballpark 45 minutes ahead of everyone else and fans have to a) already have actual tickets to the game, and b) line up outside even earlier to get one of 60 available spots for each night game.” To which a commenter says, “15 dollars is 9 dollars more than I paid on StubHub to sit behind home plate last week at Target Field. Good luck with that.”

Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by Bill Schletzer on 04/09/2013 - 02:39 pm.

    Go Vikes!

    “we have achieved our goal of making significant reductions in the HHS budget while protecting the most vulnerable Minnesotans…” The most vulnerable being Adrian Peterson and company. Maybe they could start a new scratch and sniff bingo game for HHS.

  2. Submitted by Jackson Cage on 04/09/2013 - 02:51 pm.

    and, Commenter,

    $6 too much to watch this year’s ballclub.

  3. Submitted by Steve Titterud on 04/09/2013 - 03:24 pm.

    The Twins are overlooking an opportunity here.

    Why not charge people to get OUT of the stadium when the games are over??

  4. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 04/09/2013 - 04:14 pm.

    I beg to differ…

    @ Steve Titterud: It might be more interesting to charge the $15 to people who want to leave the stadium BEFORE that game is over. That serves both owner greed and fan mercy.

    • Submitted by Steve Titterud on 04/09/2013 - 04:59 pm.

      Now here you’ve got a real money-maker !!

      Brilliant!! This is Pure Profit in capital Ps !!

      I’m thinking the Twins’ ideas about new revenue generation – although in this case certainly a vision of crass manipulation and contempt for the paying customer – are far too timid in their approach. Someone upstairs is thinking too small.

      Charging extra to watch batting practice is a good start, but unfortunately, it’s limited to fleecing only the paying customers. They should think big and charge the non-paying public too – even those who are not baseball fans – you know, charge them whether they go to the games or not. Oooppsss !! I forgot, they’re already doing that !!

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