Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.
- Member for
- 3 years 10 months
ST. PAUL - Minnesota senators want to lift some mandates the state places on local governments, all in the name of saving money. Senators Monday gave the measure tentative approval on a voice vote, including doing away with long-standing truth-in-taxation hearings local governments are required to hold as a way to give citizens a chance to comment on their budgets. Instead, the bill requires local governments to notify citizens that they can appear at a regularly scheduled meeting during which local officials will consider future budgets. Sen.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota senators voted to chop public school budgets $273 per pupil Tuesday while opting to expand a program that pays teachers based on performance instead of seniority. Those on the winning side of the 37-29 vote were not happy to be cutting schools, but said a massive state budget deficit left them no choice. "This bill expects more from our educational system and gives them less resources to carry it out," said Sen. LeRoy Stumpf, DFL-Plummer, chairman of the Senate education finance committee. "There is no way to sugar coat this," Stumpf added.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota lawmakers begin a Passover-Easter break today with most of their major 2009 work left. When they return to St. Paul on April 14, senators and representatives will have less than five weeks to accomplish their biggest task - writing a $33 billion, two-year budget that plugs a $6.4 billion deficit. The state constitution requires lawmakers to adjourn by May 18, although there is talk in the Capitol that lawmakers and Gov. Tim Pawlenty may not be able to plug the record-high deficit by then. A failure would send the Legislature into a special session this summer. Sen.
ST. PAUL - American Indian leaders fear their native languages are being lost, calling the situation a crisis. "When a person passes away, it is like a whole dictionary that is gone," Lillian Rice told a Minnesota House committee. A Native American's language, she added, "is the very sense of who we are. ... Without that, we are lost." Indian leaders are working to save languages, and now the Minnesota Legislature is considering helping the cause.
ST. PAUL - The first major item to be debated by Minnesota legislators this year finally is headed to the governor for his signature. The Senate passed a Green Acres law change 59-5 Wednesday, continuing a farmland property tax break. The provision is part of an overall tax bill that conforms state law to federal tax law. Green Acres is a law that allows farmland to be taxed at the agriculture rate rather than the pricier tax charged on property that is developed into housing or business uses.
ST. PAUL - The governor would increase public school education funding 2.2 percent. Minnesota House leaders propose keeping education spending the next two years about the same as in the budget that ends on June 30. And on Wednesday Senate Democrats proposed cutting education funding 3.2 percent, setting up parameters for school funding debate that will share the spotlight with taxes and other issues as Minnesota legislators and Gov.
ST. PAUL - Cities can accept a large property tax reform bill, counties don't know what to think about it and non-profit organizations love it. And its chief author is optimistic that he can convince Gov. Tim Pawlenty to accept at least part of the measure. The bill written by Rep. Paul Marquart and others features a provision allowing Minnesota counties to institute a half-percent sales tax instead of raising property taxes.
ST. PAUL - Minnesotans are fighting flood waters along the Red River and elsewhere while their lawmakers are fighting about the cost of preventing prevent future floods. The fight spilled over into other areas, too, as House leaders Monday introduced a much smaller public works bill than senators passed earlier this month. Rep. Alice Hausman, chairwoman of the House public works funding committee, said the proposal "is a taking-care-of-basics bill." The St.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota counties should be able to raise the sales tax instead of property taxes to make up for state aid cuts, the two state House tax chairmen say. "It provides options, flexibility to counties," said Rep.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota legislators are nearly 11 weeks into their 2009 session, but only now are getting a look at outlines of their main task this year - writing a two-year budget. Lawmakers and Gov. Tim Pawlenty have eight weeks left before the mandatory May 18 adjournment deadline to turn those outlines into a fully crafted two-year budget that paves over a $4.6 billion deficit. House and Senate Democratic-Farmer-Laborite leaders, who control the Legislature, have announced separate budget plans.