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
- 5 years 6 months
ST. PAUL - Minnesota's bonding bill has three personalities - the public discussion about what public works projects will be funded, the insider talk about how many jobs it may create and the ultra-insider debate over how much interest the state can afford to repay on money borrowed for the projects. It is the third one that will determine more than anything else how many projects the state can fund. Public works projects range from fixing college buildings to expanding trails to studying passenger rail lines.
ST. PAUL - Forget calling it the bonding bill or public works funding bill; Democrats now like to call a measure they passed Thursday a jobs bill. Some say the bill could create 10,000 jobs across Minnesota. But what it would do - if it survives in somewhat the same form as the House and Senate passed this week - would be to repair and renovate college buildings, construct local arenas and convention centers, fund additions to trails and approve many other public works projects. The House passed the bill 99-34 Thursday afternoon, following four hours of debate.
ST. PAUL - The march toward confrontation continued Tuesday when senators overwhelmingly passed a public works funding bill $140 million richer than Gov. Tim Pawlenty wants. Sen.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota lawmakers and Gov. Tim Pawlenty have a nearly $1 billion hole to fill in the state budget. That is the figure the state Finance Department announced this morning after a consultant updated the state's economic picture, which shows fewer tax dollars going into the treasury. Individual and corporate income taxes have fallen in recent months, which made the deficit bigger than when the November report showed a $373 million gap. The deficit is for a two-year, $34 billion budget.
ST. PAUL - Minnesotans can expect state government budget cuts like they have not seen for five years, thanks to a tanking national economy. Classrooms apparently will be exempt from the reductions, but it will be weeks before legislators decide how to plug a $935 million budget gap. The deficit Finance Department officials announced Thursday is "series, but solvable," Gov. Tim Pawlenty said. Some money to fill the budget gap will come from reserves set aside at the end of last year's legislative session, Pawlenty and legislative leaders said.
ST. PAUL - Rural Minnesota provides the state with its only good news in an otherwise dismal economy. High grain prices, especially, provide farmers more money to spend than they have seen in years.
ST. PAUL - The top Minnesota House Republican punished six colleagues for not voting the "right way" Monday on a transportation funding bill. "We want positive leadership from Republicans," House Minority Leader Marty Seifert, R-Marshall, said Tuesday of his rare move. "They are not doing the right thing on the floor." Leadership positions such as being top Republican on a committee and holding the title of assistant whip were ripped away from the six.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota Senate Democrats want to spend more money on college building renovation and other public works projects than the governor, saying success in passing a transportation funding bill freed money for projects they otherwise could not afford. The bill, which passed its first committee test shortly after senators saw it on Tuesday night, would borrow $965 million, the same as Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty. When combined with cash expenditures, both proposals top $1 billion. The House has yet to compile its public works plan, known as a bonding bill. Sen.
ST. PAUL - The big legislative issue is settled, now attention turns to the really big issue. After lawmakers Monday overrode a transportation funding bill veto, state officials prepared for what will be a more difficult task: how to fix a budget deficit that some say could top $1 billion. And if Gov.