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ST. PAUL -- Peter Hutchinson said if elected governor he would raise the gasoline tax. Mike Hatch doesn't intend to raise taxes if he becomes governor, but he stopped short of promising not to do so. And Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who signed a pledge to not raise taxes four years ago, said he still rejects calls for tax increases but won't commit to the same written pledge if re-elected. The three major-party candidates for governor gathered Friday at the Capitol to discuss taxes and other campaign issues in a discussion with reporters, editors and publishers of Forum Communications newspapers.
Ken Pentel recently sent a message to supporters assuring them he is busy campaigning. Minnesota's Green Party candidate for governor was in the news when he ran four years ago, but has been running a quieter campaign this year. On one day, he said, he was part of a North Shore reading circle when someone named Bob "read lyrically about North Dakota." The next day, Pentel said, he handed out sunflowers to people in Grand Marais. He also listed other recent events he attended, ranging from a star-gazing party to appearing on cable television shows.
ST. PAUL -- Some rural officials want the Minnesota Supreme Court to remove what they call a "deceptive" transportation funding constitutional amendment from the Nov. 7 election. Thirteen lawmakers and city officials petitioned the court, seeking an injunction because they said the amendment's wording is confusing to voters and therefore could be illegal. The proposed amendment would dedicate all of the state motor vehicle sales tax revenue to transportation projects. Currently, 54 percent of the tax is used for transportation; the remainder is directed goes to other uses.
Safety officials at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources say that if folks wait until cold, snowy weather arrives before taking snowmobile safety training they may be too late to enjoy the season. "In some instances it's too late because classes have already concluded or are full. No snowmobile safety certificate, no snowmobiling," said Capt. Mike Hammer, DNR Enforcement Education Program coordinator. He said plenty of snowmobile safety training classes are available right now Minnesota residents born after Dec.
Former U.S. Sen. Rod Grams said Wednesday that restoring federal protections for disconnected wetlands, a move favored by duck hunters and bird watchers nationwide, would give the federal government too much power over private land. Grams criticized legislation introduced by U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar that would restore U.S. Army Corps of Engineers authority over wetlands upstream of federally navigable waters. Grams, former Republican U.S. senator from Minnesota, is challenging incumbent Oberstar, a DFLer, for Minnesota's 8th District U.S.
It's time to gather together easy reading for the chilly nights ahead before the fireplace. Here's a potpourri of novels to get you started. "The Other Side of the Bridge" (Dial Press, $25) by Mary Lawson is out this week. Lawson, a Canadian who received raves for her first novel, "Crow Lake," in this outing tells the story of two farm boys, beginning before World War II and ending in the 1950s. Arthur's the good, hardworking kid, his brother Jake is mercurial, a misfit, who likes to torment his docile brother. Enter a beautiful woman who marries Arthur.
With the help of sophisticated electronics, the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Alder is mapping portions of Lake Superior some 300 to 500 feet below the surface. The sonar images being collected by researchers aboard the Alder will be used to help assess the effects of cargo sweeping on the Great Lakes. Cargo sweeping is the practice of cleaning -- usually spraying out -- a ship's holds to prevent cross-contamination of materials. The overboard cargo adds up.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty on Friday announced a host of measures, including extending timber contracts for a year or more, that the state will undertake to alleviate what's been called an industry crisis. After meeting with 30 to 40 government and forest products officials at the Sawmill Inn in Grand Rapids, Pawlenty described public policy actions to help bring down wood prices and assist 300 people laid off last week at Ainsworth Lumber Co.'s Grand Rapids and Cook oriented strand board plants. The state must take action, Pawlenty told a gathering of reporters after the meeting.
Federal spending on Great Lakes fish and wildlife habitat would double under a bill that passed the U.S. House late Wednesday and was expected to pass the Senate late Thursday. The Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act of 2006 includes a $16 million annual appropriation under a bipartisan compromise in Washington. The Senate had authorized $20 million for the program, but the House had stalled at the previous $8 million allocation. Earlier this week it wasn't clear what, if any, amount would pass.
ST. PAUL - A leading conservative group is denouncing what it says are efforts to intimidate churches that want to discuss how political candidates stand on issues important to their congregants. Tom Prichard, president of the Minnesota Family Council, said Thursday that churches can discuss candidates' positions, and pastors can make personal endorsements without threatening the church's tax-exempt status. However, he said the federal Internal Revenue Service this fall has increased its monitoring of churches on this issue, which could stifle free speech.