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 5 months
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota's budget numbers are a bit better today, but not enough for state officials to celebrate. Minnesota Management and Budget officials this morning are to announce the state faces a $994 million deficit, down from a December prediction of $1.2 billion. The nearly $1 billion shortfall still will be tough for legislators and Gov. Tim Pawlenty to plug because it is just the latest of several budget problems. Pawlenty last summer unilaterally cut $2.7 billion from the current two-year budget, which will spend a bit more than $30 billion.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota senators voted 45-21 Thursday to override Gov. Tim Pawlenty's veto of a health care program for the poor, even though legislative health leaders are trying to negotiate an agreement with the governor. "I wish the governor had not been so indecisive engaging in this discussion," said Sen. Linda Berglin, DFL-Minneapolis. The vote sends the bill back to the House, where Republicans vow to uphold the veto. That vote may come on Monday. In the meantime, negotiations on General Assistance Medical Care continue with the governor's office.
ST. PAUL -- A public works bill appears headed to legislative passage that spends far more than Gov. Tim Pawlenty wants and leaves out some key provisions, including an $89 million sex offender treatment center expansion. The nearly $1 billion bill, funded by the state selling bonds, is not acceptable to Pawlenty, his spokesman said today.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota's cities, counties and poor people needing health care would be most affected by Gov. Tim Pawlenty's plan to balance the state budget. Pawlenty Monday announced that he recommends cutting: -- $347 million from health-care programs, affecting 40,000 people. Half would lose MinnesotaCare insurance coverage, half would lose or experience cuts in other programs. -- $387 million from other health-care funding.
ST. PAUL -- City leaders are working on a proposal to fund continued local government aid. Since 2003, cities have complained that Gov. Tim Pawlenty and legislators cut state payments to them when the state budget needed to be balanced. Next week, the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities will draw up a way to raise revenue to keep money flowing to cities. Cloquet Mayor Bruce Ahlgren said among the ideas being floated is extending the sales tax to services such as hair cuts and tattoos.
ST. PAUL -- Gov.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesotans have a new chance to tell legislators how they would like to see government operate. "How can we provide better services and better results at a better price?" Rep. Paul Marquart said is the question being asked of the public. Marquart, DFL-Dilworth, announced Monday the formation of a state government redesign caucus, with both Democrats and Republicans involved. "This is a start," Marquart said. He had no blueprint of how a newly designed government would look or how much money it could save.
MINNEAPOLIS -- More Minnesota governor candidates showed up for a massive Wednesday night debate than the average precinct caucus will host next week. And still, just two-thirds of the candidates planning to run this year were at the gathering, the biggest such forum political observers remember. In front of hundreds of newspaper workers, candidates found some ways to separate themselves from each other. However, for the most part, Republicans and Democrats gave predictable answers, such as Republicans favoring spending cuts to balance the budget and Democrats supporting some tax increases.
ST. PAUL -- Low-income Minnesotans who depend on a state program for health care won a one-month extension. General Assistance Medical Care will remain in operation a month longer than expected, Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Human Services Commissioner Cal Ludeman announced Wednesday. The new date for the program to end is April 1. "This extra month of GAMC coverage is possible because program costs and new enrollment were lower than projected," Pawlenty said.