The Daily Digest (Wealthy tax bite, taxpayers fund artist flights; Run for governor? Thompson might)

Dozens of bills will be up for discussion today as the rush intensifies to meet a Friday legislative deadline at the Capitol.

State

House DFL calls for income tax surcharge on wealthiest (MPR News)

“The Democrats’ budget outline looks to raise taxes by roughly $2.4 billion to restore delayed payments to schools, erase a $627 million budget deficit and spend more on a variety of state programs.”

Lakeville Sen. Dave Thompson considers run for governor ( Sun Thisweek)

“Thompson, assistant minority leader, said he has been encouraged to challenge Gov. Mark Dayton in 2014 by many business leaders and constituents. He plans to decide in the next several weeks.”

House lawmakers ditch universal background checks (MPR News)

“A leading gun control supporter at the Minnesota Capitol said he is giving up on legislation that would require universal background checks for gun buyers.”

State lawmakers again postpone decision on aiding St. Paul teacher pension fund (Pioneer Press)

“Lawmakers again delayed making a decision on whether to provide state aid to the St. Paul school district’s pension fund. Sen. Sandra Pappas, DFL-St. Paul, said the proposals call for big changes and the lawmakers need more time.”

Minn. taxpayers fund trips to tropical spots (KSTP)

“State records show 114 Minnesota Arts Board grants since 2009 went to artists who traveled to 40 countries and 20 states, spending $5.6 million with 15 percent of the trips overseas.”

University lost money on stadium alcohol sales (Associated Press)

“The University of Minnesota lost almost $16,000 last year on alcohol sales at home football games, despite selling more than $900,000 worth of beer and wine.”

Minn. ranks worst in Midwest for housing affordability (KMSP)

“It’s estimated that 278,000 Minnesota households — both renters and homeowners — spend more than half of their income on housing, far beyond what they can afford.”

Dayton slams NRA’s ‘bogus’ gun arguments (MPR News)

“DFL Gov. Mark Dayton leveled some sharp criticism Tuesday against the National Rifle Association and its opposition to universal background checks on gun purchases.”

Homeowners Bill of Rights under construction at Capitol (KSTP)

“A ‘Homeowners Bill of Rights’ to strengthen foreclosure protections for struggling homeowners in Minnesota is under construction at the Capitol and, like many remodeling jobs, this one is requiring compromise and patience.”

Minnesota, Wisconsin frac sand mining rules differ widely (MPR News)

“Frac sand mining industry experts say Minnesota’s environmental regulations are more stringent than Wisconsin’s.”

Nation

Assault weapons ban dropped from federal gun bill (Washington Post)

Minnesota senators question effects of US Airways-American Airlines merger on heartland (Star Tribune)

GOP Opposition to immigration law is falling away (New York Times)

Obama’s Mideast trip: What to expect (CBS News)