Happy Monday, we hope you had a good weekend and enjoyed the emergence of spring.
Senate Tax Bill — The Minnesota Senate will vote on an omnibus tax bill today that includes an income tax hike on top earners, an increase on cigarette taxes and an expansion of the sales tax to clothing and consumer services (while lowering the overall rate). Expect Gov. Dayton and DFL legislative leaders to start hammering out a final tax deal once the measure passes. Key budget conference committee will now have to agree on how much to spend before they can button up their bills. – Tom Scheck
Here’s a rundown Tom put together of the differences between the House and Senate tax bill.
Jeff Johnson for Governor? — Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson has started sending out Facebook notifications to reporters and GOP activists about “a special announcement on his future plans.” Johnson has scheduled an event in Hamel for next Sunday. He has not been shy about his desire to run for governor in 2014. Johnson would be the second major Republican jump into the race. Businessman Scott Honour announced last week that he’s running. -Tom Scheck
The Star-Tribune says Honour has hired former MNGOP chair Pat Shortridge as a strategist and Shanna Woodbury as a fundraiser.
The House votes to restrict chemicals such as BPA and formaldehyde from products intended for children.
An anti-tax rally at the state Capitol over the weekend attracted the maestro of the anti-tax movement, Grover Norquist. We’ve got the whole speech and a story about the rally here.
The Education Minnesota teachers union ousted its president over the weekend.
The Associated Press has a tick-tock of Gov. Dayton’s efforts to lure pharma firm Baxter International with a package of tax breaks, loans and other incentives to Brooklyn Park.
State Rep. Kurt Zellers had some unkind words for Wisconsin’s Leinenkugel’s beer during a debate over raising the alcohol tax. Zellers was quickly made to regret that decision, especially since his wife is a Leinie’s fan.
In Washington/National Politics
It was a big day for Minnesota Democrats on Meet the Press yesterday. Both Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Rep. Keith Ellison were guests on the program. Ellison debated Republican Rep. Peter King about whether the government should step up surveillance of Muslim communities to prevent for terror attacks.
The Star Tribune profiles Republican Rep. John Kline’s tenure as chair of the House Education and Workforce Committee and reports that being a committee chair in Congress isn’t what it used to be.
President Obama cracked a joke at GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann’s expense during the annual White House Correspondents Association Dinner this weekend.
The Washington Post says defense cuts have posed an economic quandary for liberals. They want lower defense spending, but those cuts are harming economic growth.
Air travel should be back to normal now that the U.S. House and Senate have passed bills to move FAA funds around to block the impact of the sequester on the traveling public. DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar was pleased about the legislation in an interview with MPR News.
While the bills were sold as making things easier for the public, airlines had been lobbying furiously for the change, too. Not surprisingly, the industry has been a big donor to many of Minnesota’s members of Congress.
For once, lawmakers had an upper hand against lobbyists: GOP Rep. Erik Paulsen, playing on a congressional hockey team, scored a goal against lobbyists. But as is often the case in Washington, the lobbyists won in the end.
— Rep. Erik Paulsen (@RepErikPaulsen) April 28, 2013