Lawmakers are back in St. Paul today for the final month of the legislative session. The parties have yet to agree on a budget plan and are only beginning the redistricting process that will shape the political dynamic of the state for the next decade.
The Republican leadership and Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton enter the final phase of this session fresh from a round of bashing the other side. Gov. Dayton was on MPR yesterday sticking to his proposed budget.
“Now the House and Senate have each passed one based on some very questionable assumptions so they have about a $1.2 billion gap,” Dayton told MPR’s Midmorning. “They can’t even produce their own balanced budget, so I mean it’s fine to talk about mine. But their job now is to pass their own budget and then we can all look and see how does their budget compare to mine.”
Listen to the full hour of Dayton’s interview with MPR:
Republican leaders were touring the state while Dayton made his case in St. Paul.
Minnesota lawmakers enter final month of session
“We have 4 weeks left and we have a big budget to finish,” Republican Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch said.Time is running out and Republican leaders would like to say one thing.”We’re not raising taxes,” Koch said firmly in Rochester (KAAL).
Republicans stop in Moorhead to promote party’s budget plan
Paul Marquart, a Democratic House member from Dilworth, said the Republican proposal shifts the state’s financial problems onto local governments, many of which, he said, will have to raise property taxes and/or reduce services if the Republican plan is adopted (Fargo Forum).
Republican leaders conduct budget-balancing fly-around
More efficiency would go a long way to streamline efforts, she said, but the $34 billion budget the Republicans are proposing is the same as for the last two years. They said Gov. Mark Dayton’s proposed budget would increase taxes by $2.4 billion and increase government spending 22 percent (Bemidji Pioneer).
GOP leaders say cuts necessary to curb deficit during event in St. Cloud
Republican legislators cast themselves as responsible captains righting a state fiscal ship gone adrift (St. Cloud Times).
Dayton’s appearance on MPR made news elsewhere with his comments that the Vikings should be paying a larger portion of the new stadium. Publicly funded stadiums are raise concerns across the political spectrum. Field of Schemes provides an interesting read of stadium debates across the country.
Dayton: Little time left for redistricting this year
“With only four weeks remaining in this legislative session, little time remains for adopting principles and developing a bipartisan plan this year,” Dayton wrote, responding to a letter from House Redistricting Committee Chair Sarah Anderson (Star Tribune).
Democrats blast Cravaack on Medicare changes
In February, before freshman Republican U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack had even taken a vote on Medicare, left-leaning groups made it clear they would use the issue to try to define Cravaack as out of touch with his district (Duluth News Tribune).
Fergus Falls snow budget will be stretched this year
The late snow is also digging in to the city’s snow removal budget, and Public Works Director Anne Martens said that the budget will likely be stretched to its limit by the end of the year (Fergus Falls Journal).
600 additional workers to help Prairie Island Nuclear Plant maintenance project
Prairie Island nuclear plant is gearing up for another refueling outage. Plant officials have said the outage is set to begin sometime between now and the end of the month. Xcel Energy will send out an announcement when the plant goes offline (Republican-Eagle).
A cosmic sound
The Galactic Cowboy Orchestra is four-member instrumental outfit with local roots that combines elements of jazz, blues, rock, and world music elements, throwing in personal touches and creating a sound they’ve dubbed “newgrass art-rock” (Austin Daily Herald).
Today’s photo comes from Stephen Hogland.