STAFF BLOG CAPITOL CHATTER Budget problem 'sinking in slowly'
Minnesota legislators are a month away from their deadline to send all tax and budget bills to Gov. Tim Pawlenty, but there is a doubt whether Minnesotans understand the state faces a serious budget p... Posted on 4/10/09 at 9:01 AM
The fundamental disagreement about how to help Minnesotans financially — cutting business taxes or providing tax relief to citizens — captured the spotlight Wednesday as Republicans push business-tax cut bills through the Minnesota Legislature.
By Don Davis and Danielle Nordine
, March 21, 2012
The GOP plan leaves out or drastically trims most city projects, such as civic centers in St. Cloud and Rochester. Among items not in the House bill is a $4.75 million request to build a wellness center in Wadena to replace facilities destroyed by a 2010 tornado.
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton signed off this year on policies that cut aid to local governments and the elimination of a popular tax credit for property owners. He says he didn't want those changes, but says he had to compromise with legislative leaders.
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton this morning criticized Sen. David Hann, R-Eden Prairie, for blocking the state from getting federal funds for programs ranging from regulating water wells to those that would keep elderly Minnesotans in their homes longer. Hann had no immediate comment.
Late next week, a newly created state authority expects to finalize a sale of bonds leveraging a portion of its 1998 tobacco lawsuit settlement. But it will deprive the state of a revenue stream, making for future budget headaches.
Twice, money from the state's landmark 1998 settlement of a lawsuit against Big Tobacco allowed deficits to be addressed without cutting more deeply (which DFLers opposed) or raising statewide tax rates (which Republicans opposed.) Once upon a time, the bulk of the settlement money was to go to "permanent" health-care endowments and as continuing yearly payments to the state's general fund. Then the money proved irresistible.
Five days after DFL Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican leaders struck a tentative deal to end Minnesota's government shutdown, nearly all of the talks to finalize a budget proposal have taken place in private, blocking out the public and raising questions about whether legislators and the administration are violating the law. "Finally the real work of actually writing the state budget is happening, and it's happening behind closed doors," one DFL legislator said. "It's a pretty pathetic process for spending $35.4 billion."
Mike Kaszuba and Baird Helgeson
, July 19, 2011
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