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
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ST. PAUL - Minnesota lawmakers now have three distinct tax proposals to consider with release of a Senate Democratic plan that includes an income tax hike, sales tax changes and property tax relief. Senate Democrats unveiled a proposal Tuesday that would increase income tax for married Minnesota couples who make about $141,000 or more taxable income.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota state representatives approved 70-64 a health-care spending bill late Monday without knowing how it would affect hospitals around the state. Most Democrats favored the bill while most Republicans opposed it. Highlighting debate was an amendment by Rep. Will Morgan, DFL-Burnsville, that the Democrat-controlled House put on the overall bill to change how funding would be distributed to hospitals. Time after time when Republican lawmakers asked Morgan how his amendment would affect hospitals.
ST. PAUL -- Maybe next year. That is what state lawmakers in charge of the transportation budget are saying about major transit and road projects, which likely will be put off because they cannot get new funds. A gasoline tax planned to be a major part of the House and Senate transportation budget proposals was yanked after Gov. Mark Dayton said Monday that he would not support it, leaving the lawmakers with a revenue hole. "We always envisioned this being a bill with a gas tax," said House Transportation Finance Chairman Frank Hornstein, DFL-Minneapolis.
ST. PAUL -- Goals of 100 percent high school graduation, every third-grader being able to read, ending an achievement gap and all students being ready for careers or college after graduation are lofty, but House Democrats say their sights are set on those accomplishments by 2017. Rep. Paul Marquart, DFL-Dilworth, said Tuesday that the $15.7 billion House Democrats want to spend on education in the next two years would "actually make a difference in the life of every single student of this state." The House education financing plan closely follows one released by Democratic Gov.
ST. PAUL -- Civil unions would give gay couples the same rights as married couples, says the sponsor of a Minnesota House proposal that is a step short of full marriage. "Government's role is to protect the individual," Rep.
A multi-school district board governing Crosswinds school in Woodbury and Harambee in Maplewood decided to give away the facilities, but Minnesota Management and Budget has ruled that the only thing it can do without legislative approval is to sell the buildings.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesotans will be able to shop for health insurance through a state marketplace beginning Oct. 1, but may not see savings for a couple of years. Minutes after Gov. Mark Dayton Wednesday signed a bill into law establishing the marketplace, to be known as MNsure, he said that it eventually will save Minnesotans money, but not until 2015 or later. Many cost savings will come from a shift in how Minnesotans get health care, the governor said.
ST. PAUL -- House Democrats today said they want to not only permanently raise income taxes on wealthy Minnesotans, but also add a temporary surcharge on the richest of the rich to repay schools. DFL leaders provided no details, but said the surcharge would bring in $854 million needed to repay schools money the state borrowed from them over recent years.
ST. PAUL -- Gov. Mark Dayton scaled back his tax requests today after hearing from the public, businesses and legislators that they were not keen on expanding the sales tax to most goods and services. "This does not allow us to do as many things as we could in a broader reform, but that is the way it is," he said in announcing changes from his initial Jan. 22 budget proposal. The governor still wants to raise taxes on the wealthiest Minnesotans more than $1 billion and increase public school and higher education spending almost that much.