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
- 4 years 10 months
ST. PAUL - Rural Minnesota provides the state with its only good news in an otherwise dismal economy. High grain prices, especially, provide farmers more money to spend than they have seen in years.
ST. PAUL - Minnesotans can expect state government budget cuts like they have not seen for five years, thanks to a tanking national economy. Classrooms apparently will be exempt from the reductions, but it will be weeks before legislators decide how to plug a $935 million budget gap. The deficit Finance Department officials announced Thursday is "series, but solvable," Gov. Tim Pawlenty said. Some money to fill the budget gap will come from reserves set aside at the end of last year's legislative session, Pawlenty and legislative leaders said.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota Senate Democrats want to spend more money on college building renovation and other public works projects than the governor, saying success in passing a transportation funding bill freed money for projects they otherwise could not afford. The bill, which passed its first committee test shortly after senators saw it on Tuesday night, would borrow $965 million, the same as Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty. When combined with cash expenditures, both proposals top $1 billion. The House has yet to compile its public works plan, known as a bonding bill. Sen.
ST. PAUL - The big legislative issue is settled, now attention turns to the really big issue. After lawmakers Monday overrode a transportation funding bill veto, state officials prepared for what will be a more difficult task: how to fix a budget deficit that some say could top $1 billion. And if Gov.
ST. PAUL - The top Minnesota House Republican punished six colleagues for not voting the "right way" Monday on a transportation funding bill. "We want positive leadership from Republicans," House Minority Leader Marty Seifert, R-Marshall, said Tuesday of his rare move. "They are not doing the right thing on the floor." Leadership positions such as being top Republican on a committee and holding the title of assistant whip were ripped away from the six.
ST. PAUL - The Minnesota Legislature's first week brought a much-acclaimed funding measure for arts and outdoors programs. On Week 2, a transportation funding bill passed. The session's upcoming third week, however, no doubt will be a downer as some predict that a state budget deficit could top $1 billion. A November outlook put the deficit at $373 million, but legislative leaders now expect something more than twice that. House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, DFL-Minneapolis, said on Friday that her intelligence is that Gov.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota and North Dakota senators promise they will fight to hold airline executives to a promise that small communities' air service will fare well if a merger produces the world's largest airline. "Show us that this will happen," U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., said she will demand from chief executive officers of Northwest Airlines and Delta Air Lines after they said service away from Northwest's Minneapolis-St. Paul hub would benefit from any merger. Klobuchar and Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., talked about a possible merger Wednesday after a joint St.
ST. PAUL - The road to more transportation funding may be southwest Minnesota's Highway 60. A small provision tucked into a big highway and transit funding package would benefit that rural stretch of highway - and it could sway at least one vote when the Minnesota House and Senate take up the $7.7 billion package today. "It is part of discussion I have been having with the (transportation committee) chair and the speaker and others in order to get the No. 1 priority in our district," Rep.
ST. PAUL - Gov. Tim Pawlenty implemented a hiring freeze Tuesday amid expectations that the state budget deficit will grow. "Considering the current economic slowdown, it is important that state government take steps to reign in costs, utilize technology and improve productivity just as private businesses, non-profits and families are doing," Pawlenty wrote to his commissioners and state board executive directors. In late November, a state report predicted a $373 million deficit during the current two-year budget.
ST. PAUL - Kristen Farrell is an educated, young Minnesotan who estimates she spent 15 hours fighting with Sprint mobile telephone representatives. At one point, she said, she was transferred from one customer service representative to another until she had gone through what she estimated to be 15 of them.