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.
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ST. PAUL -- Minnesota legislators are considering raising cigarette taxes and the cost of little cigars by classifying them cigarettes, which are taxed at a higher rate than cigars. The House taxes committee took comments about the proposals, but did not vote on either issue Thursday. It plans to return to the matters. "A majority of Minnesotans support increasing the tax on cigarettes by $1.50 per pack," ClearWay Minnesota's Molly Moilanen told the committee.
ST. PAUL -- Gov. Mark Dayton's outline for Minnesota represents a "fresh approach" to budgeting, said a freshman legislator from Woodbury. "Governor Dayton is taking a fresh approach to our state budget and priorities," Rep.
ST. PAUL -- So-called assault weapons are nothing more than fancy hunting rifles, gun supporters told a Minnesota House committee today. A federal ban on the guns that expired in 2004 did not work, Chris Rager of the National Rifle Association told the House public safety committee.
ST. PAUL -- The two sides of Minnesota's gun debate began laying out their arguments today during first of a series of legislative meetings. This morning's packed House committee meeting, with two other rooms full of people watching on television monitors, was the first of five meetings planned this week, with Senate gun meetings beginning later this month. "We all have a piece of the truth and neither side has all the answers," said Chairman Michael Paymar, DFL-St.
ST. PAUL -- Gov. Mark Dayton's budget proposal continues to play out in interesting ways, usually with Republicans strongly opposed and Democrats more mildly in support. Rep. Matt Dean, R-Dellwood, told a top Dayton official that the budget, especially the tax increase portions, "makes it more difficult to compete" with states nearby where governors are trying to lower taxes. "This budget looks to many of us like a good deal for government," Dean said, but not for business or the average Minnesotan. Rep.
ST. PAUL -- President Barack Obama's Minneapolis appearance Monday will be at a Minneapolis Police Department facility, and not open to the public. The president will talk about his plan to curtail gun violence with local political and law enforcement leaders, the White House says. No public events are planned. "Minneapolis is a city that has taken important steps to reduce gun violence and foster a conversation in the community about what further action is needed," a White House statement said.
Minnesotans would pay taxes on clothing worth more than $100, rich Minnesotans' income tax would increase and property taxes would fall under a proposal released by Gov. Mark Dayton at mid-day. The Democratic governor proposes tax increases more than $2 billion, to be used to pave over a $1.1 billion budget deficit and increase spending for education and jobs programs. Key to the Dayton budget is increasing taxes on the top 2 percent of Minnesota earners. For instance, that would up taxes on 883 people in St.
ST. PAUL -- One in five Minnesotans are expected to buy health insurance offered by a mostly online marketplace that a newly written bill would establish. The marketplace, known as a health care exchange, is required by federal law known as Obamacare and must be in place by Oct. 31. "A Minnesota-based exchange allows Minnesota the opportunity to modernize our public systems," state Sen. Tony Lourey, DFL-Kerrick, said. The bill Lourey and Rep.