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 -- 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.
ST. PAUL -- Wrangling the numbers in a revised budget proposal forced Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton to postpone its release. His spokeswoman, Katharine Tinucci, on Tuesday tweeted the announcement will come "later in the week. Still working on final numbers." The Democratic governor released his original budget proposal on Jan. 22.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesotans either will get a better deal on health insurance or they will face problems if the Legislature and governor agree on a new way for 1.3 million Minnesotans to buy health insurance. That is how the debate boils down about a bill the Democrat-controlled House Monday night approved 72-58 over Republican protests. Rep.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesotans may not know what the word means, but starting today they begin to feel the impact of automatic and deep federal budget cuts known as "sequestration." No one knows for sure how Minnesotans will be affected, but there is widespread agreement it will be felt. U.S. Sen.
ST. PAUL -- A proposal to increase Minnesota long-term care funding could help elder care as baby boomers prepare to retire, supporters say, but overall state budget questions threaten its future. House and Senate legislators from both parties on Tuesday released a bill to increase how much money the state sends to nursing homes and the elderly who live at home. It would increase funding $56 million, which is 5 percent, each of the next two years. Sen.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesotans must loudly demand that lawmakers approve Sunday alcohol sales if the proposal has a chance to pass, its Senate sponsor says. Sen.
ST. PAUL -- Adding money to early childhood education and all-day kindergarten programs, as Gov. Mark Dayton suggests, is important to Minnesota's future, the state House education finance leader says. "Those two programs really pay dividends into the future," Rep. Paul Marquart, DFL-Dilworth, said Tuesday before he presented the Dayton budget proposal to his committee. Dayton's $15.5 billion two-year education budget proposal would be about $1 billion more than for two years ending June 30.
ST. PAUL -- Joan Peterson said Minnesota lawmakers must act to control gun violence like the shooting that killed her sister in the Twin Cities 13 years ago. "Nothing is not an option," the Duluth woman told a couple hundred people at a Monday anti-gun violence rally in the state Capitol rotunda. "There is no reason not to act." Peterson, one of several rally speakers, has worked against gun violence since her sister, Barbara Lund, was killed.