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 - Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle appeared before the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, asking that his state get its share of money from a federal economic recovery package. Minnesota House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher and Majority Leader Tony Sertich met privately with the state's congressional delegation in Washington and again in St.
ST. PAUL - The United States needs to redevelop a transportation vision like that of 50 years ago, the House's top transportation authority says. When the interstate highway system was developed in the 1950s, U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar said Thursday, Congress approved a 3 percent gasoline tax to fund a safer, faster system. "They looked over the horizon and saw the future of America and said, 'This is the future of America,'" Oberstar told Minnesota legislative transportation committees.
ST. PAUL - Two Democratic Minnesota U.S. House committee chairmen broke on opposite sides of the economic stimulus package the House passed Wednesday night. Jim Oberstar, who serves northeast and east-central Minnesota, was one of its strongest supporters. Collin Peterson, whose district encompasses most of western Minnesota, joined 10 other Democrats and all House Republicans in voting against the measure. The $819 billion package passed 244-118.
ST. PAUL - Local governments, health providers, colleges and pretty much every other group that depends on state money took a punch in the gut today when Gov. Tim Pawlenty released his proposed budget for the next two years. Pawlenty's budget plan calls for $33.6 billion in spending, down 2 percent from the state's existing $34.4 billion budget. The announcement is the start of substantive budget discussions at the Capitol. "The upcoming budget debate should not just be about where we are now. It should be about where we're headed," Pawlenty said.
ST. PAUL -- Gov. Tim Pawlenty would chop many parts of the state budget -- including dropping 84,000 people off state-funded health care programs -- but promises to increase public school funding and keeping public safety programs mostly untouched. The Republican governor's solution to a nearly $5 billion deficit that most experts expect to grow dramatically in coming weeks included deep cuts in state aid to cities, eliminating boards governing humanities and arts programs and a 5 percent cut in most government programs.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota senators smiled Thursday when they heard about one of the few bright spots in the 2009 legislative session. In a time when lawmakers must deal with a massive budget deficit affecting nearly every state program, Sen.
ST. PAUL - Gov. Tim Pawlenty threatened, in a sense, Minnesota lawmakers in his State of the State speech. "One hundred years ago, John Johnson, another 48-year-old Minnesota governor, returned from the national campaign trail, stood on this very spot and called the state to unity, efficiency and investment," Pawlenty said, his recent history of campaigning to become John McCain's running mate left unsaid. "He dropped dead a few months later. "To my friends in the Legislature, you may not be so lucky.
ST. PAUL - Gov. Tim Pawlenty took the lead on Minnesota budget dance Thursday, calling for a variety of business tax cuts while at the same time increasing education spending. But Democrats may cut in because they don't like some of the Republican's steps. Legislators said that the wish list Pawlenty presented in his State of the State speech was the beginning of long performance. "The process is a dance," Rep.
ST. PAUL - Gov. Tim Pawlenty today pleaded with legislators not to raise Minnesotans' taxes while he also called for more education spending, but with strings attached. In his annual State of the State speech, Pawlenty also said he wants to freeze all state wages. Many of his proposals center around giving businesses tax breaks in hopes they will inspire firms to hire more Minnesotans. Pawlenty did not lay out details of his spending plan; that will come before month's end.