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 - The Minnesota Supreme Court told Minnesota's two U.S. Senate campaigns and elections officials to decide what disputed absentee ballots should be counted in a Thursday order giving neither candidate all he wanted. A split court partially agreed with U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman, whose campaign sought to ban counting absentee ballots that local officials rejected until specific guidelines were established.
But with incumbent Republican Norm Coleman leading Democrat Al Franken by fewer than 200 votes, no one really expects a final decision this week. That decision likely will end up in court. As of late Monday afternoon, one campaign or the other had challenged nearly 1,500 ballots, claiming it was impossible to determine which candidate each voter wanted.
ST. PAUL -- The newly predicted budget deficit is making it unclear whether there will be a public works project bill in 2009. Known as a bonding bill, the Minnesota Legislature normally would pass at least a modest-sized one when it meets. However, even if no new borrowing is authorized for public works projects, the state is over a self-imposed limit for loan interest payments. The guideline does not allow more than 3 percent of the state budget to be spent on interest. Gov.
ST. PAUL -- Disaster. Crisis. Insane. Unfair. All are words Minnesota's city leaders used to describe the prospect of the state chopping payments later this month. Officials of more than 70 cities filled two legislative committee meetings Wednesday, warning that proposed Local Government Aid and other state payment reductions would have a long-lasting impact.
ST. PAUL - Local governments will be called upon to help balance the state budget. Minnesota policymakers on Tuesday made it clear that programs such as Local Government Aid paid to cities will be included in a $426 million budget balancing act. Gov.
ST. PAUL - News of a $5.3 billion state budget deficit could hit nearly every Minnesotan with program cuts or increased costs. Or it could be an opportunity to shrink state government. Or, more likely, it could be a combination of the two. It will be months before Minnesotans know how the record deficit will affect them. Gov.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota faces a historic $5.2 billion budget deficit. The deficit for the two-year budget that begins July 1 will be $4.8 billion, with the remaining $426 million coming out of the budget in the next seven months. Minnesota's two-year budget is $34 billion. Most of the problem is from lower-than-expected revenue, State Finance Commissioner Tom Hanson said. Two figures point out the problem: State revenues, such as taxes, are expected to drop 1.8 percent in the next two years compared to the current budget cycle.
ST. PAUL - The country's economy could worsen if the federal government sends aid to financially hurting states, Minnesota Gov.
ST. PAUL -- More than 3,000 Minnesota campaign volunteers and official election workers are wrapping up recounting 2.9 million ballots from U.S. Senate race, with at least 300 paid and unpaid attorneys watching. Minnesota Canvassing Board members are considering what to do about an estimated 12,000 absentee ballots that local elections officials rejected. And the board, the state's top elections authority, is to meet Dec. 16-19 to officially certify either Republican U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman or Democrat Al Franken as the man who will be Minnesota's U.S. senator beginning Jan.
ST. PAUL - A state elections board decided it does not have the authority to decide whether rejected absentee ballots in Minnesota's U.S. Senate race should be counted, but the five-member board this morning agreed that any absentee votes that were not counted should be part of an on-going recount. The vote went against a request from Democrat Al Franken's campaign that the state Canvassing Board look through thousands of absentee ballots to decide which ones should be counted. Supreme Court Justice G.