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
- 2 years 2 weeks
ST. PAUL - Al Franken took a lead today on what is supposed to be the final day the state Canvassing Board considers challenged U.S. Senate ballots. But with thousands of other ballots still not counted, the lead could be short lived. Franken entered today with a single-digit deficit to incumbent U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman.
Minnesota's budget deficit has produced lots of talk about reforming state government, especially from Gov. Tim Pawlenty. The Republican governor announced he will convene a summit on the subject on Jan. 5, the day before the Legislature returns to St. Paul. It will include "people from the right, the left, the center," he promised. "We want to make sure we are harvesting the best ideas," he said. The summit will be charged with the task of finding how to streamline state government.
U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., says the American economy can best be helped if taxes are not collected for a short time. "In this sagging economy, our nation's taxpayers are really hurting, and this year's marathon of bailouts hurts them more than ever," she said. "I come here today to support the tax holiday legislation because it's time that Washington bail out Americans, not bury them with extraordinary debt." Federal taxes would be suspended in January and February under the bill she co-sponsors. Democrats who control Congress are not expected to back the idea.
Minnesota's public broadcasters will get funds to help convert to digital transmissions. A $792,000 Corporation for Public Broadcasting grant is the country's second largest, said Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., who has worried that many Minnesotans will be left out of next year's digital conversion. "Preparing for the digital transition is especially important for Minnesota." Klobuchar said. "More than 21 percent of our households depend exclusively on over-the-air broadcast TV. They will be most affected by the transition.
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 -- 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. Tim Pawlenty also announced he plans to implement a state worker pay freeze and urged local governments to follow suit as they are finishing next year's budgets. "We want to make sure we are leading by example," Pawlenty told reporters during an Associated Press legislative preview meeting.
ST. PAUL - A historic budget deficit of $5.2 billion faces Minnesota policymakers. The deficit for the two-year budget that begins July 1 will be $4.8 billion, The Associated Press reported, with the remaining $426 million coming out of the budget in the next six months. When Gov. Tim Pawlenty took office in 2003, he faced a then-record nearly $4.6 billion deficit. The Minnesota Constitution requires the state have a balanced budget.
ST. PAUL -- U.S. Senate recount activity slowed on Saturday, with only a handful of locations active. With 66 percent of the 2.9 million ballots recounted by Saturday night, Republican U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman's lead over Democrat Al Franken grew a few votes from Friday to 167, when his 215-vote pre-recount lead is adjusted by the recount totals. His lead had dwindled every day of the recount. However, challenged ballots continued to be the big story Saturday.
Frivolous: (adjective). 1 a: of little weight or importance. b: having no sound basis (as in fact or law) "a frivolous lawsuit" 2 a: lacking in seriousness. b: marked by unbecoming levity -- Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary ST. PAUL -- Minnesota's U.S. Senate recount turned frivolous Friday. Each campaign accused the other of engaging in frivolous challenges, actions campaigns can use to claim that a voter's candidate pick on a ballot is not clear. On Friday night, the secretary of state's office reported 747 ballots challenged by Republican U.S. Sen.
ST. PAUL -- The number of disputed ballots dramatically rose in the second day of Minnesota's U.S. Senate race recount, making them the key to who eventually wins. By Thursday night, 734 ballots had been challenged, a figure that dwarfs the 215-vote margin Republican U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman led Democratic challenger Al Franken before the recount began Wednesday. A state board will look at each challenged ballot to see who, if anyone, gets that vote. The two campaigns challenged more than twice as many ballots Thursday as they did on the recount's first day.