1.) Minnesota Management and Budget announced Tuesday afternoon that state revenue collections are about $54 million ahead of projections through the first four months of the 2014 fiscal year. The updated annual figure comes thanks to higher than expected tax collections for the month of October; the state pulled in $1.6 billion in revenues last month, roughly $56 million above earlier estimations. October income tax collections came in at $718 million, $30 million more than projected, while sales and corporate income taxes essentially matches expectations.
2.) A pair of ex-legislators have come out in support of Secretary of State Mark Ritchie‘s online voter registration system, with both saying Ritchie was correctly interpreting the relevant statute, according to Minnesota Public Radio. Former Rep. Matt Entenza and former Sen. Deanna Wiener, who now chairs the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board, said Ritchie is right in his assertion that online registration is allowed under the Uniform Electronic Transaction Act of 2000. The two DFLers co-sponsored that bill, and now say its parameters should include elections law, though that issue apparently did not arise during the debate over the legislation’s passage more than a dozen years ago. Wiener argued that, to her way of thinking, the allowance of electronic signatures for business transactions should also apply to voting registrations. “If it’s done for businesses, I don’t understand why it couldn’t be done for voters.” Rep. Greg Davids, R-Preston, also an author of the original bill, disagrees, and said Ritchie was exploiting “a loophole that needs to be closed.” Conservative groups have filed suit against Ritchie’s new program, with a number of GOP House members signed on as co-plaintiffs.
3.) Gov. Mark Dayton released his tax returns yesterday, as did one of his more prominent opponents competing for the Republican gubernatorial nomination. Dayton disclosed $343,000 worth of income last year, the majority of which came from capital gains and investment dividends, according to the Star Tribune. Sen. Dave Thompson, R-Lakeville, also voluntarily published his earnings for 2012, disclosing $198,000 in combined income owing to legal work, Twin Cities Power LLC, his wife’s salary and his legislative pay. GOP hopeful Jeff Johnson also said he would make his tax returns public, though he said he would decline to include his wife’s income records, while fellow Republicans Rep. Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, and Scott Honour, were unresponsive to the newspaper’s inquiry.