1.) Sen. Karin Housley, St. Marys Point, confirmed to MinnPost that she is mulling a gubernatorial bid, saying she planned to make her decision some time early in 2014. Should she choose to run, Housley would be the seventh GOP candidate but the first woman to declare for that race, a distinction she thinks could serve her well. “Not to diminish the male candidates,” Housley said, “but you do bring a whole new perspective. Not the same old, same old.” Housley had a relatively nondescript year as a freshman in the Senate last year, but is still well-known among Republicans, in part due to her marriage to retired National Hockey League star Phil Housley. Housley’s husband and four children are on board with the idea of her running for the GOP nomination, as are a number of women’s and business groups that have been recruiting her to join the race. “The month of January will be enough time to get everything in order and jump in,” Housley said.
2.) State tax revenues came in above projections yet again for the month of November, according to Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB), which announced yesterday that collections were $30 million (2.4 percent) above estimates. Sales taxes were the biggest boon to the state last month, coming in $17 million above the $411 million projection, while individual income tax receipts ($485 million) were virtually even with the revenue projection.
3.) Senate Taxes Committee chair Sen. Rod Skoe, DFL-Clearbrook, often exhibited a streak of independence during the 2013 session, and now seems comfortable joining Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk as a contradictory voice on the debate over what to do with the projected state budget surplus. In an interview with Minnesota Public Radio, Skoe differs from House Taxes Committee chair Rep. Ann Lenczewski, DFL-Bloomington, and Gov. Mark Dayton, both of whom think part of the surplus should be spent on business-to-business sales tax repeals and a move toward federal tax conformity. Skoe, like Bakk, said he favors the idea of replenishing the state’s budget reserves, and would go only so far as to say he would review Dayton’s priorities heading into the 2014 session.
COMINGS & GOINGS
- AFSCME campaign veteran former Minneapolis City Council member Jim Niland has been detailed to the DFL Party’s elections team for 2014, the Star Tribune reports. Niland announced his move on Tuesday, saying his chief responsibility would be get-out-the-vote work for Democrats.
- Former GOP House member Dave Hancock will seek the seat he lost in 2012 to Rep. Roger Erickson, DFL-Baudette, according to Beltrami County GOP chairman Ken Cobb, who tweeted yesterday that Hancock plans to pursue the Republican endorsement in that district. Last year, Erickson, a retired teacher, ousted the GOP incumbent handily, winning more than 54 percent of the vote in House District 2A.
- IT behemoth Unisys has retained lobbyists Joe Bagnoli and Sarah Psick of McGrann Shea Carnival Straughn & Lamb, doubling its advocacy team from that firm.
- At noon, the University of Minnesota Humphrey School of Public Affairs is holding a forum discussion featuring former U.S. Reps. Martin Sabo and Gil Gutnknecht on the recent federal government shutdown. The event will be held in the school’s Humphrey Forum, with professor Larry Jacobs and former House Speaker Steve Sviggum booked as moderators.
- Independent lobbyist and former legislator Chris DeLaForest has registered to advocate for the Marijuana Policy Project, which plans to push legislation to legalize medicinal marijuana use next year.
- The University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum has terminated its relationship with five lobbyists, including Roger Moe, Jerry Seck of Larkin Hoffman Daly & Lindgren and Marnie Falk. The terminations leave the school’s garden and tree destination site without any current representation at the Capitol.