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The Capitol Note: Dayton ups his budget offer by $100 million

Mike Mullen//April 25, 2014//

The Capitol Note: Dayton ups his budget offer by $100 million

Mike Mullen//April 25, 2014//

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1) Gov. Mark Dayton has offered to spend roughly $262 million in his supplemental budget proposal, up roughly $100 million from his original plan, as part of divvying up Minnesota’s $1.2 billion surplus, Minnesota Public Radio reports.

The offer puts Dayton in between the Senate, which sits at $210 million, and the House, which has proposed $323 in additional spending. Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk initially discussed the governor’s offer with reporters on Wednesday.

“This is all spending that I believe is essential for the security and the well-being of the people of Minnesota,” Dayton said. Legislative leaders “have some of their own ideas, too. That’s why we need some give and take here.”

2) A roughly $850 million Senate bonding proposal — in line with the House’s plan — is expected to drop next week, but it could grow if DFL lawmakers have their way. Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk said on Wednesday that he’s asked Republican leaders in both chambers to help pass a bill above $1 billion.

“Part of the reason we haven’t released a bill is I’ve been trying to negotiate with both the House and Senate Republicans for a larger target, and Sen. [David] Hann is actually caucusing an offer I made to him yesterday to see if Republicans are interested in a larger target number,” Bakk, DFL-Cook, told reporters Wednesday afternoon.

For the moment, at least, House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt said he’s rejecting the offer, but did not foreclose the possibility of reaching a new arrangement. Hann didn’t return calls for comment.

Sen. LeRoy Stumpf, who heads the bonding committee in the Senate, said on Thursday that it’s practical to play his cards close to the vest. The proposal’s release, which has been fluid, was delayed from Friday to Monday, and possibly beyond — not uncommon during high-stakes Capitol negotiations.

“It’s like … when you see one of those dandelions that’s just so ripe, you know?” said Stumpf, DFL-Plummer . “The wind comes along – poof, so there’s very little possibility of slowing things down once it’s released.”

The House plan has $125 million in cash spending on top of the bonds, while the Senate has $265 million in cash. Dayton’s $986 million bonding and infrastructure package doesn’t include cash spending.

3) The House and Senate are hammering out the differences between this session’s second round of tax bills, but the chambers are coming from two very different places. Lawmakers from each house, some meeting for the first time, sat down on Thursday, to discuss broad priorities. “The House really wants property tax relief,” House Taxes Committee Chairwoman Ann Lenczewski said. “We’re very serious about that.”

The Senate, meanwhile, wants to clean up provisions relating to local governments. But a couple of House amendments to provide tax relief to certain students and to attract businesses to Minnesota could get expensive. Aid to parents who have children with disabilities on the Senate side is an expensive proposition there. And, though Minnesota has a surplus now, all eyes are on the tails.

“They’re kind of talking our language right now,” GOP Rep. Greg Davids said, referring to the committee’s Democrats. “And we like that.”


  • Lobbyist and former Senate communications staffer Beau Berentson will take over as the new director of communications and public affairs with the Minnesota Judicial Branch, Minnesota Lawyer reports. Berentson, currently a lobbyist for the Association of Minnesota Counties, will succeed John Kostouros in that post effective May 21.
  • Hospitality Minnesota, the chief organization representing hotels, restaurants and resorts, has registered a new political action committee. Jim Benson, owner/operator of the Grand View Lodge and a longtime board member of Hospitality Minnesota, signed on as the PAC’s chairman.
  • Yolandita Colon, a pastor at the Maranatha Minneapolis Church, registered her candidacy to run as the Independence Party of Minnesota’s nominee in House District 62A, now represented by veteran incumbent Rep. Karen Clark, DFL-Minneapolis.
  • Minnesota NORML, the chief organizing group pushing for full legalization of marjiuana, has registered a lobbyist in the form of Troy Baker. It’s Baker’s first such role in the state, and he becomes that group’s first lobbyist on record.
  • Democrat Bruce Folken has registered to run in House District 57A, for the seat currently held by Rep. Tara Mack, R-Apple Valley. Folken has worked previously as a salesman with the American Greetings card company.
  • A new political advocacy fund has been formed to represent the interests of the TwinWest Chamber of Commerce. The TwinWest Business PAC registered earlier this week, listing Jan Kruchoski as its chair.

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