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Kurt Zeller

Apr 13, 2011

Minnesota’s budget showdown could threaten the state’s credit rating

Minnesota has traditionally enjoyed high marks from the three primary credit rating agencies - Moody's Investors Service, Standard & Poor's and Fitch Ratings. Starting in 1997, all three firms gave the state their highest Aaa rating. But in 2003 Moody's downgraded Minnesota's bond rating to Aa1, citing concerns about balancing the state's books through volatile, short-term fixes. The assessmen[...]

Apr 6, 2011

GOP budget meets conservative backlash

In their efforts to assemble and pass an all-cuts budget, Republican legislative leaders have found themselves engaged in a session-long game of whack-a-mole within their own caucuses. Pockets of discord continue to surface periodically within Republican legislative ranks, compelling the leadership to defuse tensions. Now, however, the pressures are coming from the caucuses' right flank.

Apr 6, 2011

Howes chases ‘just in case’ bonding bill

So far in 2011, calls by Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and labor unions for a large bonding bill have fallen on deaf ears at the GOP-controlled Legislature.

Apr 6, 2011

Clock is no ally in Vikings stadium push

The debate over how to fund a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings has always divided legislative caucuses on both sides of the aisle. Last year DFLers from Minneapolis pushed back on a proposal that suggested extending local taxes from the Convention Center to help pay for the project, even as Democrats like former Senate Taxes Chairman Tom Bakk led the charge for the team's new home.

Apr 1, 2011

Board plays a critical role in keeping GOP together

Former Republican Rep. Dave Bishop remembers sitting in the office of then-House Speaker Steve Sviggum, trying to calm him down. Sviggum was fuming, as Bishop recalls, because he had just been voted down on an issue by the executive board, a small group of GOP representatives that serve as caucus advisers to the speaker of the House of Representatives.

Mar 18, 2011

Freshman midterms – which new members are getting the most exposure and best reviews?

The scene was unusual for most Capitol regulars. At an early-session press conference, newly minted House Republican leaders Kurt Zellers and Matt Dean introduced the first symbolic bills of their newfound majority. Standing at their side were the bill authors - two first-time legislators just a few weeks removed from their swearing-in.

Mar 17, 2011

Rep. Buesgens stopped by police, may have violated DWI probation

Republican Rep. Mark Buesgens was stopped by police Wednesday evening after having a drink in St. Paul, a possible violation of his probation from a drunk driving arrest late last year.

Mar 11, 2011

GOP budget targets ax $3.6B

House and Senate Republican leaders released their 2012-13 budget targets Thursday, and the numbers, predictably, raised more questions than they answered about what state government will look like if the GOP Legislature prevails over DFL Gov. Mark Dayton in balancing a $5 billion projected deficit.

Feb 16, 2011

HHS and LGA funding choices draw mixed reaction

Republican leaders' response to Gov. Mark Dayton's budget proposal was no surprise. On Tuesday afternoon they savaged the plan, which aims to solve the $6.2 billion budget deficit in large part through new taxes projected to raise $4.1 billion. The legislative leaders say his budget proposal would give Minnesota the highest state income tax bracket in the country and drive businesses away.

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