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Tag Archives: Kurt Zeller

Budget agreement could hinge on policy, bonding measures

With less than a month to go before the Legislature is constitutionally required to adjourn, the GOP-controlled House and Senate find themselves fundamentally at odds with DFL Gov. Mark Dayton on the role of new tax revenues in fixing the state's $5 billion deficit. Dayton is pushing for about $2.5 billion in tax increases to help close the budget deficit, while Republicans are continuing to espouse an all-cuts budget.

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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 assessments of the three firms have remained fixed ever since.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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