Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.
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ST. PAUL -- Revenue Commissioner Myron Frans traveled the state in recent months talking to Minnesotans about the state's tax system, an extended road trip that will produce a tax reform outline in the 2013 legislative session. The current tax system is out of date, too complex and "picks winners and losers," Frans said. His boss, Gov. Mark Dayton, will release his budget and tax reform ideas by Jan. 22.
ST. PAUL -- Newly elected conservative Republican Minnesota legislative majorities and a new liberal governor took office two years ago, setting the set the stage for rocky state budget negotiations that ended in a state government shutdown. Today, there is no shutdown talk as a new crop of legislators and the governor prepare for the 2013 legislative session. 8. However, even though Democrats control the Legislature and the governor's office, and agree their main job is approving a balanced budget, the 5-month-long session will not be smooth. "Job No.
ST. PAUL -- Rod Hamilton is becoming an outspoken cheerleader for rural Minnesota. Last month, the Republican state representative from southwestern Minnesota criticized House Democrats for electing Minneapolis and St. Paul lawmakers as their leaders. Now he complains about an anti-agriculture attitude from too many in politics. "They try to demonize agriculture," Hamilton said. "It is unfortunate. People within the ag field, or everybody who has a vested interest ...
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota officials say they have tried to prepare for school shootings like one Friday in Connecticut, but there always is more they can do. "We need to collaboratively do a better job of securing those kids," said state Sen.
ST. PAUL -- The State Canvassing Board certified the winners of two legislative election recounts during a brief Tuesday meeting. Rep. Mary Franson, R-Alexandria, won by 12 votes over Democrat Bob Cunniff in the closest legislative race. Democrat Kevin Dahle heads to the Senate after the board certified his 71-vote win over Republican Mike Dudley in their district south of the Twin Cities. The four candidates dropped challenges they had made during the recounts, so the state board did not need to rule on who would be awarded the votes.
ST. PAUL -- A hand recount of 21,288 votes in a state House race begins Wednesday. Douglas County officials begin the work at 8:30 a.m. in the courthouse in Alexandria. In Otter Tail County, the recount begins at 9 a.m. Thursday in Fergus Falls. The State Canvassing Board on Tuesday approved rules governing the House District 8B recount, as well as a state Senate recount south of the Twin Cities. Rules follow those in effect for the 2008 U.S. Senate and 2010 governor elections. House District 8B is the tightest legislative race. Republican Rep.
ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota House agriculture committee chairman for the past two years is concerned Democrats are putting agriculture on the back burner as they take control of the chamber. Rep. Rod Hamilton, R-Mountain Lake, said agriculture and rural finance issues were discussed in their own committee for years. But when Democrats become the House majority on Jan.
ST. PAUL -- It is a busy, busy time in legislative offices these days. Some legislators and employees are packing up to leave after election losses or voluntary retirements. New folks are moving in.
ST. PAUL -- Americans could see their federal tax bills increase, in some cases dramatically. People who depend on federal programs may not receive services or funds they expect. Rural doctors could see payments drop. With businesses reluctant to spend money in uncertain times, finding jobs may be harder. The stock market could tumble.
ST. PAUL -- Lots of talk comes from Washington about a "fiscal cliff" approaching Dec. 31, after which all kinds of serious financial problems could appear, but that talk is subsiding. The federal government could fall off that fiscal cliff if political leaders cannot agree on measures to tame the national debt and reduce spending. But interviews with upper Midwest members of Congress show they are optimistic something will be done, and the problem will end up as what could be described as a "fiscal pothole." With tax increases and drastic spending cuts due to happen Jan.