Gov. Mark Dayton has signed a bill providing hundreds of thousands of Minnesota taxpayers with extra deductions and exemptions they can claim on this year’s tax forms. Dayton signed the $434 million relief package Friday, soon after both the House and Senate approved it by lopsided margins. In a statement, Dayton says the tax cuts will put “more money in the pockets of Minnesota families and businesses” and “make taxes simpler for Minnesotans.”
Republican gubernatorial contender Kurt Zellers needs to update his campaign biography: He’s now a father of three.
An expensive office building for lawmakers at the Capitol is facing new scrutiny. The four-story glass, steel and stone complex would sit across the street from the Capitol, and include offices for 45 of Minnesota’s 67 state senators. But the cost and design are raising eyebrows, even from supporters like Gov. Mark Dayton, who called the project “overly lavish.”
Leaders of the Minnesota Senate say they hope to pass a $434 million tax relief measure on Thursday, though it’s not clear if differences with a House version will delay its path to Gov. Mark Dayton.
Besides being the seat of state government, the Minnesota Capitol is practically an art gallery, filled with murals of historic scenes and allegorical images of virtues the building’s designers hoped to see in their leaders: wisdom, courage, integrity. But almost 110 years after the Statehouse opened, a massive renovation project has provoked a mild but deeply felt debate about the artwork, with some lawmakers hoping to update a calcified collection and others committed to leaving it unchanged. An impromptu remark by Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton helped spark the discussion when he wondered during a renovation-related meeting whether his reception room really needed six paintings of Civil War scenes.
Minnesota lawmakers are getting nowhere over how to resolve constitutional questions about the state’s sex offender treatment program, but the same can’t be said about the program’s costs. They’re going somewhere — up. About 50 new patients enter the program every year, a growth rate that threatens to swamp existing facilities in the next few years. A Senate committee on Thursday will review a request for $7.4 million this year to renovate and expand the St. Peter treatment center; another $30 million or more is on the drawing board for future growth there and in Moose Lake.
The up-and-down medical marijuana bill at the Capitol may be down again. Top lawmakers in the House and Senate say it’s not likely to pass this year. Advocates of legalizing medical marijuana are hoping to make Minnesota the 20th state in the country to do so. Thursday, the advocates said it’s possible to pass it this year. But it’s not about medicine at this point at the Capitol; it’s about math.
New Minnesota job numbers are showing steady recovery from the worst days of the recession just a few years ago.
Minnesota legislative leaders sniped at each other Friday for a lack of progress in fixing the state’s sex offender treatment program despite a federal judge’s urging for fast action to correct it. Lawmakers acknowledged that no talks on the subject have occurred in about a month.
A month after instant “scratch-off” Minnesota Lottery ticket sales went live on the Internet, the pioneering venture faces a high-powered threat at the Capitol. The Senate leaders of both parties and tax committee heads in both chambers are seeking a one-sentence change in state law to permanently turn off the new portal for gambling. Among other issues, lawmakers are upset that lottery officials introduced the games without seeking their approval through explicit legislation allowing it.
Minnesota’s bid to host the 2018 Super Bowl has led to discussions about potential tax breaks. Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and legislative leaders were meeting privately Wednesday about tax changes that could be needed to land football’s premier game. Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk has said previously that the league expects cities that host the championship game will exempt player salaries from the income tax and lift taxes on game tickets.
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton says there’s still time in the legislative session to negotiate an agreement on medical marijuana.
Restaurant and resort owners were at the Capitol Monday, lobbying against the proposed increase in the minimum wage. They say most servers already make well over the minimum wage when you factor in tips. Some said the increase would force them to lay off employees and raise prices, and they are trying to get lawmakers to carve out exceptions to the current proposed increase.
Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton’s goal of enacting a bill cutting and repealing taxes by next Friday appears unlikely to be met. Assistant Majority Leader Katie Sieben said Friday it will be “difficult” for that chamber to pass a plan by then. The House voted 126-2 on Thursday for $500 million in tax reductions on businesses and for state income tax filers.
Gov. Mark Dayton is urging final action by mid-March on a package of tax breaks and the repeal of some recently adopted business taxes.