Danielle Killey covers local government for the South Washington County Bulletin. She has worked as a reporter for other Forum Communications newspapers since 2011. She graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with a journalism degree.
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ST. PAUL — House Majority Leader Erin Murphy and Rep. Paul Marquart stood side-by-side Tuesday introducing House Democrats’ education funding plan. Murphy, DFL-St. Paul, praised Marquart’s work as education finance chairman: "He has done such a fantastic job." Indeed, politics can make unexpected allies. Marquart had challenged Murphy to lead the House Democratic-Farmer-Labor caucus after last November’s elections. Rep.
ST. PAUL – Minnesota representatives approved increasing by $150 million spending on state colleges and universities. "Higher education, perhaps more than any other area, has been neglected for a long time," said Rep. Jay McNamar, DFL-Elbow Lake. "This increase will help make college more affordable for Minnesota students. We still have work to do, but this is a good start." The House voted 86-44 Thursday on the $2.7 billion funding plan that directs much of its money toward making college more affordable.
ST. PAUL – Minnesota Democrats and Republicans agree on at least one thing: The House tax plan raises a lot of money. “It’s a large increase, but it has to happen,” said Rep. Erik Simonson, DFL-Duluth. “Somebody has to step up to the plate, be a leader and make the tough decisions, and that’s what we’re here to do.” House members voted 69-64 Wednesday to approve a tax bill that Democrats say will fund key investments and Republicans say will hit everyone hard.
ST. PAUL – Minnesota lawmakers now have three distinct tax proposals to consider with release of a Senate Democratic plan that includes an income tax hike, sales tax changes and property tax relief. Senate Democrats unveiled a proposal Tuesday that would increase income tax for married Minnesota couples who make about $141,000 or more taxable income. They also would lower the sales tax rate while expanding what is taxed to include clothing and other goods and some services.
ST. PAUL – Jon Riewer said his organization faces funding shortages, losing employees and struggling to provide care to the elderly and disabled. “At this point I would classify our situation as fairly desperate,” said Riewer, CEO and president of Moorhead-based Eventide Senior Living Communities. Riewer said Eventide is not alone among nursing home and other care facilities and state lawmakers’ budget proposals for health and human services do not help them with the dilemma.
ST. PAUL – Republican lawmakers said an environment and agriculture budget bill the House approved 69-61 Thursday is loaded with too-high fees and wasteful spending. “This agriculture and environment finance proposal is loaded with staggering fee increases that will impact hardworking taxpayers in every income bracket,” said Rep. Denny McNamara, R-Hastings. Bill author Rep. Jean Wagenius, DFL-Minneapolis, said the money will help manage water issues throughout the state, stem the spread of invasive species and fund agriculture programs.
ST. PAUL – A decision by Minnesota State University Moorhead to make a controversial figure a visiting scholar led state senators to argue whether public colleges and universities should be allowed to host or honor terrorists. Senators adopted a provision 58-6 Wednesday requiring the University of Minnesota and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities systems to develop policies for paying for travel, hosting or honoring admitted or convicted terrorists.
ST. PAUL – House Democrat leaders say they need to raise taxes on the richest Minnesotans’ incomes, alcohol and cigarettes to make funding top priorities possible.
ST. PAUL — Maybe next year. That is what state lawmakers in charge of the transportation budget are saying about major transit and road projects, which will likely be put off because they cannot get new funds. A gasoline tax planned to be a major part of the House and Senate transportation budget proposals was yanked after Gov. Mark Dayton said Monday he would not support it, leaving the lawmakers with a revenue hole.