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Minnesota Legislative Roundup: House DFL to present bonding bill this week

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Minnesota House Democrats say they'll unveil their bonding plan for state public works projects this week and it's expected Governor Dayton will also roll out his proposal. Democrats hold comfortable majorities in both the Minnesota House and Senate and don't need Republicans' help to pass most bills -- but that's not the case with bonding packages, which need 60 percent to pass. There's speculation that Republicans could withhold votes on a bonding bill to try to get negotiating leverage with Democrats on the state budget -- in particular to try to block tax increases. House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt isn't making threats but does say we need to know where the Democrats' priorities are on spending for the next two years before we talk about borrowing additional money. But Democrats could respond to that strategy by threatening Republicans with the possibility of no bonding bill at all -- something that would hurt rural lawmakers in particular who like bonding projects to bring home to their districts. But not having a bonding bill would also hurt some D-F-L lawmakers.

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The State Patrol is expected to release more information today on an accident that killed three people on Intestate 94 in Minneapolis Sunday. Five others were injured and taken to area hospitals. Authorities say all of the dead or injured were among eight people inside a mini van that overturned Occupants of the two other vehicles were not injured. 94 was closed for about three hours, causing major traffic backups, while the accident was reconstructed.

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Minnesotans who have been on unemployment for longer than six months will find a slightly smaller total on their checks beginning this week, thanks to the sequester cuts. The 11 percent reduction in federal benefits for those getting unemployment between 27 and 63 weeks begins today (Mon). The reduction is in effect until September.

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One week from today state and federal income taxes are due. A majority of Minnesotans continue to file their returns electronically. IRS-Minnesota spokeswoman Karen Connelly says if you are expecting a refund this year and need the cash fast consider filing electronically. She says last year the IRS delivered nine-out-of-ten tax refunds in 21 days or less. For the latest tax information you can go to irs-dot-gov.(www.irs.gov)

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