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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Minnesota Vikings football season ticket holders will contribute $100 million toward a new stadium by purchasing seat licenses and team owners will pay the same amount from their own pockets under an agreement signed Thursday night.
FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. -- The Bennett family was well prepared for searing heat at the Minnesota State Fair. The frozen grapes, plentiful water, white T-shirts, changes of clothes and extra deodorant helped, but were not enough to make the Rice Lake, Wis., family actually cool Tuesday. "Just waiting for ice cream," dad Greg Bennett said. Carter Bennett, 13, suggested a way to beat the heat: "The haunted house is air conditioned."
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota's largest public employee union is moving ahead with plans to organize child care providers who receive state subsidies after a federal judge tossed out a pair of lawsuits seeking to stop the work. But officials of AFSCME Council 5 have no prediction about when it could hold an election to authorize child care workers joining the union. "Right now we are busy visiting with 12,700 child care providers," AFSCME spokeswoman Jennifer Munt said Monday. "That will take some time."
ST. PAUL -- Pay attention to the Minnesota state budget: There will be a test. The test comes Nov. 4, 2014, the next general election. That is when voters decide whether to retain Democratic control of the House and governor's office, or to give Republicans another chance. (Senate seats are not on the ballot until 2016.) Signs are that the 2014 vote will be a contest between the Republican budget of the past two years and a newly enacted Democratic budget that ends in 2015.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota and Wisconsin officials say they are close to an agreement designed to return to simpler times when people who live in one state and work in the other only file one state income tax return. Legislators from both states told revenue department officials they want the issue settled sooner rather than later. Revenue officials say most details have been worked out to restore the program, but Minnesota's revenue commissioner said he needs to make sure his state does not lose money. Minnesota Gov.
The Democratic president, in what many called his first campaign swing of a re-election bid, urged the 500 people gathered in along the Cannon River to tell members of Congress: "It is time for games to stop.
Residents of the first two states Obama plans to visit, Minnesota and Iowa, closely watched Republican presidential contenders in recent days and the Democratic president wants his say, too. The 500 waiting for the president in a riverside park quietly listened to music blaring from loudspeakers for nearly three hours before his expected arrival. "This is outstanding. And how you can be 25 feet from the president of the United States is fantastic," said Mark Carlson of Northfield, Minn. He came with his wife, Katrina Karlsen, who was first in line at 4 a.m. Sunday morning to get tickets.
ST.PAUL -- Minnesota Senators heard a report from the chief of Red Wing Shoe Co., who backed their plans to help Minnesota businesses. Company President Dave Murphy told a legislative committee that his company pays much lower taxes on its Missouri plant than in Minnesota. While he said that most of the company's shareholders live in Minnesota and the company plans to stay here, he encouraged them to lower taxes if possible. Red Wing has a $52 million payroll at its headquarters and two Minnesota plants.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota legislators are considering reinstating a deal with Wisconsin so people who live in one state and work in the other do not need to file two income tax returns. A bill studying the situation is set to be included in an overall tax bill later this legislative session and Rep. Greg Davids, R-Preston, said he plans a bill to reinstate the tax reciprocity arrangement. Then-Gov. Tim Pawlenty killed the reciprocity arrangement after Wisconsin fell 17 months behind paying what it owes Minnesota. New Wisconsin Gov.