Lawmakers plead for budget ideas
Legislators need help. Minnesota lawmakers are desperate for ideas about how to balance a nearly $5.3 billion budget deficit. So top House Democrats want citizens' ideas. "Minnesotans are known for pitching in during difficult times," Speaker Mar...
Legislators need help.
Minnesota lawmakers are desperate for ideas about how to balance a nearly $5.3 billion budget deficit. So top House Democrats want citizens' ideas.
"Minnesotans are known for pitching in during difficult times," Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, DFL-Minneapolis, said. "Now is the time for citizens to send their best ideas to the Capitol."
A link to the budget solutions comment page is at the top of the House Web site, www.house.mn . Those without Internet connections may contact their local lawmakers or write to Minnesota Budget Solutions, Minnesota House of Representatives, 470 State Office Building, 100 the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul 55155,
"The economy is affecting all of us; the budget deficit will be no different," said Majority Leader Tony Sertich, DFL-Chisholm. "That's why it's so important to give every Minnesotan a simple, but effective way to share their solutions."
Democrats, who control the Legislature, promise to hold hearings about the state once Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty releases his budget in January in an effort to gauge public response.
Look, don't touch
Attorneys for Al Franken and Norm Coleman have spent a lot of time with their hands behind their backs in recent days.
Counsels for the two Minnesota U.S. Senate campaigns were told not to touch original ballots being examined by the state Canvassing Board when they go to the table to answer questions. So during the nearly week-long canvass, they regularly could be seen leaning over ballots, holding their hands behind themselves.
U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann doesn't like President George Bush's plan to tap a $700 billion fund to help American car makers.
Even before his Friday announcement that he planned to provide $17.4 billion for auto-maker loans, the Minnesota Republican told Bush not to go there.
"Congress relies too heavily on the taxpayers as an ATM," Bachmann said. "It's time for Congress to rein in government spending and pursue a pro-growth tax policy that attracts new investment, production and jobs. The real road out of this recession is through Main Street America, not Washington."
A letter Bachmann sent to Bush reminds the president that the $700 billion was meant for financial institutions, not automobile manufacturers.
Minnesota politicians say former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack should be good for the state as agriculture secretary.
"Gov. Vilsack is a strong advocate who understands the changing landscape of our nation's rural economy," said Collin Peterson, the western Minnesota Democrat who heads the House Agriculture Committee.
Added U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.: "As the former governor from our neighboring state of Iowa, Gov. Vilsack understands the unique agricultural and livestock issues that face our working farmers and ranchers. His leadership on developing the next generation of renewable fuels can help create jobs while reducing our dependence on foreign oil."
President-elect Barack Obama picked Vilsack, but senators must approve the nomination.
Reviewing more than 1,000 ballots challenged in Minnesota's U.S. Senate recount has been tedious for the state Canvassing Board, but at times it also generated interesting conversation among the board's five members:
-"I think it's silly, too, but we have to judge this on the face of the ballot." - Supreme Court Chief Justice Eric Magnuson, looking at ballot with write-in candidate "Lizard People."
-"Maybe I'm getting allergic to ballots." - Ramsey County Judge Kathleen Gearin, while sniffling.
-"That's the teacher coming out." - Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, reviewing a ballot on which the voter wrote "A+."
-"Mr. Secretary, do we know how well Mickey Mouse did overall?" - Magnuson, joking to Ritchie after seeing ballots with "Mickey Mouse" as a write-in candidate.
Don Davis and Scott Wente work for Forum Communications Co., which owns the Park Rapids Enterprise. They can be reached at email@example.com .