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Minnesota Government Update


July 17, 2009



2010 Gubernatorial Race Update
The list of official candidates for the 2010 Governor's race continues to grow. Those who have officially filed on the Republican side are:
  • Patricia Anderson (former state Auditor)
  • Tom Emmer (state Representative from Delano)
  • Bill Haas (former state Representative from Champlin)
  • David Hann (state Senator from Eden Prairie)
  • Philip Herwig (from Milaca)
  • Paul Kohls (state Representative from Victoria)
  • Marty Seifert (state Representative from Marshall)
 
Official filers on the DFL side are:
  • Tom Bakk (state Senator from Cook)
  • Mark Dayton (former U.S. Senator)
  • Matt Entenza (former state Representative from Saint Paul)
  • Susan Gaertner (Ramsey County Attorney)
  • Steve Kelley (former state Senator)
  • John Marty (state Senator from Roseville)
  • Ole Savior (perennial candidate)
  • Paul Thissen (state Representative from Minneapolis)
 
A few candidates have announced they are not running, including former U.S. Congressman Jim Ramstad. In a statement this week, Ramstad said he plans to continue his public service, but that it will not be as Governor. Many more potential candidates have expressed an interest in running, but have not officially filed papers, yet.

Bonding Season Started
The office of Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB) released a preliminary list of bonding requests this week. The preliminary list of capitol projects total $2.65 billion. State agencies requested about $2 billion; approximately $620 million is from local governments. Governor Tim Pawlenty will submit his Strategic Capital Budget to the Legislature by Jan. 15, 2010. The MMB and the Department of Administration will work together with agencies and higher education institutions to detail the project requests and finalize cost estimates.
 
House Capital Investments Committee Chair Alice Hausman (DFL-Saint Paul) suggested the overall capital investment projects total approved by the Governor and the Legislature would fall in the $600 to $700 million range. The capital investments will be dependent upon the November revenue forecast and how much debt the state can afford. Currently, the state revenues are $150 million below the February 2009 forecast.

Legacy Act Allows Minnesota to Shop for More State-Owned Land
Money from Minnesota's Clean Water, Land and Legacy sales tax increase is paying for the state's largest forest preservation deal. Last year, voters passed a constitutional amendment increasing sales tax by three-eights of a percent. The increase will generate up to $400 million over the next two years to pay for outdoor and cultural initiatives. The forest preservation deal will cost taxpayers $36 million and will give the state permanent land rights and ensure public access to approximately 187,000 acres of forest land over seven counties. The land is located near Grand Rapids.
 
The deal allows the UPM Blandin paper company to own and manage the forest for timber harvesting while continuing to pay property taxes. Blandin will receive $45 million from the transaction. The conservation easement will be open to hunters, hikers and trail users forever. Blandin can sell the land, but it can never be developed or split up into smaller parcels. The easement deal will be finalized in 2010.

For up-to-date information about the Minnesota Legislature, tune into Almanac: At the Capitol. This lively and informative program is aired Wednesdays during the legislative session on Twin Cities Public Television at 7:00 PM on Channel 17 and at 10:00 PM on Channel 2.

Almanac: At the Capitol is seen on all public television stations throughout Minnesota and in Fargo. Winthrop & Weinstine is the exclusive law-firm partner and a sponsor of the program.

For more information and to see previous broadcasts, check out the
Almanac: At the Capitol Web site at http://tpt.org/aatc/.
 
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