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Met Council votes to increase transit fares by 25 cents. Why now?

So why did the Council step up and make a reasonable rate increase now? Answer: They are flying out to DC to lobby Congress and the FTA/DOT on a regular basis trying to secure full funding grants for LRT expansion: Southwest LRT and Bottineau. But the Met Council, and its friends on the Hennepin and Ramsey County boards (Peter McLaughlin, et. al.) have NOT secured federal funding. ...

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Hear Denisha Merriweather’s Story: Why school choice is still the best answer to Minnesota’s achievement gap

Meet Denisha Merriweather from Jacksonville, Florida. She failed third grade twice, and got into all kinds of trouble. But she caught a break: she moved in with her Godmother who found a school that figured out how to reach her. Denisha says School Choice saved her life. Why don’t Minnesota kids have the same opportunity as Florida kids? ...

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Governor Dayton’s Attempt to De-Fund the GOP Legislature: Troubling Tactics, Apocalyptic Prose and Fake Federalism

The governor of Minnesota has attempted to de-fund the state legislature, an equal branch of the government. Like a critical parent, Dayton dressed down GOP leaders in a dramatic letter, punctuated with emotional, apocalyptic language. ...

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Will Governor Dayton Sign or Veto Omnibus Bills Today?

The special legislative session wrapped up before dawn last Friday with a flurry of bills on their way to Gov. Dayton; K-12 Education, Transportation, Health and Human Services, Taxes, among others. Gov. Dayton, negotiating hard, got a lot of what he asked for from the Legislature. If he vetoes the Omnibus bills, he will be vetoing his own credibility, such as it is. ...

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Legislature’s Special Session Wrap-Up: Estate Tax, Healthcare & More

As I mentioned in my previous post, the Legislature ended its special session early Friday morning. Here's the rest of what was decided. Minnesotans On the Move How to keep Minnesotans from exiting the state for good, or severing all financial ties with the state after establishing residency elsewhere? Estate tax: The death tax was not repealed but the threshold will be gradually increased from the current $1.8 million to $3 million by 2020. The federal level is $5.49 million per person. Dayton's Department of Revenue has gained a reputation for being aggressive with Minnesotans who declare residency elsewhere (the state tries to claw them...

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Legislature Ends Special Session: News on Transportation, Met Council & Education

The Legislature concluded the special session early Friday morning, sending a flurry of budget bills to Governor Dayton. Roads and bridges will get $2 billion over 10 years in existing revenue from automotive-related taxes (so taxes are not raised) plus about a billion in new bonding. This was the big goal. The K-12 bill increases spending by $483 million in addition to $800 million in automatic increases, for a total budget of $18.75 billion (a 3.5% increase). ...

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K-12 Education Omnibus & Educator Licensing Bills: VETOED

Spending on K-12 education was due to increase automatically by about $800 million next biennium; the GOP bill increased spending by an additional $300 million (to $1.1 billion) bringing the K-12 budget for the next biennium to a whopping $18.58 billion. But it wasn’t enough. Dayton vetoed the bill. The House and Senate also passed a bill to overhaul Minnesota’s overly confusing and complex teacher licensing system. Despite passing both chambers with bipartisan support, the governor vetoed this proposal, as well....

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Transportation Omnibus Bill: VETOED

There is a lot to like in terms of spending for roads, airports and freight. In fact, it follows and improves on the Center’s 2015 Policy Blueprint. The bill includes bonding and eliminates funding for passenger rail. Here’s the big concession: metro counties are given the power to raise the local transit sales tax to half a cent to pay for building and operating transit without a referendum. ...

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$800 million bonding bill rejected by House as too small

Here is Rep. Dean Urdahl: “It is a little bit disconcerting to me to realize that there are members here who are prepared to vote against projects that are vital to their district,” he said. “I implore you to consider what you’re doing and why. We can’t say that we voted ‘no’ on local projects because $800 million isn’t enough money.”...

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