Capitol update as legislative session nears end

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MPR’s Mark Mulcahy reports on the status of Minnesota state legislative as session nears an end. Then Gary Eichten interviews Steve Sviggum on jets and corporate blackmail, Larry Pogemiller on K-12 education, Becky Kelso on higher education, Carol Flynn on transportation, John Marty on elections and gift bans, Matt Entenza on child support, Ron Abrams on city/suburb wars, Gene Merriam on the big picture, and Doug Johnson on taxes.

Read the Text Transcription of the Audio.

By the way, if you're not up on your Mall of America geography, I'm told the screaming yellow Eagle is a ride at Camp Snoopy. So that would be the place to start looking for Ray. Well, it's about 7 minutes now past 12. Welcome back to mid-day on the FM news station Gary I can hear is we noted earlier time is running short of the Minnesota Legislature according to the state constitution 1995 legislature has to adjourn next Monday and there's still lots of work to do before adjournment the day we thought we'd spend the hour taking a closer look at just what's been done so far and what's left to do will be checking in with key legislators through the hour and with some black will check in with the governor's office as well right now though, neither a legislator Nora Governor, but a good reporter FM news station reporter Mike Mulcahy joins us from the gallery of the Minnesota house. Good afternoon, Mike. Good afternoon, Gary. Well, you know, we wanted to be up here in the gallery where all the action would be and of course the two minutes before we go on the air the house recesses for 2 hours. So there's no session going on down below us right now, but we are here at the house gallery and Ready for the next hour to talk about what the legislature has been doing so far today, at least on the house floor not too much controversy moving through some bills and conference committee reports. Same thing in the Senate. They last time I checc we're working on the higher education bill that came out of the conference committee the house passed that last night and the big issue. I think that people are waiting to see whether it'll come up today is workers compensation in the Senate and the house is pasta version of the bill that the labor is not happy with and the people who support that bill in the Senate think they have the votes to pass it and they're just waiting for Senate Majority Leader Rodger Moore to bring it up. In fact Governor Carlson today said he's not going to negotiate any more until Rodger, Moe says exactly when he'll bring that fill up so I know that's what we're waiting for him. We'll see if it happens today. It might might and might take until tomorrow, but they're trying to wrap things up here in the next couple of days course. Lots of people have their eye on the clock today or noon deadline up in Winnipeg for Winnipeg backers. Key backers to come up with enough money to buy an arena and by the hockey team to keep the team in Winnipeg or if they can't meet the deadlines the team conceivably could end up with in Minnesota with State assistance. I will be going to Benson is up in Winnipeg and will keep us posted on that. But we thought we'd spend a couple of minutes talking with the House minority leader. Steve swag him about that issue. Good afternoon to swiggum. Hi Siri. How are you? Just fine. I know you have been adamantly opposed to the idea of the state to spending money on a hockey team, correct? I've not been very supportive. That's that's correct. Yeah, I would be glad I in fact I would be very happy to have the Jets come to Minnesota. I hope that ultimately happens but I think myself is a private investor or other private investors are putting in our own money and not that I don't think the function of government to put in taxpayer dollars if the team actually is going to be leaving Winnipeg and mr. Burke continues to pursue some State assistance is there Chance that bill will pass the legislature Welton the bill certainly be brought up. I had a chance to speak to mr. Burke two evenings ago. We spoke for about 45 minutes. So relating regarding the options. They were before him regarding the packages from other cities. I think you will see the legislature probably take it up the possibility of it passing or not. The is a little bit more. I would say you're on pretty thin ice. I don't believe that the legislature at least if I'm reading the legislators correctly and reading numbers of my caucuses while the other two other caucuses are are very positive about passing your taxpayer assistance to a sports team when we have other needs another concerns before us about any possible assistance for other pro sports teams in Minnesota. We keep hearing that the Minnesota Twins or specifically will likely be seeking some kind of Public Assistance here in the very near future and Auto Is it going to be leaving? Well, I have heard that I certainly haven't seen that to happen as if you had eyes. I assume that that's a hypothetical situation something we have to cross when we get to that path or when the the issue becomes before I think what it says. So in the big picture is that the when it comes to professional sports which are very very important. I enjoy taking my my children to the to the games that just like everybody else says but we can work that into a position where we're up. We're pitting one city against us another city one set of taxpayers against his another set of taxpayers' inches entire country. And you know, it's Nashville against st. Paul. It's so st. Paul Minneapolis against the San Diego. And while we do is up that auntie we up the price of the professional sports team and and basically the people who become the losers are the citizens the taxpayers who have to subsidize it or put it in, you know, the state tax dollars. Do you think long-term the state should get out of the business of helping any private businesses be they sports franchises or widget makers well, But it seems to me that were much more solid ground. If it be widget makers are you know, then then professional sports teams that you know, if these are good for talking about the direct manufacturing jobs jobs. Would you add to the economy and your direct manufacturing jobs? I think you're in some more solid ground. Anyway than you are when talking about the sports matches. Well, thank you, sir. And thank you very thank you for for having me. Appreciate Alli Menor de lider. Steve swyka. Will keep you posted. Lorna Benson will is standing by and as soon as an announcement comes from Winnipeg as to whether that your team is going to stay in Winnipeg or whether it actually goes on the on the Block and perhaps come to Minneapolis will let you know. One of the biggest items facing legislator certainly terms of the size of the spending bill is the education build a build up their funds education the state of Minnesota K through 12, and there's still lots of work left to do on that measure understand joining us know who is the state. Senator Larry Pollard Miller who is chair of the Senate education committee gottman Senator Advil stamp display serious negotiations with the house in the governor. And I think we're coming along and all three parties are interested in making sure we provide as much fun as we can to the classroom to bring down class sizes and make education better for the children first date. So we'll get there. It is in conference and they house has some positions with regards to funding that I think I promised mostly on the current type of funding that we do the Sun. Turn the governor little more interested in doing some reform this session. And so I think what we're talking about is the level of Reform that will do this session and we'll we'll we'll get there and we got real quality smart conference on the house side. And and we think the Senate conferees are pretty good too. So we'll get there. Can you give us an idea of some of the changes in education policy that will likely come out of the negotiations for I think all of us are interested in trying to focus money on the classrooms, and we're interested in Hanson technology for students and teachers and We have limited funds because of the decision not to increase state taxes, but I think we're trying to help local districts reallocate their current spending to get money more in the classroom in to allow more flexibility for our local policymakers and parents to decide how to divvy up the dollars that they do have and where we're joined here by my cohort representative Al Johnson. She's standing here with us. No LS are you with us and I are going from your perspective C major changes occurring in education policy in the state of Minnesota as a result of the conference committee work for my call major changes, but what I see is that we're focusing on flexibility accountability local control, and I don't think that's anything. Brand new but it's certainly I think we're about goals. So nothing that will dramatically change what people will see in the classroom Outsiders would notice. Anyway, I think I have the house proposal as it came out of the our house division placed a lot of emphasis on technology. And so we've been hopeful that that would become a major new Initiative for the students in the state of Minnesota our goal in that area. Was that every public school and every Library would be hooked up to a Statewide system so that they would be able to begin to talk to each other and use each other's resources throughout the state that is I think of major importance in terms of moving us into the next Century what happened to the idea of Shifting virtually all the money the funding for K through 12 education to the state. That that's been an idea that's been proposed but there's never been any real love solid proposals to an effect do that. So, I think it's still in the discussion stage and I think the Senate have the property tax freeze proposal. The house has the Constitutional Amendment proposal. I think both of those again are trying to build a support and to gain the knowledge of this is what the people of the state of Minnesota really want before we do it. So, I believe we're on that a road, but we're not there yet. I don't think we're ready to make a drastic move is Michigan did a little bit ago and I think they're having some second thoughts about their proposal and we have to learn from from what other people have done it the money for public education in the state. either one of you Bowser Johnson can handle that. Well, first of all, I think I you know, I would I would start with a very very wet my Eczema a simple prom proposal and that is to start showing people that education indeed is the best investment that the state can make education is where we will be able to reduce our future expenditures in terms of criminal cost in terms of economic development in it terms of even of healthcare and so forth. So we will have to first of all convince people that it's a wise investment and then we will have to ask them to support the schools and our children and I think we'll be able to do that. It has to come from taxes. We don't print money here at the state of Minnesota. It'll have to come from some other source if we take it off of property taxes. We have a number of choices right now. We can look at income tax. We can look at sales tax. We can look at service fees and There are various things that we can do. We can look for some combination of taxes on commercial property or we could even look at you no corporate income tax or something on that order. I would just add that. I think there's quite a bit of agreement that we are going to have to reallocate a lot of the current spending that we are making an education and get as much money as we can focus on the classroom the relationship between a teacher and student and I think the state is trying to help on that also. So old are the long-term we're going to need some additional revenues, but where I think we also need to have some pretty significant reform and reallocation of current spending. Okay. Thanks a lot of folks. Good luck and I'll see a feller Alice Johnson key negotiators as the legislature tries to work out a education funding bill. That's by far the largest part of the state budget. It's now currently in the in conference committee through 12 education and that yes indeed. We're going to do higher education now joining us as the Shakopee dfl representative Becky Kelso who is a chair of the University Minnesota finance division of the education committee. Good afternoon. Mr. Higher education, the big change us about this business of buying some of the stated that the college is get to their graduation rates. I would that work. I think this is the first time ever in the history of the state of Minnesota that we have tied at State funding for Education Viet side kindergarten to 12th grade education or higher education to very specifically to Performance. In other words. There is a part of the higher ed bill money going to the University of Minnesota and money. Going to the other public institutions that they simply will not receive if they do not meet certain performance criteria and other words. It's the first time that state funding has been predicated on what they do and I think it is a it's a small for step because it is only about 1% of the money that add that we are given to higher education. So it has a very small First Step in Time funny to Performance, but I think it's not insignificant tonight. I'm I think it's one of the things that we can leave the session and say that we have I brought some accountability to what is it always a very expensive process understand. That's what I should be held accountable as well that at some point if they didn't graduate from school quick enough, they would have to pay out-of-state tuition rates. Correct? I'm actually the The tie on the funding is to graduation rates. That was Senator stumps proposal in the Senate and the way we have done that is to tie that to the money to the institutions in the graduation rate rather than to the individual students students for the public institutions that they attend to get them to graduate and that's a that's where the incense is coming officials in higher education. Just happy to please just punch now or they have all the money they need sure that they are not and frankly. I don't think that there is anyone who voted for this higher education bill in the legislature who is is pleased as punch certain. We have not funded any of higher. Generally, I think they are going to be layoffs across the state in higher-ed institutions, and I think We have not put the money into student a that that there's going to be the demand for but I believe it was the best we could do under the circumstances will tuition be going up. I think that you will see tuition still going out. That is that's not the decision of the legislature. We don't set tuition the again the end of an individual institutions make that decision but I suspect that they will be considering that and Gary a bottom line problem for us is that we really do Hiatt have a higher ed establishment that we can't afford to feed and things have got to change and I think that the merger of the public higher-ed institutions hopefully are there that will produce some changes over the next few years cuz things simply have to be downsized we can't go on in the course. We're on to be closed. Certainly. I know you're if you're actively involved in this whole workers compensation business. Where does that stand? It stands in a very precarious precarious situation. The there was a worker's comp bill that passed by a large majority in the Minnesota house and it is a Reform Bill and I think that it is aimed at cutting cost to businesses. I think most people would describe it as being a a pro-business bill. Although I I think it is a mild one. However with the where where we are at this moment as we are waiting for the Minnesota Senate to take up that same bill and there is Great anxiety that the time is simply running out. In other words that the legislative session is going to be coming to an end next Monday night and that we will have not had the chance to have a full hearing a debate and vote on workers comp to session and we are sort of lapsing back into the old established gridlock patterns with workers comp, which is you have one body two passes at the other body doesn't take it out for you the legislature passes at knowing a Governor's going to be to it. I am convinced carry that the majority of the Minnesota house in the majority of Minnesota Senate support this Reform Bill this year. We have a willing governor who was strongly indicated that he will sign it and I just truly hope that those majorities are able to Prevail. All right. Well, thanks a lot for joining us. Thank you very much is a dfl representative from Shakopee. She is the chair of the University of Minnesota's finance division of the education committee 25 minutes. Nasty hour and we are checking in at the Minnesota Legislature trying to get an update on just where various pieces of major legislation stand what's in those bills A legislature has to adjourn by Monday according to the State Constitution and we're going to continue our conversation to the legislature in just a moment. But right now we're going to shift our focus a little bit off to Winnipeg where FM news station report of Lorna. Benson is standing by Lorna has been no waiting for an announcement on whether the Winnipeg Jets are going to stay in Winnipeg or whether they will be moving to Minnesota perhaps with State assistance Florida. The noon deadline for the city of Winnipeg to actually have put together that the funding to buy the team has passed. We still have not heard word whether or not so the cats will be staying here. We do have some information that may be indicates why there's a delay apparently Federal lawmakers have been holding last minute meetings today to decide whether they're going to I support their portion of a package to build a new Arena. The federal government was asked to a chip in about thirty-seven million dollars and that along with the provincial government and the city government sounds would total package of about 110 million dollars. So far Federal lawmakers have been unable to make that decision. If government cell leaders sub act as plan. They could be asked to help save the Quebec nordiques hockey team which is expected to move to Denver. So there's a lot of last-minute discussions from what we're hearing though. It's the strong likelihood that the federal government's going to give some money. Probably not the full 37 million dollars that also be a province of Manitoba may be asked to kick in a little more money and that's what they're talking about right now. Get back with us one more developments occur. Thanks a lot in Winnipeg waiting for final word on what's going to happen. Hockey team back to the legislature where there's lots of business so left to complete before the Monday German deadline Transportation bill, for example, as one that gets a lot of people's attention because it effects of very many people st. Paul dfl Senator. Carol Flynn is co-chair of the state advisory Council on major Transit projects and Minneapolis state senator. Excuse me. I'm just now going good afternoon, Senator gas tax increase we met it's still very much alive, but limping how it's going to appear but we have a number of people who are interested in that as long as it's tied to changing how we fun Transit and my particular area of responsibility and concern will be to make sure that there's some kind of dedicated funding for transit in the process. Understanding, is that as it as it stands right now? The MTC would have to dramatically cut back on that. It's bus service three different funding proposals for the transportation department and the governor's proposal for Transit. They sent its proposal in the house proposals. Each of them are slightly different the Senate unfortunately has the lowest but part of that rationale is because the Senate is very anxious to have a gas tax increase and the Transport Funding change the shift off of the property taxes, which is a significant component to legislation that I've introduced it would shift it from the property tax with the currently finds most of our bus system. That's not a growing source of Revenue and it's not an easy one to increase over time. So what we would do is is remove that from the property tax and instead. Authorized Metropolitan Council to increase the sales tax in the 7 County area by up to a half percent and that would be about a hundred and twenty-five million dollar a source of money that would give us that the money we need in order to keep the buses rolling and make up the difference from what state is currently contributing to Transit. They would still be responsible at the state level for Metro Mobility and for Rural Transit. What about what about all those big Highway projects that apparently have been put on hold now or kind of postponed indefinitely. They rebuilding at 35W 494 in the leg. Is there any way that that's going to come to pass or are those pretty much kaput? I think there could put the even with the $0.05 gas tax increase there isn't enough money to take care of those major projects. That's part of the reason that are advisory Council suggested that there be another way of funding transportation in the future the mileage tax being the best approach that we could come up with or the Notions of things like toll roads. And and so on you think this is all going to get resolved in such a way that the buses will keep running in the Twin City area that the roads at least we'll get repaired. If not the new ones built. Well, we're anticipating that they'll at least be a transportation financing bill. It will be an adequate both for Transit and for highways and unfortunate and less we're willing to move ahead increase the gas tax and provide this other method for funding of Transit. I'm afraid we will continue with this logjam this roadblocks that we've been up again since 1988. I will keep watching thanks a lot of the state advisory Council on major Transit projects another piece of legislation actually a couple of pieces of legislation that have gotten a lot of attention recently have to do with the Twin City metropolitan area in joining us now to talk about those issues assistant minority leader Ron Abrams from Minnetonka. Basically about two bills are we not in terms of cities and suburbs this long Mondale bill and the Orefield bill is at right now. That's correct. Garfield bill is what we've you mainly as a political exercise the governor has indicated that under no circumstances. Will he sign that legislation? However, the long Mondale bill is still very much alive. Now the Orefield bill that's the one that would capture property taxes on the on the higher the more expensive homes and then redistributed around the metro area is a correct. That's how it's been characterized Gary but it's more captures a portion of certain cities tax base. What does it matter? If you live in a expensive home or an inexpensive home or an apartment run a business and communities you pay a higher tax rate in some areas in the region and the that money would be exported to other areas in the region in what would the Mondale long bill due? Belle Belle has three components of one component would be polluted land clean up account and we're pretty excited about that piece because a lot of the economic development that could occur in the Quad Cities in entering suburbs are on Parcels of land that that for one reason or another become polluted and by having some dedicated money is a flow into an account that could be used for cleaning up those polluted Lance. I hopefully economic revitalization could occur. The second account would be a demonstration project, which would basically be used for trying to match people with jobs and in communities in the end. It's called a livable City demonstration account the third piece which is probably the most controversial is the life cycle housing account. And what that would do is a match some money to be spent by certain suburbs that have high commercial industrial property value. Willis High property at high residential property value and on a one-for-one matchup provide for more life cycle how housing opportunities in that community in those communities now the bill that passed the house I understand is it acceptable to the governor the bill they have to pass the Senate is the current form an acceptable. So the devil's in the details over the next 3 days so we can hopefully bring closure to this issue. Is there some kind of a consensus is developing at the legislature that something needs to be done here to to improve conditions throughout the metro area. I think there is and what happened here the other night when a couple of amendments were adopted to represent us Lawns bill. It is to some extent the position of a number of independent Republican members like myself for the said we wanted to move forward but without mandates without tax base sharing or pooling we were basically asked to show the sincerity of our statements and over half our caucus I believe. The fourth one bill wants those amendments went on. So if you weld the problem now passes to the majority to see if they're going to keep the bill in somewhat the shape and left the house. So that that we can make some progress this year in a bipartisan basis. Let's assume for a moment that this bill would pass in your mind. Is there anything else that should be done to to help rebuild the central cities in the inner ring suburbs without taking all the money away from the other suburbs sure. They're there are a number of proposals at for variety of reasons. I went to the Wayside there was a one provision after we provided an incentive for companies to hire a people who are in a FDC to basically I pay the company would get the afdc payment and I have to chip in $2 an hour over the minimum wage to employ those people. We think that that's an exciting idea. You had to send her to Flint on earlier and there's a multitude of areas in the transit area to improve Tester jobs in the end and accessibility of people throughout the region at the good transportation funding program would provide for so this wouldn't necessarily be the end of the debate. It would probably be the end of the debate for the 95 session, but there are a number of voluntary things that can be done that could greatly improve quality of life throughout the region and to improve the livability within the core cities to the name calling pretty soon on this whole issue and not who's racist, and I was a communist in the end. What one talk show host of the other but it ought to be good public policy, and, you know, I've tried to cool the rhetoric this year, but I guess so when I cool others, I heat up, so I'm kind of behind the Title Wave I guess thanks for joining us. Take care system in order to run Abrams from Minnetonka. Well joining us now is St.Paul a state representative Madden Tim's up and he's been good enough to join us to talk about child support the child support legislation. That's been working its way through the legislature. Thanks so much for joining us. Now. This bill that the legislature has been talkin about among other things would allow the state to suspend the driver's license of people who fall behind in there a child support payments right program and would require that if you were more than three months late and your child support payment you get a notice from the states and you could hold unless you at least get on a payment plan you making some effort to pay your child support that your driver's license will be revoked. What's the theory hear that just the threat of it will get people to pay up six other states have done this the state of Maine is that excellent example, cuz we're following their lead. They attract down twenty one thousand individuals who hadn't paid child. I threatened revoke your driver's license and in a little over a year, they raised 21 million dollars that would have been paid for child support and most interesting ly and they only revoked 39 drivers licenses. Now I understand. There's also a provision in the bill that would allow the chords to consider a visitation issues when when trying to weigh how much non-custodial parent to parent to pay correct? And there were some for amendments that were debated both in the house and the Senate and the visitation is of course a very difficult and contentious issue and we're going to be discussing those and conference committee over the weekend the provision in the house would allow the court for the first time to at least consider whether or not child support should be reduced if visitation has interfered with the language in the house bill in the Senate Bill don't really match one another well, so that's going to have to be an issue for the conference committee to resolve that play out in terms of what the Senate is proposing in the house is proposing. It's hard to say right now cuz we haven't had a chance to sit down and talk with a senate formally our positions don't match up particularly. Well, so it's with one of those throw coin up in the air in and see if we could wind up with no change in. That issue when we come back next year or as some sort of modification one of the compromises would be that visitation could be considered the fact you're not in child support payments, but in child custody Enos up some people think it would be fair that if you have a custodial parents interfering with visitation that maybe they're Fitness to have joint custody or full custody should be looked at changes are being talked about a will. There's some other exciting changes from the standpoint of getting more kids off of the property that they're facing right now one is that we're beefing up the law that allows us to suspend the license has of doctors lawyers Architects and other professionals if they're not paying child support. We also are trying to get away from the sort of lawyer at the cereal driven system that we've got right now. So we're going to move to a completely it administrative hearing process for individuals that are contesting there a child support levels are trying to determine the child support. We think that's going to lower. Costs and make it easier for people to get their child support level figured out without having to pay for lawyers and have lawyers fighting one another would that apply to after the award is set so that if if a person's economic situation changed I could I could get it adjusted. That's right. What a play and not only in setting a child support level, but I'm getting a changed and one of the real problems that we saw in our hearings were individuals who situation had changed but because they weren't sure of the system work. They didn't have the money to hire a lawyer they wind up developing huge arrearage because they're not paying their child support. We think one of the good things that's going to happen out of this bill is that people are going to get back into the system quicker get onto a payment system. They can afford and quite frankly will stop paying with welfare. What should be paid for in child support. What's your basket with a lot of people is is this going to materially improve the atmosphere surrounding child support issues. It's it's a volatile one as you well know. Things better. I really believe that it's going to do that in and here's why we got a 380 million dollar debt to the state right now in welfare payments to text pairs of made when child support hasn't been and the Department of Human Services believes that our bill is going to result in 50 million dollars of additional child support payments, if that's going to mean families that are presently under stress that are going to be getting money. You were going to be pulling kids out of poverty and we're going to save the taxpayers over 15 million dollars a year in money that's presently going to welfare payments. I think taxpayers are going to Philly's I think kids are going to have better lives and quite frankly. I think for those individuals who aren't paying child support the fact that we're going to have this administrative sort of system will make it the system easier for them to understand and deal with his phone and we'll have to keep an eye on my guess is we got bipartisan support big majorities in both houses were going to have a a bail up and running and probably out of money. Talking about the child support changes that are being negotiated at the Capitol right. Now as we continue to try to update just where we stand on major pieces of legislation and more specifically really wear what's in some of those bills are there is so much that happens if the legislature a lot of times some of the more interesting things that are that are contained in some of these bills to fall through the fall through the cracks. You just can't keep up with it all. We try to get it all in one place for a change going to turn our attention now to politics in joining us is a Roseville Senator former group. John Marti who is actively involved in changing state election laws. We've heard a lot about this big ten presidential primary. The one that there where Minnesota would link up with other a northern states. I guess it would be March 19th, and then we would be Theoretically a player in the presidential primary process is what what's the status on that? Unclear what's going to happen to it? There is probably fairly extensive support for it in the legislature. I think if we're going to have a primary it probably makes sense to merge with other states and have more impact that way but the trouble on the other hand is I don't think in either these cases either the Big Ten primary or the existing one. It's going to have any real impact because both parties are indicating. They're not likely to buy by the delegates election process. So that doesn't look too good right now. I don't know what's going to happen with it, but I would say right now it's pretty good chance. There will be a primary and a pretty good chance. It will be a meaningless primary Senator. Can you explain to us why it is that the parties are so adamant about not at least apportioning some of their delegates based on a primary. Will they the parties of like the system they've had in the past? I don't know. I haven't talked with party officials recently to find out how strongly either of them feel but The reports I've read is it both parties are saying they don't intend to abide by that and I think they like the caucus-convention system. It's been something that I read the articles from 10 years ago 15 years ago. They talk about how many sodas had a higher level of politics because of the strength of people the caucus system brings in gets people to do more than just vote against him to come in and debate the issues discussed the candidates in detail. But again because of the world turns out that I think that's what's been screwing people to try and move the other way. OK are some other changes being talked about that would boost turnout at the caucuses and and it in the existing system. There's something in Senator twins bill that would require in order to get on the primary ballot would require you to have 20% vote at a party convention in order to qualify for the ballot, but those have been taken off for everyone but the Constitutional officer so for next year's election wind affect anybody, so I think there hasn't been much being done here is a lot of talk at the King of doing some things to boost turn out but I'm not sure that's likely to happen right now. What about moving the state primary which currently is held in September? Is that going to happen to State primary? I'd say more likely than that will be moved to June have a post that I think we should have it a little bit earlier than it is. So do you have a longer general election season, but I think it's the public heared heard that we were going to make the general election season two and a half times as long as the proposal pass the Senate moved it from an eight week before the general election primary to 20 week before and I think most people would be outraged to hear that we were making the season longer. They they'd rather have me a shorter political season and lawn signs and political commercials on TV and radio and May and June is not what I think most people are expecting so we might we might see a movie in the state primary, but that's about it in terms of all, we heard all this talk why we're going to change the change the way Minnesota politics operates. I think the public will be surprised to hear we can have two and a half times as long of a campaign season the other change political change might talk about this happening. This session is the gift ban bill and whether there are going to be you're not going to be changes in it the senate pass the bill that basically fine tunes the current law and there's a provision in the house bill right now that would overturn much of the law. But that's the other big issue and how does that work? I was going to ask you about that which the house is at the house measure that the measure would allow any gifts of tickets like the hockey games or whatever. It would allow food beverages other things up to $25. The current law is no gifts from lobbyists and interest groups to public officials. And the Senate Bill basically holes that other than its is a cup of coffee or other refreshment like coffee and donut type of thing at a meeting or is part of ordinary office Hospitality would be allowed but basically the Senate Bill holds onto the current law in the whole Spiel was amended in committee. Differently, but I'm optimistic. We'll go back to what the Senate version is. And we'll have just to fine-tuning of the current law major change of that front maybe a little loosening. So people could have a cup of coffee without worrying about it. That's what I'm hoping for. I'm hoping we'll basically protect the law. I don't hear the public clamoring for the fact that legislators need to have somebody by them dinner buy them tickets to a game. I don't hear a public clamor for that and I think we'll have a lot of people aren't thrilled with the law people at the Capitol Heights Road with the Loft they're going to live with it and we might as well keep the law state senator former gubernatorial candidate John Marti. It is 13 minutes before the hour as we survey the action at the Minnesota Legislature Monday is adjournment day at the legislature or the state constitution. The legislature has to finish its work by Monday and go home and they're still as you've heard through the shower still lots of work to do on some some major issues Mike Mulcahy, of course has been keeping close tabs on the legislature throughout the session are a reporter at the Capitol and Mike. We haven't had a chance yet to talk about taxes. Can you bring us up-to-date on where we stand on the tax bill? Well, I'll give you a couple of quick things that I heard today before I Senator Jeanne Miriam stand by to talk about other things, but one thing we talked a lot about earlier in the session the property tax freeze proposed in the Senate. It looks like it's dead right now. They they split off into a separate bill from the major tax bill and now the dfl leaders in the house are saying it won't come up because there just aren't the votes in the dfl caucus to pass it and along with that. It looks like the 2-channel amendment that the house dfl propose to a sort of cut property taxes out of Education funding is also dead for the session but they might be another run at that one next year since I didn't have to really pass it this year anyway, so that's at least what's going on with taxes today and June Miriam is here if you want to talk to him not sure how are you just fine, you know all about money and I'll ask you that's a follow-up question on the on the tax business. So we had heard a lot about boy. We're going to have a major reform major reform of State finances in the tax system in all of that work will begin this session any of that work been done. I'm not really very very very limited in that regard. It's been pretty disappointing. I think they're the general consensus now is that is it the major overhauls that are so so needed probably won't occur until the 1997 session. Now you've been in the senate for 20 years now, is there any fun anymore? Some days are more fun than others. But it's it's it's it's it's a challenge in the end. It's it's interesting. I'm not sure where these days has it changed as a legislative process changed much over the years that an awful lot. I was just thinking about that the other day is it what what's difference in what's the saying? It's been a lot of changes over the years button and the most regards not. What's change? Well, of course the biggest changes I was the last member sworn into an all-male Senate and it's the biggest changes. We've had two more women in the legislature and certainly be a lot more women in the Senate and I think that's really been a change for the better. I think that this year in a previous several years. It seems like they've been more Gutfeld issues like the the Prairie Island issue of the the treaty issue and it seems like those are occurring more frequently. And of course the biggest change between what we're seeing now and then what the situation was when I first came 20 years ago is is the financial situation back in the seventies that the year the state budget was growing tremendously the national and state economies were doing very well in in government grew as a result. For a lot of reasons things are never going to be like that for the foreseeable future in in government at all levels as we're certainly seeing on the national level as we're staying at the state level and end in and eat it all levels of government is it is it has to rain in rate of growth and in the economy is is nothing like it was two decades ago, and we've got to come to grips with with how we're going to deal with the changing economics and then changing the demographics in changing socioeconomics committee. Chairman Doug Johnson. I joined just now by Foley. Good afternoon senator. Tanner Johnson turn on Sunday. What does thanks for doing is just a couple of quick questions for you. Appreciate your joining us. So do you see what with the we were hearing from Mike McKay here to just a few minutes ago, but it looks like the Constitutional Amendment and on the property tax funding schools and the and the property tax freeze looks like both of those are our dying away here. Are we looking at any major changes in terms of taxes this year at all? We think that should include a property tax freeze that there should not be an increase in property taxes and I have not given up on still a passing that freeze. It's got the boats in the sun. We think that there's growing supports up in the house. Even though the governor is taking behind the scenes steps. Try to kill it with one of those steps are. Call the league of cities and the association of Minnesota counties of the local governments are opposing of the property tax freeze, even though we know that the taxpayers around this state are very supportive of it. And it suggested that that if they aren't able to stop that bill in the house that he made him a sign the bill and you know, that's really hard ball up politics. But you know, he's very afraid that that built would reach his desk and we've been pulling in know that minnesotans are very supportive of freezing the property taxes and we want to go to work and reform the property tax system and and I have the state assist more for K to 12 school funding so it doesn't land on the property taxed so heavily and I've been involved with this morning including supporters of the property tax freeze in the house Democrats suck and I have not given up on them on the matter my stolen still paying out. She does Senator if the freeze doesn't the doesn't look like it's going to pass Canta the legislature just move ahead with that big reform of the property tax system anyway. Spell do that. But of course the problem for minnesotans is there property taxes are going to go up about 250 million dollars when they get their bills next year if we don't get that property tax freeze and then go to reforming the system and its but you are correct that there could be a reform without it in a sentence with you paying a bill a quarter of a billion dollars more unnecessary. And the thing is with the fries are we have a mechanism that we think we can get the the people most involves of the local governments taxpayer the different groups to follow these issues to table and a workout on a bipartisan basis a reform of the property taxes on the property taxes. The rates are growing up too much too much too quickly in Minnesota. And we think the phrase is a good start to get that process one drink Senator. Appreciate you joining us. CeraVe soda tax committee state senator, Jane Maryam was chair of the Senate finance committee is with us as well Senator. Thanks for sticking around. My pleasure. You think the legislature is well, let me ask you this is the long-term Financial outlook for the state of Minnesota as Bleak as we've heard that are beginning of the session. It seemed like he planning agency had nothing but Grimm nose and terms of the the big picture for the state of matter is Gary. I I think if anything that they had study that you depict is presenting Grim news, and it did it if anything that that report undersold the problem. I think you can make an argument for a lot of reasons that the problems are more severe than that Ben was presented that report. I mean that in WhatsApp that if you look at the what's happening at the federal government and their need to cut back on spending begin to get a hold of the deficit problem in the implications that has for participation in in in state expenditure programs principally the the Human Services programs. They are the ones that are typically described as welfare. It looks like the federal government is going to pull back extensively and that means that the state government is going to have to either change those programs very very significantly or pick up a much larger share that burden at the same time under the current system. The states share is growing dramatically. The other thing that that I don't think there's enough appreciation for is the phenomenon of the growing gap between the Haves and Have Nots. We've got the Over the last few years and it looks like for wall of the future I shrinking middle class. I think that the implications for us as a state and a nation because of that phenomenon. If we don't do something about it, we'll have a severe economic and social consequences. Do you think that legislatures and governors can set aside politics long enough to come up with good public policies to deal with those issues or are we going for a real struggle here the deal with the the important policy in involved? It would be a real struggle you make sense and politics in it, and it becomes an even greater challenge. So thank you Senator. I appreciate you joining us into and I know all the way you said that it's not always fun. I hope some days are better than others for sure and thank you. I appreciate it a lot. German of the Senate finance committee. What's what's your gas here in terms of weekend activities course, the legislature will be going through tomorrow and on a Monday or they going to be holed up over the weekend as well. Well, that's a good question Gerry. It looks like the Senate that least and after What doug Johnson said, I don't know if I want to come out and say anything anymore. But on Saturday the might just let some conference committee's work. The house probably will meet on Saturday. And of course Monday is always a cruncher and so there's probably even though there's people been saying the session is very interesting this year. Monday will certainly be a rough day. That's just the way it works. I'm not quite so bitter though. Sometimes can be going on over the workers comp issue. That one has a potential to be nasty and we'll see what happens with this a hockey team issue that which is still a developing and but it it has been Easy session in terms of a late hours and in a lot of contention in the big the big issue that makes everybody mad just hasn't been there and so in that way anyway, it's it's been kind of an easy one likes her station reporter Mike Mulcahy the bills that you're interested in and we'll keep you posted right on through the end of the legislative session also an invitation to join us tomorrow Ray Suarez is out at the Mall of America this afternoon and Barbara Carlson will be in our Studios tomorrow at noon to take your questions about talk radio like to remind you that the Minnesota Public Radio news is supported in part by the Pillsbury company Foundation hearing for the community by giving kids love and left. That's it for midday today Gary I can hear again. Thanks for tuning in today. We don't you'll be able to join us tomorrow. This is Mark's add act like Saturday morning at 11 on midday. Its answers to your questions about cycling around the Midwest. That's midday Saturday morning at 11 on the FM news station k n o w FM 91.1. You're listening to Minnesota Public Radio. It's sunny and 68° at the FM news station, W FM 91.1 Apolis St. Paul. The time now is 1


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