Thursday, May 17, 2007

Speeding to a solution? 

Word from the Capitol is that bills are speeding along to a solution in the Minnesota Legislature. Two emails plus this post from Gary seem to confirm. The Senate passed the Higher Ed bill unanimously after a meeting of the two DFL and Republican leaders of the Legislature. (MnSCU's funding base for the following biennium is actually higher in the new bill than in the one Governor Pawlenty vetoed.) It appears Pawlenty received big victories on the ACHIEVE program he wanted and the accountability standards, but I haven't got more details than that yet. The tuition cap at 4% is still in place.

The details of the bargaining are summarized on the STrib site. As I expected, the tax on foreign corporate earnings was raised, which yields almost a quarter-billion dollars and was something few people understand.

The question seems to me which side will win the blame game over the lack of property tax relief. Governor Pawlenty fired one across the bow of the DFL leadership:
"They threw property tax relief under the bus in an instant so they could fuel their appetite for social service and welfare spending,"Pawlenty said. "That is out of whack with the message and prioritiesthey said they were going to stand for during the campaign, and it's out of whack with where the state should head."
And Sen. Pogemiller,
"He has roadblocked significant property tax relief, and that's a big disappointment," Pogemiller said. "Property tax relief is not really on the way."
Harkening back to the discussion we had earlier in the week, it is less than perfectly clear who wins that battle.

UPDATE (5pm): OK, this is perhaps only a little bit of paranoia, but after reading something I wondered ... could the DFL be holding back the gas tax override vote for the last minute? That would be pretty sinister.

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