Friday, January 30, 2009

Blogger talk with Sen. Hann 

A short blogger conference call with state Senator David Hann went a bit awry with the technology. The result was a ten minute conversation with the senator a few minutes later. (I hope the other bloggers got the same courtesy.) I have appreciated Sen. Hann's forthright assessment of issues, and in ten minutes we were able to cover three topics.
  1. The budget: There has been to date no proposal from the DFL majority, only Governor Pawlenty's which now will be subject to the saber-rattling of the tax consumers. The Legislature's rules call for budget targets to be set, but it was reported in the call that when asked if the DFL would be providing a budget, Senator Tarryl Clark, assistant DFL leader, said a simple 'no'. (Video was supposed to be forthcoming, but not received as of this moment. I will add it to Final Word's "TC No" collection.) To date, there have been no "substantive" hearings on any proposals in budget committees, said Sen. Hann.
  2. One of Gov. Pawlenty's proposals to balance the budget was to shift the timing of payments to school districts. This basically borrows from this biennium to the next one by lagging those payments, which incurs a cost for school districts that have to borrow money. Sen. Hann noted that nobody yet has estimated the "tails" or the impact of the Pawlenty budget on the next biennium. If the economy turns around and is robust, this may not be a problem. Sen. Hann was less certain this would be true, and is one reason he supports fully Pawlenty's program to stimulate business investment.
  3. Sen. Hann is generally troubled by the state of the economy, and he particularly pointed to the state not attracting private sector investment. This is a harm to the economy. I'm offering to seek data on private sector investment from official sources to talk about those trends.
I thank him for the time.

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