Legislators start asking: What to do with $1 billion?

Happy Friday.

A smart reader says the song of the session, terrible and Canadian though it may be, is the BareNaked Ladies’ “If I Had a Million Dollars.” Though for our purposes it’s $1 billion, and instead of buying a woman’s affections, our Legislature is buying the love of the public. (Bit of a cynical analysis, but there you are.)

The House GOP majority and DFL Senate unveiled their first major pieces of legislation Thursday.

Here’s our story:

The real work of the Legislature began Thursday as the DFL-controlled Senate and Republican House served up contrasting visions of Minnesota’s future. House Republicans, newly in the majority, offered proposals to cut taxes for business and improve roads and bridges without increasing the cost of fuel at the pump, while Senate Democrats hoped to bookend the current education system with free, broad-based preschool and vocational and community college.

Republicans say that by helping business, they will be helping workers. Democrats say that by preparing Minnesotans for work — including a new proposal from Sen. LeRoy Stumpf for tuition-free, two-year college programs — they will be helping business.

The DFL proposals were sweeping and easy to describe -- free community college, free preschool -- and also more expensive, at least in the short term.

Republicans chose not to eliminate the fourth income tax bracket, scrap MNsure or massively overhaul programs, though the session is young. Their bills feature targeted tax cuts and new money for roads and bridges without new gas taxes, incentives to strengthen long-term care, some previously debated education reforms and some MNsure changes.

ICYMI: Here’s Daudt’s op-ed for the Star Tribune.

The DFL community/technical college proposal dovetails with an Obama administration proposal.

The governor will hold a press conference this morning at 11 in the press briefing room, so we’ll hear his response.

The Brown Jug was in attendance at the Legislature Thursday. Given the return of Jim Harbaugh to Michigan, Gopher fans should cherish the Jug because it may stay in Ann Arbor for the next decade(s). I’m Fighting Irish, so have no dog in this fight.

There are no legislative events, but the schedule is beginning to fill up with committee meetings next week. Check the schedule here.

Note Ways and Means, Job Growth and Energy Affordability Policy and Finance (acronym suggestions?) and Transportation Policy and Finance all meet Monday.

Move MN, the coalition of interest groups who want more money for roads and bridges, held a news conference to discuss their proposal. There’s new money, but it’s not as ambitious as the $6 billion Dayton plan.

The Strib’s Brandon Stahl, who has been writing important stories for months on the state’s flawed child protection system, reports on efforts to fix it in the Legislature.

The list of candidates for Regents has been narrowed.

Here’s a Humphrey School prof with a report on DFL statewide dominance. Some interesting history.

The question is whether the GOP has a structural advantage in the House because all the DFL voters are packed into fewer metro districts.

If you wanna park illegally, do it in Southwest Minneapolis, reports MPR.

The worst headline ever, and MPR, not the Onion: Officials probe norovirus outbreak at Woodbury Chuck E. Cheese

Southwest light rail line political crisis, Day 3.

MinnPost’s take:

Pressure is being applied from several directions on the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board to halt its path toward a legal challenge to the approved route for the Southwest light rail transit project.

It hasn’t worked so far.

Washington is quiet, but check out this Politico piece on the Jeb Bush blast-off.

And for your edification, if you read one thing this weekend, make it this fascinating exegesis of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address in National Affairs.

And yes, it will be on the quiz. 

Have a good weekend everybody.


you know where to find me

Tips, complaints, insider stock trading advice to patrick.coolican@startribune.com; follow me on twitter: @jpcoolican


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