Net Minnesota tax collections were $1.687 billion in October, up nearly 5 percent from officials' projections in February, the Minnesota Management and Budget Office reported Wednesday.
Revenues collected from invidual and corporate income taxes and other miscellaneous revenues exceeded expectations for the month, officials said Monday. Sales tax receipts for October were down about $1 million.
For fiscal year 2015, tax collections are at $5.984 billion, up 0.5 percent from an earlier projection. Minnesota Management and Budget officials said in a statement that monthly revenue reports are preliminary and can vary wildly from month to month.
Minnesota 2020, a progressive think tank that DFL politician Matt Entenza founded seven years ago, is shutting its doors.
Stuart Alger, a Minneapolis attorney and board of directors chairman for Minnesota 2020, confirmed Monday that the board made the decision last week. Dave Colling, a veteran DFL operative who has frequently worked for Entenza, has been brought in to help the organization close down in an orderly fashion.
Minnesota 2020 delved into many public policy questions facing the state, producing lengthy and deeply researched reports on everything from transportation and energy policy to education and taxes. The group also frequently sponsored public forums featuring high-profile politicians and other civic leaders.
Alger said six to eight full-time employees would be laid off. He said most are writers, researchers and web specialists.
The organization is a 501c3 non-profit, and was funded in large part by donations from organized labor, foundations and private sources. "The funding just hasn't been there as it was in the past," said Alger, an attorney at Stinson Leonard Street in Minneapolis.
Entenza did not immediately respond to an interview request.
Entenza is a former state House minority leader from St. Paul. He founded Minnesota 2020 in June 2007, about a year after an unsuccessful bid for state attorney general.
Entenza tried to revive his political career in 2010 with a run for governor, but finished third in the DFL primary. He re-surfaced this year with a surprise primary challenge to DFL State Auditor Rebecca Otto, which he also lost.
With that last race, Entenza incurred the wrath of many in the DFL establishment, most notably state party chairman Ken Martin. But Alger said he had received no indication that anger toward Entenza led to the drop in donor support.
"We think Minnesota 2020 really provided a lot of good reliable content over seven years, and we're very proud of the work we've done," Alger said.
Minnesota House DFL leaders, locked in a tough battle to retain their majority, announced a plan to freeze public college and university tuition for two more years, until 2017, following a tuition freeze in 2014 and 2015.
“All Minnesota students deserve the opportunity to go to college and receive a degree – without finding themselves under a mountain of debt,” Speaker Paul Thissen said in a news release.
College-aged voters can be fickle, especially in non-presidential years, so DFL leaders may be expending extra effort to get them to the polls this year.
The plan won’t be free. Earlier this month, the University of Minnesota proposed a tuition freeze, in exchange for $127 million — or 10.6 percent — in extra state funding over the next two years, to pay for the tuition plan and other initiatives.
Minnesota State Colleges and Universities offered its own similar proposal: A tuition freeze in exchange for an extra $142 million.
The House DFL plan would also expand loan forgiveness to graduates working in high demand jobs in rural Minnesota, as well as debt relief to graduates working for ServeMinnesota, the state's AmeriCorps offshoot.
Asked how the freeze would be paid for, House DFL spokesman Michael Howard said legislative leaders are working on determining the cost and a plan to pay for it. "Freezing tuition would certainly be a significant investment, but the objective would be that a tuition freeze would come from a mix of additional state dollars and reduction in administrative costs at" the universities, he said.
Updated, with comments from House DFL spokesman Michael Howard on paying for the proposal.
Net Minnesota tax collections were $1.35 billion in August, falling just short of officials' projections in February, the Minnesota Management and Budget Office reported Wednesday.
Overall income tax, sales tax and corporate taxes were off a combined $10 million, about 0.7 percent below a February forecast.Individual income tax withholding was $621 million in August, sales tax receipts were $503 million. For fiscal year 2015, tax collections are at $2.3 billion, down 3.3 percent from estimates.
Minnesota Management and Budget officials said in a statement that monthly revenue reports are preliminary and can vary wildly from month to month.
A $3 million disaster contingency fund will likely cover the state’s share of nearly $41 million in summer storm damage until the Legislature reconvenes in January 2015, according to analysis by state officials.
The memo to Gov. Mark Dayton and legislative leaders from Minnesota Management Commissioner Jim Schowalter and and Budget and Homeland Security and Emergency Management Director Kris Eide outlines the plan to cover the $40.8 million in damages caused by severe storms and flooding following assessments from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
According to FEMA, 37 Minnesota counties and three tribal governments qualify under the President’s Disaster Declaration, meaning the federal government will cover 75 percent of the damage costs, leaving the state on the hook for $10.2 million. Between staggered withdrawals from the $3 million allocated by the Legislature, and advances from the Department of Revenue, there will likely be no need to call the Legislature to a special session to allocate more disaster money.
“We anticipate the existing appropriation will be sufficient to reimburse communities for the 25% non-federal share of the FEMA Public Assistance payments due between now and January 20145.” The memo read, adding that priority will be given to areas that suffered more significant damages.
Read the entire memo here:
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