With an insider’s eye, Hot Dish tracks the tastiest bits of Minnesota’s political scene and keep you up-to-date on those elected to serve you.

Contributors in Minnesota: Patrick Condon, J. Patrick Coolican, Patricia Lopez, Ricardo Lopez, Abby Simons, and Glen Stubbe. Contributors in D.C.: Allison Sherry, Jim Spencer and intern Beena Raghavendran.

Posts about Gov. Mark Dayton

Dayton to meet with Target CEO Cornell

Posted by: J. Patrick Coolican Updated: March 5, 2015 - 11:51 AM

Gov. Mark Dayton said today he spoke briefly to Target CEO Brian Cornell, and the two plan to meet early next week in the wake of the announcement that the mega-retailer expects to reduce its downtown Minneapolis workforce by "several thousand" in the coming years. 

The company currently employs 13,000 corporate employees in the Twin Cities. 

Dayton, whose family founded the company but retains no ties or financial interest, said he worried about the loss of young professionals in downtown Minneapolis. 

"It's a lot of young, talented people who may be looking for jobs available here, but I strongly suspect are going to be recruited in other parts of the country. The potential loss of talented people is going to be very difficult," he said. 

Dayton said the state would assist with job services for laid-off employees. 

Dayton, Bakk meet for first time publicly after feud

Posted by: J. Patrick Coolican Updated: March 5, 2015 - 11:21 AM

Gov. Mark Dayton and Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL leaders who openly feuded last month over pay for Dayton's commissioners, appeared together publicly for the first time since the ruckus at a news conference today to push for transportation funding. 

Both Dayton and DFL Senators have proposed similar plans for a wholesale gas tax to fund $6 billion in road and bridge work plus more for transit improvements. 

Today's event sought to show the two sides united on transportation funding. Both Dayton and Bakk attacked House Republicans, who have said that in light of the budget surplus, a gas tax increase is unnecessary to fund transportation. 

Republicans and Democrats are far apart on road funding. 

Dayton said new revenue is a must: "I would urge House Republicans to come forward with a real proposal," he said, accusing Republicans of "sticking their head in the sand." Bakk said he would not agree to using general fund money for transportation, which Republicans have proposed, because of the risk of a recession and lower revenue that would force transportation to compete with education and other priorities in leaner budget times.  

House GOP Speaker Kurt Daudt issued a statement, saying Democrats had "doubled down on their unpopular plan to raise the gas tax and take more money out of the hands of hardworking Minnesotans."

All eyes in the crowded governor's press briefing room today were on Bakk and Dayton. Neither acknowledged the feud until a question was asked about it, after which the two put their arms around each other as if show reconciliation is at hand. 

Dayton: Target layoffs 'difficult,' seeks meeting with CEO

Posted by: Patrick Condon Updated: March 4, 2015 - 12:25 PM

Gov. Mark Dayton said Wednesday that Target Corp. layoffs will create a "very, very, very difficult situation" for thousands of Minnesota families. Noting the decision has already been made, Dayton said he nonetheless requested a meeting with CEO Brian Cornell to hear his rationale for plans to lay off several thousand employees in the next two years, largely at the company's downtown Minneapolis headquarters. 

"I did not receive any kind of advance notice," Dayton said Wednesday morning in response to a reporter's question. He said he and Lieutenant Gov. Tina Smith, his frequent emissary to the business community, want to meet with Cornell "as soon as possible." 

Cornell announced the layoff plans at a Tuesday meeting of investors and analysts in New York. He said the goal is to achieve $2 billion in annual savings as the company tries to rebound from several years of economic struggles. 

Dayton's father and uncles built the Minneapolis department store company, Dayton's, into Target. He reminded that his family's ties to the company "have long since been severed," but suggested its status as Minnesota's largest private for-profit employer gives him an ongoing stake in its decisions. 

"I think this could have and should have been handled differently, but that's just my view," Dayton said. Of Cornell he said: "He's relatively new here and it's a very, very important company to Minnesota."

Speaking of the fallout for those who get laid off, Dayton said: "I hope he's cognizant of that. I intend to find that out for myself." 

Dayton will lead Mexico trade mission in August

Posted by: Patrick Condon Updated: March 3, 2015 - 4:58 PM

Gov. Mark Dayton will lead a trade mission to Mexico this August. 

The governor's office revealed plans for the trip Tuesday. Full details and exact dates for the trip will be revealed later this week. 

It will be Dayton's third trade mission as governor, The trips have become a tradition not just for Minnesota governors but by governors around the country. The trips primarily involve a group of business and political leaders trying to cultivate new trade markets for state producers.

Mexico is the United States' number two trading partner, after Canada. Former Gov. Jesse Ventura led a Minnesota trade mission there in 2000. 

In his first term, Dayton led such trips to Europe and southeast Asia. 

Dayton's vision for surplus: more for prekindergarten, colleges, gas tax still needed

Posted by: Patrick Condon Updated: February 27, 2015 - 4:00 PM

With an additional $832 million available this year for Gov. Mark Dayton and lawmakers to work with thanks to a positive budget forecast, the DFL governor said Friday that he wants more than half that money to benefit the two ends of the learning spectrum. 

"I propose that we invest our collective good fortune in our collective better future," Dayton said Friday, after state budget forecasters said a projected surplus had swelled to $1.9 billion from $1 billion just three months earlier. 

To that end, Dayton said he'd seek an additional $444.2 million in spending to bolster several priorities. He's suggested an additional $238 million to ensure full statewide access to pre-kindergarten programs, rather than partial access as he initially proposed.


Dayton also backed an additional $127.5 million to freeze tuition for two more years at all public higher education institutions, plus $25 million more in state grants for college students. 

In addition, Dayton said he'd propose setting aside $50 million to implement expected recommendations from a Child Protection Task Force working to bolster that system.

Dayton also flagged $3.7 million for the Minneapolis Park Board, which he'd initially proposed penalizing for what he called its delays to the process of approving a new light-rail route through southwest Minneapolis. On Friday, the Park Board and Metropolitan Council reached a deal meant to end those delays. 

With that additional spending, about $388 million in additional surplus dollars would remain. Dayton said he would fully detail his revised budget proposal on March 9. The extra dollars could leave some room to negotiate with Republicans on their priorities for the surplus, which include tax relief, spending on road and bridge repairs, and additional money for nursing homes.


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