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, Baird Helgeson, Patricia Lopez, Jim Ragsdale, Abby Simons, Rachel E. Stassen-Berger and Glen Stubbe. Contributors in D.C.: Allison Sherry, Corey Mitchell and Jim Spencer.

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New report credits Angel Credits with millions in new investments

Posted by: Jennifer Brooks Updated: February 14, 2014 - 1:52 PM

Angel Tax Credits helped bring $107 million in private investment and more than 500 new jobs to the state between 2010 and 2012, according to a new report.

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development touted the results Friday of a new report by the Economic Development and Research Group. State statute required an independent evaluation of the tax credit program after its third year.

“The Angel Tax Credit program has a proven track record of success in assisting promising startups in their early stages of development,” DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben said in a statement.

Angel Tax Credits go to investors who put money into Minnesota startups, particularly high tech companies. Investors are eligible for credits of up to $125,000 per person, per year. The state had $12.2 million in tax credits available in 2014, and as of Friday, $5.4 million remained in the fund.

Among other things, the review concluded that the tax credits could help companies bring another 635 jobs to the state by 2020. When researchers surveyed past investors, 34 percent said they would have made a smaller investment without the incentive of the extra tax credits.

Read the full report here.

Senate bonding tour set to hit the road

Posted by: Jennifer Brooks Updated: February 6, 2014 - 5:57 PM

Minnesota Senators are hitting the road later this month: The road, the bridges, the community centers, the zoos and other sites around the metro area, all hoping for an infusion of funds from this year's bonding bill.

Gov. Mark Dayton has asked the Legislature to fund almost $1 billion in state-backed construction projects this year, and communities around the state are lining up with ideas about how that money could be spent.

The Senate Capital Investment Committee will tour the metro area from Feb. 18 through 21. Planned stops on the bonding tour include Century College in White Bear Lake, the Tubman Center East in Maplewood, Fort Snelling, the Minnesota Zoo, Higher Ground in Minneapolis and St. David's Center in Minnetonka.

The Senate's Build.MN site outlines these projects and hundreds of others around the state -- universities want money to build new classroom buildings, communities need money to expand their convention centers or restore crumbling historic buildings or repair a dam.

Non-budget years at the Legislature are traditionally bonding years, although many House and Senate Republicans are balking at Dayton's $986 million proposal, and hoping for a more modest bill geared mainly toward essential infrastructure projects.

The first bonding hearings will begin as soon as the Legislature returns to work Feb. 25.

Federal fundraising figures, finally

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger Updated: January 31, 2014 - 9:52 AM

Friday is Federal Election Commission deadline day when federal candidates and groups must file their fundraising figures for 2013.

Follow along as we update our chart below with the cash hauls reported the the campaign finance agency.

Note: You may need to scroll a bit to see all the numbers.

Franken and Klobuchar seek cover on military pension flap

Posted by: Updated: December 18, 2013 - 6:13 PM

Critics of the bipartisan budget accord in Congress have seized on a provision slightly trimming the cost-of-living increases of military pensions for those who retire young. While some call it a necessary reform, the measure has become fodder in recent days for Tea Party opponents of the deal, who say it’s unpatriotic.

Although the House already passed the budget deal with overwhelming bipartisan support, the late-breaking pension uproar has prompted a group of senators, including Minnesota Democrats Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar, to seek cover.

So on Wednesday, ahead of an expected Senate vote to pass a budget and avoid another government shutdown, Franken announced that he and Klobuchar were joining more than a dozen of their colleagues in introducing the Military Retirement Restoration Act to replace the cuts to military pensions by closing corporate loopholes.

“There are ways to reduce the deficit by making commonsense reductions to defense spending, but cutting military pensions isn’t one of them,” Franken said in a statement. 

The main loophole in question allows companies managed and controlled in the United States to incorporate overseas in order to avoid paying U.S. taxes on their foreign income. Closing it would raise about $6.6 billion over ten years, more than covering the restored pension benefits.

But Republican interest in this measure is roughly estimated at negligible to zero, meaning that there was little chance Wednesday that it would become law.

The GOP had already tried an alternative Tuesday that would offset the military pension cut by curbing an IRS credit used by illegal immigrants. Democrats beat that idea back, saying it was really intended to kill the budget deal.

But now, for the record, will be more than a dozen senators standing up for veterans, including those who retire in their late 30s and move on to second careers.

Minneapolis mayor-elect talks street cars with U.S. Transportation Secretary

Posted by: Updated: December 13, 2013 - 4:19 PM

Minneapolis Mayor-elect Betsy Hodges met Friday with President Obama and other top administration officials, part of a group of 16-newly elected mayors who went to the White House to map out an urban agenda.

Hodges, a DFLer, said the group discussed economic development, along with federal investment in social, transportation and infrastructure projects.

In an interview outside the White House, Hodges said she keyed on U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, the former mayor of Charlotte, N.C.

“You can be sure I talked to Secretary Foxx about or street car initiative, as well as light rail,” said Hodges, adding that this is an auspicious time for cities to partner with the federal government.

“The opportunity is that this president has always valued cities and urban areas,” she said.

According to a White House transcript of the meeting, Obama spoke of “a shared vision of cities as being critical hubs in which we're creating jobs; bringing businesses; seeing startups develop; making sure that there are pathways, gateways for opportunity for people from the surrounding areas, the surrounding states, the regions, and in many cases, the world.”

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