Dayton transportation plan to be released

Good morning. Pro tip learned this weekend: Washing machines are very tough on notebooks.

Gov. Mark Dayton releases his transportation proposal this morning in the Governor’s Press Briefing Room, Veterans Service Building, 20 West 12th Street, St. Paul. He’ll hold a conference call at 11:30 with outstate reporters to discuss outstate transportation.

Dayton will unveil his budget proposal Tuesday at 11 in the Skjegstad Room, Department of Revenue, 600 Robert Street North, St. Paul. (Need pronunciation help on Skjegstad if anyone is offering.) He said Friday that half the surplus will go to programs aimed at kids, reports Ricardo Lopez.

Lt. Gov. Tina Smith will be with Dayton. Then at 1:30 she chairs a special meeting of the Capitol Area Architectural and Planning Board Room 116-C, Administration Building, 658 Cedar Street, Saint Paul. Open press.

House Ways and Means meets today at 10:15 to discuss the significant increase in Medical Assistance funding. Seems like a venue for beating up on Obamacare.

Senate in session at 11; House at 3:30.

Full schedule

Weekend reading

The Strib’s Pat Condon on the Great Divide, the widening gap between metro and outstate politics.

“The last two years had been a Democrat majority that really was Minneapolis-and St. Paul-centric and was forgetting the rest of the state,” the Capitol’s new top Republican, Speaker Kurt Daudt, said the day after the election. Rep. Jeff Backer, R-Browns Valley, won his race in part by dubbing his DFL opponent, Jay McNamar of Elbow Lake, “Metro Jay” for McNamar’s vote for same-sex marriage.

From the plans for a taxpayer-funded new office building for state senators in St. Paul, to cultural hot buttons like the 2013 vote to legalize gay marriage or the ongoing effort to bring the Affordable Care Act to the state, Republican candidates in many of the state’s furthest reaches capitalized on unease that big-city Democrats were inflicting their values on small towns while hoarding the spoils of the state treasury.

Here, however, is the fiscal reality:

In 2010, the latest year comprehensive numbers were available, those metro counties contained 53.7 percent of the state’s population but accounted for 63.8 percent of all state tax receipts. For spending, the split reversed, with 52.8 percent of state spending going to the metro, while the remainder went to outstate Minnesota.

In broad terms, a greater share of education and human services dollars goes to the metro, while outstate does considerably better in distribution of highway dollars and local government assistance.

Check out this very helpful interactive graphic.


Condon reports from the Iowa Freedom Summit, Rep. Steve King’s event in Des Moines.

The Hill reports Wis. Gov. Scott Walker is getting a lot of early buzz and really nailed his speech.

But he needs to stop using Dropkick Murphys tunes at events, say Dropkick Murphys in this amazing tweet:

@ScottWalker @GovWalker please stop using our music in any way...we literally hate you !!! Love, Dropkick Murphys


No Child Left Behind fight coming, and Rep. John Kline will be in the center of it, Allison Sherry reports.

This spring, Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill are girding for one of the biggest showdowns in a decade on how to revamp the 13-year-old No Child Left Behind law that fundamentally challenged norms in public education by requiring schools prove students were effectively learning core subjects.

On testing and accountability, most everyone agrees some tests are good and that schools should be required to be transparent on how well students are doing in reading and math.

The tension among the two political parties, the unions, the Obama administration, governors, state lawmakers and parent groups centers on what should happen after the tests show a school is failing large numbers of students. Whose responsibility is that? Is that a state problem? Or a federal one?

Politico’s Mike Allen with a big takeout on the 2016 Clinton campaign.

Washington Post wonders if Sen. Rand Paul’s presidential campaign will have problems with his father Rep. Ron Paul. His father, for instance, is talking about secession.

Times: People are falling out of the middle class.

This can’t be good: In Greece, AP reports the radical right and the radical left have created a coalition government, opposing austerity and the EU bailout. As someone else noted, this is 1930s economics becoming 1930s politics.

Finally, I highly recommend Cheryl Strayed’s “Wild,” key sections of which take place in Minnesota. But the book mostly traces her path on the Pacific Crest Trail as she confronts grief and fear. And the movie is faithful to the book and worth seeing.  

Just remember this Monday a.m. wisdom: “The universe...was never, ever kidding. It would take whatever it wanted and it would never give it back.”

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