Today, Management and Budget Commissioner Jim Schowalter and Revenue Commissioner Robert Doty along with State Economist Laura Kalambokidis will release the November Forecast to provide some light on the state’s financial picture. Revenues have been up and the question of the depth of the stat’s financial woes will get a first true glimpse prior to the 2021-22 legislative session.
We will also cover the responses of the political leadership when they provide their responses to the forecast.
Latest from MMB.
Minnesota’s economic and budget outlook have improved since May, when we released a budget projection just as the COVID-19 pandemic was taking hold. With this forecast, higher general fund revenues and lower expected spending result in a projected surplus of $641 million for the FY 2020-21 biennium. The improved budget outlook continues into FY 2022-23, but a $1.273 billion budgetary shortfall remains for that biennium. As the pandemic continues, economic challenges also persist. Minnesota has 184,000 fewer jobs than in February and, while the economic downturn has affected all Minnesotans, unemployment has disproportionately impacted lower wage workers.
Yesterday, the DFL House Caucus announced it list of committee chairs for the forthcoming legislative session. There are a number of 2nd term members who have received a gavel, and a notable placement of a woman of color, Rep Rena Moran (DFL-65B, St Paul) as the historic head of Ways and Means.
2021-22 House Committee Chairs
Agriculture Finance & Policy: Rep Mike Sundin (DFL-11A, Esko)
Capital Investment: Rep Fue Lee (DFL-59A, Minneapolis)
Commerce Finance & Policy: Rep Zack Stephenson (DFL-36A, Coon Rapids)
Education Finance: Rep Jim Davnie (DFL-63A, Minneapolis)
Early Childhood Finance & Policy: Rep David Pinto (DFL-64B, St Paul)
Education Policy: Rep Ruth Richardson (DFL-52B, Mendota Heights)
Environment and Natural Resources Finance & Policy: Rep Rick Hansen (DFL-52A, South St Paul)
Climate and Energy Finance & Policy: Rep Jamie Long (DFL-61B, Minneapolis)
State Government Finance & Policy: Rep Mike Nelson (DFL-40A, Brooklyn Park)
Local Government Division: Rep Sandra Masin (DFL-51A, Eagan)
Health Finance & Policy: Rep Tina Liebling (DFL-26A, Rochester)
Preventative Health Policy Division: Rep Mike Freiberg (DFL-45B, Golden Valley)
Human Services Finance & Policy: Rep Jennifer Schultz (DFL-07A, Duluth)
Behavioral Health Policy Division: Rep Peter Fischer (DFL-43A, Maplewood)
Higher Education Finance & Policy: Rep Connie Bernardy (DFL-41A, New Brighton)
Housing Finance & Policy: Rep Alice Hausman (DFL-66A, St Paul)
Preventing Homelessness Division: Rep Aisha Gomez (DFL-62B, Minneapolis)
Labor, Industry, Veterans and Military Affairs Finance & Policy: Rep Rob Ecklund (DFL-03A, International Falls)
Workforce and Business Development Finance & Policy: Rep Mohamud Noor (DFL-60B, Minneapolis)
Industrial Education and Economic Development Finance & Policy: Rep Gene Pelowski (DFL-28A, Winona)
Judiciary Finance & Civil Law: Rep Jamie Becker-Finn (DFL-42B, Roseville)
Legacy Finance: Rep Leon Lillie (DFL-43B, North St Paul)
Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform Finance & Policy: Rep Carlos Mariani (DFL-64A, St Paul)
Rules and Legislative Administration: Rep Ryan Winkler (DFL-46A, Golden Valley)
Subcommittee on Legislative Process Reform: Rep Gene Pelowski (DFL-28A, Winona)
Taxes: Rep Paul Marquart (DFL-04B, Dillworth)
Property Tax Division: Rep Cheryl Youakim (DFL-46B, Hppkins)
Transportation Finance & Policy: Rep Frank Hornstein (DFL-61A, Minneapolis)
Ways and Means: Rep Rena Moran (DFL-64B, St Paul)
Redistricting: Rep Mary Murphy (DFL-03A, Hermantown)
Minnesota House Speaker Melissa Hortman announced the appointment of Rep. Rena Moran (DFL – Saint Paul) as the next chair of the House Ways and Means Committee. Rep. Moran expressed gratitude for the opportunity to chair the committee, which has broad jurisdiction over state budget matters.
“I’m deeply honored to enter this next step of my time in the Legislature, and thank Speaker Hortman for the tremendous opportunity,” Rep. Moran said. “My goal in chairing this committee will be to ensure our state budget is a true reflection of our values, and recognizes what Minnesotans need to get through this crisis of COVID-19 and racial injustices. It’s no secret people all over the state are going through challenges as a result of both. No matter how difficult the job will be, I’m looking forward to the work ahead to help Minnesotans emerge stronger.”
Upon receiving the gavel when the Legislature convenes in January, Rep. Moran will become the first person of color to chair the committee as well as the first African American woman.
Rep. Moran takes over as Ways and Means chair from Rep. Lyndon Carlson (DFL – Crystal) who is retiring following 48 years in the House. Currently, she chairs the House Health and Human Services Policy Committee and is co-chair of the House Select Committee on Racial Justice. Additionally, she serves as chair of the People of Color and Indigenous (POCI) Caucus and United Black Legislative Caucus.
The complete list of chairs and committees can be accessed here. Full membership of House committees will be announced in December. The 2021 legislative session convenes on January 5.
Yesterday, the Senate Republican Majority announced the Committee Chairs for 2021-22. As expected, Senators Tom Bakk (DFL-03, Cook) and David Tomassoni (DFL-06, Chisholm) were rewarded for their departure from the DFL Caucus with the Capitol Investment and Housing Finance and Policy committees respectively. Now, the question is will they be able to select their own staff or as it is the case in general, will the Majority Caucus select the staff? We also expect Bakk and Tommassoni will have new offices out of the DFL side of the 2nd floor in the Senate Office Building.
Another interesting component of this list is the movement of Senjem, Chamberlain, Nelson, Weber, Jasinski, Osmek, Lang, Draheim, Koran, Mathews, Rarick, Eichorn, Utke and Johnson to new Committee assignments. Additionally, there are new Committees/subcommittees Subcommittee on Property Taxes, Local Government Policy, Subcommittee on Metropolitan Governance Policy, Veterans and Military Affairs, Housing Finance and Policy, Technology and Reform Policy, Civil Law and Data Practices Policy, Labor and Industry Policy, Mining and Forestry Policy, Human Services Licensing Policy and Redistricting.
2021-22 Senate Committee Chairs
Rules: Senator Paul Gazelka
Finance: Senator Julie Rosen
State Government Finance and Policy, and Elections: Senator Mary Kiffmeyer
Health and Human Services Finance and Policy: Senator Michelle Benson
Human Services Reform Finance and Policy: Senator Jim Abeler
Jobs Finance and Policy: Senator Eric Pratt
Commerce Finance and Policy: Senator Gary Dahms
Judiciary and Public Safety Finance and Policy, Criminal Law: Senator Warren Limmer
Environment and Natural Resources Finance: Senator Bill Ingebrigtsen
Environment and Natural Resources Policy and Legacy Finance: Senator Carrie Ruud
Transportation Finance and Policy: Senator Scott Newman
Agriculture Finance and Policy: Senator Torrey Westrom
Aging and Long-Term Care Policy: Senator Karin Housley
Energy Finance and Policy: Senator Dave Senjem
E-12 Finance and Policy: Senator Roger Chamberlain
Taxes: Senator Carla Nelson
Subcommittee on Property Taxes: Senator Bill Weber
Local Government Policy: Senator John Jasinski
Subcommittee on Metropolitan Governance Policy: Senator Dave Osmek
Veterans and Military Affairs: Senator Andrew Lang
Capital Investment: Senator Tom Bakk
Higher Education Finance and Policy: Senator David Tomassoni
Housing Finance and Policy: Senator Rich Draheim
Technology and Reform Policy: Senator Mark Koran
Civil Law and Data Practices Policy: Senator Andrew Mathews
Labor and Industry Policy: Senator Jason Rarick
Mining and Forestry Policy: Senator Justin Eichorn
Human Services Licensing Policy: Senator Paul Utke
Redistricting: Senator Mark Johnson
We did it again, 1st in the nation in voter participation. We just missed the elusive 80% mark by .05% while setting the nations standard for voting participation, but it is our best performance by raw votes in state history. Yesterday, Secretary of State Steve Simon (DFL-MN) put out the following press release on the 2020 election.
Secretary of State Steve Simon today convened the State Canvassing Board to review the canvass report for the 2020 General Election and certify the results. In addition to the U.S. Presidential election and a U.S. Senate race, the board certified the election results of eight U.S. House of Representatives contests and state legislative and judicial offices.
“The State Canvassing Board has today certified Minnesota’s 2020 General Election results,” said Secretary Steve Simon. “I’m proud to officially announce that for the third election in a row, Minnesota voters were number one in the nation in voter turnout.” The total number of voters was 3,292,997. That means 79.95 percent of eligible Minnesotans participated in the 2020 General Election. That is the highest percentage turnout since 1956, and the highest total number of voters ever.
“This election was like no other in Minnesota history. The pandemic meant administering the 2020 election using a public health and safety lens.” Secretary Simon said. “I made an unprecedented request of Minnesota voters: to consider voting from home with an absentee ballot. Those voters responded in truly remarkable fashion.” 1,906,383 million voters cast an absentee ballot – about 58 percent of those voting. The previous highest level, in 2018, was around 24 percent.
The election was a great success for other reasons. There was no lack of election judges, which other states faced. There was no report of violence or intimidation, as some had feared. There were no credible allegations of voter fraud. And there was no shortage of PPE or supplies at polling places to keep in-person voters safe.
“Even as we celebrate a third consecutive election leading the nation in turnout, I know that Minnesota can do more to make every voice heard. No matter where they live in Minnesota, or what language they speak, or what accommodations they need to cast their ballot, I look forward to continuing my mission to make it as easy as possible for every eligible Minnesotan to vote.”
The State Canvassing Board is called pursuant to Article VII, Section 8 of the Constitution of the State of Minnesota, which states: The returns of every election for officeholders elected statewide shall be made to the secretary of state who shall call to his assistance two or more of the judges of the supreme court and two disinterested judges of the district courts. They shall constitute a board of canvassers to canvass the returns and declare the result within three days after the canvass.
Secretary of State Simon extended his thanks to the Justices and Judges who agreed to serve on this canvassing board to certify the election results: Margaret H. Chutich, Associate Justice, Minnesota Supreme Court; Gordon L. Moore III, Associate Justice, Minnesota Supreme Court; Regina Chu, Judge, Fourth Judicial District Court; and Christian Sande, Judge, Fourth Judicial District Court.
Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-09, Nisswa) released the following statement.
“Today I received confirmation of my positive covid test. I have been in quarantine since experiencing symptoms last Monday and will remain in quarantine as long as my doctor advises me to. I did not attend session on Thursday due to a scheduled trip, and we extended our trip to avoid breaking my quarantine. We followed CDC and airline requirements during our travel and I’m very thankful my wife, Maralee, has tested negative for covid.
“I am not experiencing major issues or symptoms and I expect like 99% of people, I will make a full recovery. We have learned a lot about this virus and how to treat it, we must remain cautiously optimistic that we will find a way to live with it. Our future cannot be prolonged isolation, face coverings, and limited activities. Our children aren’t learning, our seniors deserve better than to die alone, and the rise in mental health concerns cannot be ignored.
“Finally, the blaming and shaming of a positive covid diagnosis has got to stop. Senate operations are an essential service and precautions were taken to prevent spreading covid; no one was put at any more risk than any other special session. The deliberate choice to use a covid diagnosis as a political tool to blame just Republicans when community spread is uncontrolled is indicative of failed leadership looking for a scapegoat. Minnesotans deserve better.”
National and Minnesota Report
There are reports out of the White House that Donald J Trump (R) is evolving to a position where he is acknowledging his lose and sees the specter of indictments looming on the horizon. He is soliciting money from supporters to assist in his post-election recount and court challenges, but is this actually where the money is actually going to go? We believe he is trying to bolster his own legal defense fund to address the legal matters he is facing.
While he says, his people deserve the fight for his reelection if he is merely using this as a Trojan Horse to pad his own pocket then the people sending him money are the true Suckers and Losers, because they are being suckered by the biggest loser, Donald J Trump.
Here is the most recent solicitation to prove the point.
You’ve always been one of my strongest supporters, which is why I’m coming to you now with an urgent request.
I’ve activated the Official Election Defense Fund and I need EVERY PATRIOT, including YOU, to step up and make sure we have enough resources to PROTECT THE INTEGRITY OF OUR ELECTION.
Step up IMMEDIATELY and increase your impact by 1000%.
I need YOUR HELP to STOP the Left-wing MOB from undermining our Election.
Yesterday’s selection of Sen David Tomassoni (DFL-06, Chisholm) as the Senate President, the first time a minority member has held the position since partisan elections began in 1972, could have been done for all the right reasons, like reducing the partisanship in the Senate. Additionally, the selection should have been intended to continue into the 2021 session, but instead, it was done for purely partisan political reasons until the end of this year during the forthcoming Special Sessions.
The roll call of the vote showed 63-4 with Senators Jim Carlson (DFL-51, Eagan, Chris Eaton (DFL-40, Brooklyn Center, Jeff Howe (R-13, Rockville) and Ron Latz (DFL-44, St Louis Park) voting in opposition.
Call it Domino Theory, Conspiracy Theory or a hat tip to the House of Cards, but the choice of “Guido” for the position is cynical in two ways. First, Republicans are taking a defensive posture to prevent a loss of a seat in their majority in 2021 should US Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) be tapped by President-elect Joe Biden (D) to join his administration. speculation being as Attorney General or Agricultural Secretary. As an additional consideration, it means they Senate GOP is not too confident outgoing Senate President Jeremy Miller (R-28, Winona) can hold the seat in a Special Election after he just was reelected with a 57.66% majority, but also means they think an open seat on the Iron Range is riper for the picking, Tomassoni carried his seat with 57.04%. Second, it assumes Governor Tim Walz (DFL-MN) would in turn appoint Lt Governor Peggy Flanagan (DFL-MN) to the position. This would set off the same chain of events as the selection of Lt Governor Tina Smith (DFL-MN) by Governor Mark Dayton (DFL-MN) to fill the US Senate seat after US Senator Al Franken (D-MN) needlessly resigned.
These series of assumptions preclude Biden’s decision, Klobuchar’s decision, and Walz’ decision. Not to mention the possibility Biden might consider a selection of Flanagan for a position in her own right, or choice comes to Walz why whether or not he would pick Flanagan, or why not Franken or someone else?
With the GOP Senate Majority returning to a 34-33 vote this means Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-09, Nisswa) will be tasked with wrangling all of the votes in his caucus.
Minnesota and National Report
One of the reasons certain voters, read Trump supporters, are legitimate is their distrust of the news media, is because of the polls they continue to report. The reason news organizations do polling is to manufacture a story or a series of stories about the poll they did. The problems with polling have been evident since the advent of cellphones and also because of the distrust of media, by Trump voters, they participate in polls to a lesser extend and we don’t doubt why they do the follow Donald J Trump (R) and lie in their response so they can create a self-fulfilling prophesy when the polling comes out and doesn’t square with election results.
Today, there is a column in the New York Times that takes this issue full on and is worth a read Nate Cohn Explains What the Polls Got Wrong. To those of us in the political sphere these answers are logical and somewhat obvious, but like Trump voters it always go to have a news source that reinforces your own opinion.
People tracking the 2020 election returns all know the impact of the Absentee Ballots this election. The weight of those votes is not something visible on the Secretary of State’s website, but the information is available from many Counties if it is asked for. We have obtained the first three Supplemental Election Reports from Ramsey County and are providing them for you to observe the changes in results in both the Presidential and US Senate contests over the course of the last two days. The first report was at the end of the Election Day and we will add today’s report after we receive it at approximately 4:00 pm.
There were nearly three times as many Absentee Ballots cast for former Vice-President Joe Biden (D) than there were Same Day Ballots and better than 80% over Donald J Trump (R).
National and Minnesota Report Yesterday, articles in the New York Times and the Washington Post spelled good news for the former Vice-President Joe Biden’s campaign (D). https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/25/upshot/poll-2020-biden-battlegrounds.html...
Minnesota Report Two years ago, the Republican controlled State Senate brought forward it’s Capitol Investment Bill, which failed to pass on a party line vote of 34-33, seven votes short of the 2/3rds majority of 41 votes. What is interesting I what the Republicans...
Minnesota Report The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN has released a medical advisory in direct response to Donald J Trump's (R) call of the use of hydroxychloroquine and erythromycin.Guidance on patients at risk of drug-induced sudden cardiac death from off-label...
Minnesota Report On Friday, Governor Tim Walz (DFL-MN) along with Commissioner Jan Malcolm released the State of Minnesota’s comprehensive COVID-19 page on the Department of Health’s Website. Additionally, the MN House also has a page which provides more and...
National Report In spite of not having scientific support for his position Donald J Trump (R) continues to put forward his contention that the use of Hydroxychloroquine a drug for Malaria and Lupus and Erythromycin a drug for bacterial infections as a panacea to the...
Minnesota Report As we are in the midst of the second week of the Stay at Home Executive Order 20-20 more orders are coming from Governor Tim Walz (DFL-MN) to stipulate what options are available to our state’s citizens. Today, Executive Order 20-25 Authorizing Peace...
If you want to be memorable in Minnesota State Capitol politics it is good if you are referred to as something other than your name. It is often helpful when a term or a phrase can be applied to your, group, issue or initiative. If you want to be known as something...
There were a number of firsts that occurred in the 1998 Governor's race besides the My Three Sons Primary and the election of third-party candidate Jesse Ventura, In 1997, the Ted Mondale for Governor campaign took out, what is known as the First Paid Political...
The NPR show 1A ran a program on Ranked Choice Voting today, and Checks & Balances Publisher Shawn Towle sought a spot on the panel. When called back by producer Andi McDaniel he was informed the panel was full but could submit a comment through the voicemail...
If DFLers Are Concerned About Public Pensions They Also Need to Be Conscious of Where FairVote’s Money Comes From
In politics, the old adage is “Follow the Money.” If you are concerned about the effects of the Citizen’s United decision and the Koch Brothers influences on politics, then this story merits attention. Originally, we thought the John and Laura Arnold Foundation was...
Minnesota Report When competing political ideologies are at play, the ability to achieve consensus is a far way island, and reaching it, is a distant, remote and implausible likelihood. The reason being political people are hard-pressed to see beyond their own vested...read more
Minnesota Report We are hearing the legislature will likely be recalled for Special Session June 12th, which is just before Governor Tim Walz’ (DFL-MN) last peacetime emergency declaration is set to expire. In order to declare another one, he will need to receive...read more
Minnesota Report The House and the Senate have agreed to allow alcohol sales to be purchased from restaurants, during the COVID-19 crisis, but only beer and wine. The problem with this is with liquor stores still open the cost will be higher without an added benefit,...read more
Minnesota Report As Donald J Trump (R) continues to discuss his preparation and planning, combined with his pressure to open up the United States for business again on May 1st, he does so in a potential conflict with the state’s governors. Here in Minnesota, he will...read more
Minnesota Report The agenda for the legislature is limited and focused on issues surrounding the COVID-19 Virus and there are a number of ways it is adversely affecting our state. A view of the times for consideration by the House Rules and Legislative Administration...read more