This week on Facebook

April 9, 2010

There are a couple of items from our Facebook page this week that we’d like to share with our blog audience:

Policymakers agree to $312 million in budget reductions. Policymakers took the first step to address the state’s budget shortfall on March 29, when the legislature passed a compromise supplemental budget agreement that had been negotiated with the Governor. The agreed-upon solution recommends changes to nearly every area of the state budget, except for the two largest areas: K-12 education and health and human services. New analysis from the Minnesota Budget Project highlights the major components of the supplemental budget bill and the impact on Minnesota families, then discusses the next steps for this legislative session.

Invest in Minnesota Woodbury In-District Meeting. Policymakers will be deciding shortly how to respond to the economic crisis—including whether or not they will take a balanced approach that meets the needs of Minnesota’s struggling families and starts to build for a more prosperous future.

Join Invest in Minnesota, a coalition of faith, labor and nonprofit organizations, united to raise revenue fairly, for an important conversation with Woodbury-area elected officials Rep. Bunn, Sen. Saltzman, and Rep. Swails.Invest in MN logo

This is your chance to tell your stories about why we need revenues as a part of a balanced solution to budget shortfalls, and to hear from local elected officials on how they plan to balance the budget.

The details: Tuesday, April 13, 2010, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m., R.H. Stafford Library, 8595 Central Park Place, Woodbury, MN

Please RSVP today to Julia Jackson or 651-757-3074 so that we can plan accordingly with space and refreshments. With any questions, contact Leah Gardner or 651-757-3063. More info at the Invest in Minnesota web site.

Tax Payback Year. We previously blogged on the problems with the Tax Freedom Day report. We later came across Economics Professor Nancy Folbre’s estimate of Tax Payback Year on the New York Times’ blog. Tax Payback Year is described as  “the number of years beyond age 21 that it takes average taxpayers to fully repay the government (and their fellow taxpayers) for the public funds expended on them in their first 21 years.” Interesting food for thought.

-The Minnesota Budget Project Team

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This week on Facebook

March 19, 2010

Here is some information that we posted on Facebook this week that might be of interest to you:

  • Senate has announced that they will taking up their budget/tax bill on the floor on Monday at 11:00 am. (On a side note: look for the first amendment to be a “delete-all” that would substitute the Governor’s supplemental budget proposal for the Senate bill. This will give members of the Senate a chance to vote up or down on the Governor’s proposal.)
  • Also, the Senate will take their Easter/Passover break starting Monday, March 29 at 5:00 pm through April 6, returning to the Capitol later on the 6th.
  • We have posted a new issue brief taking a closer look at the state’s February 2010 economic forecast.

In other news,

  • the Governor has issued his revised supplemental budget proposal reflecting new information from the February forecast. The changed items are highlighted in yellow.
  • A complete list of the House targets are available online.

-the Minnesota Budget Project team

This week on Facebook & an update on yesterday’s blog outage

February 19, 2010

Much of our Facebook activity for this week related to blog entries analyzing the Governor’s budget. A few other additional items we touched on:

  • There was a great question regarding the 3 percent cuts to state agency budgets in the Governor’s budget proposal for FY 2010, which is the current budget year. Back in early December, Governor Pawlenty ordered agencies to immediately begin holding back 3 percent of their operating budgets in anticipation of using that to help solve the deficit. So agencies have actually been planning on a 3 percent reduction for more than half of the biennium.
  • We highlighted that the early-bird deadline for MCN’s Technology Conference is this Friday. Breakouts for the advocacy crowd include “Video Testimonies for Advocacy and Grassroots Organizing”.
  • Earlier in the week we reported that the Minnesota House would be voting on General Assistance Medical Care (GAMC), with links both to our analysis on that issue and the Save GAMC coalition, which is a helpful resource for anyone wanting to keep up to date on how GAMC is progressing in the legislature and participate in advocacy efforts.

You may have noticed that was down for nearly two hours yesterday afternoon. In fact, all of the blogs hosted by our blog provider were down during that time. We apologize for any inconvenience.

-The Minnesota Budget Project Team

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This week on Facebook…

February 12, 2010

Here are this week’s highlights from our Facebook page (the information is also posted to twitter):

  • The House and Senate have announced tentative committee deadlines: 1st deadline is March 12 (committees must act favorably on bills in the house of origin), 2nd deadline is March 19 (committees must act favorably on bills that met the first deadline in the other house) and 3rd deadline is March 29 (finance divisions of the House and Senate must act favorably on omnibus appropriation bills).
  • Governor announces in his State of the State that he will release his budget on Monday and it will include “very dramatic and painful spending reductions.”
  • Minnesota’s tax collections in January were $47 million above expectations. That’s good news, but it’s not likely to have much impact on the state’s $1.2 billion deficit. State Economist Tom Stinson told MPR that the February Forecast may “vary by plus or minus a couple hundred million dollars” from the last forecast. The deficit is not going away, but it also isn’t going to be twice as bad. The February Forecast is expected on March 2.
  • Moody’s has lowered its outlook for Minnesota from stable to negative, but is keeping our bond rating at Aa1. Minnesota’s bond rating with Moody’s has been at Aa1 since June 2003.

Also, the Minnesota Budget Project has posted a new fact sheet that describes impact of cuts to Renters’ Credit on renters and the economy. Renters’ Credit was cut in 2010 under last year’s unallotments, but we expect the Governor to propose permanent cuts in his supplemental budget.

-the Minnesota Budget Project team

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Our first week on Facebook

February 5, 2010

OK, so we haven’t been on Facebook for a full week yet, but we’ve already had some interesting information to share. With the legislative session gaining steam – there is sure to be much more to come. We promised that we’d find a way to  get that information out to those of you who are not on Facebook (or twitter). So here are some highlights:

News you’ll want to know:

  • We are hearing that the Governor’s budget will be released after the State of the State (which is set for Thursday, February 11, 11:00 am). Keep mind that the Governor’s budget release is not behind schedule. There just had been previous statements indicating that it might come early, so that’s what is creating some uncertainty about a release date.
  • The February Forecast is set to be released Tuesday, March 2. The deficit is likely to remain close to $1.2 billion – so far state revenues have been tracking close to the November Forecast projections.
  • Sen. Pogemiller said in Rules Committee on Thursday that the 3rd committee deadline may be Monday, March 29. Easter/Passover recess would start that afternoon and run through following Monday or Tuesday. But it’s not official yet. FYI – the 3rd committee deadline refers to the date by which each of the individual finance committees needs to have its omnibus bill done.
  • The bonding bill will probably be on the Senate floor by next Tuesday.

We also shared a piece by Bob Greenstein (Executive Director of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities) on President Obama’s budget – it is a great way to get an overview of the critical fiscal issues facing us at the federal level.

-the Minnesota Budget Project team

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