House, Senate hash out University of Minnesota funding differences

Aside from the University of Minnesota’s multimillion-dollar request for construction and upkeep projects throughout its five-campus system, more state dollars are on the line this session.

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House, Senate conferees start budget deliberations

Rep. Lyndon Carlson, Sr., chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, second from left, and Sen. Richard Cohen, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, second from right, listen as House and Senate staff begin a comparison of the supplemental budget bills, during the first meeting of the conference committee April 22. (Photo by Paul Battaglia)

As the conferees for the supplemental budget bill began their work on Tuesday night, the House and Senate chairs had a sense of déjà vu.

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LGA and property taxes: Frozen aid = tax increase

This year's House Omnibus Tax bill improves on reforms made last year to city Local Government Aid (LGA). In 2013, policymakers made significant improvements to the aid formula and increased the appropriation to partially replace what was lost over the preceding decade. However, that bill failed to finish the job of LGA by annually adjusting the appropriation to keep pace with inflation and population growth.

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Budget priorities shaping up

Legislators begin meeting today to reach agreement on what portion of the $1.2 billion projected surplus to invest in better education, improved health and a strong state road system.

The supplemental budget conference committee starts today to work out the differences between Governor Dayton’s supplemental budget and the House and Senate budget proposals, which are housed in House File 3172 (with some additional Senate transportation funding in Senate File 2859).

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BEHIND THE STORY | Ensuring legacy funds serve all communities

More than five years after Minnesotans voted to pass the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment, I think we can look back and say the sales tax revenue generated has been a boon to our arts economy

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License plate reader issue coming to a head at Legislature

A license plate reader (LPR) that many Minnesota law enforcement agencies have and the data it collects can know where you were five days, five weeks, five months, even 5 years ago. The data the LPR collects and disseminates can be used to get an individuals daily routine down pat. Just review the Star Tribune articles about former Mayor R.T. Rybak and reporter Eric Roper.

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Renters' Credit should be part of tax plan

When the Legislature comes back into session next week after the Easter/Passover break, we encourage policymakers to focus their final tax bill negotiations on tax policies that create a fairer tax system.

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Shortsighted cuts could hurt community health advancements

The Community Transformation Grant (CTG) program was initiated in 2011 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in an attempt to address health disparities, help control health care spending, and create a healthier future. To this end, federal funds from the Affordable Care Act were allocated to select communities across the U.S. to help support community-level efforts to reduce chronic diseases by expanding efforts in “tobacco-free living, active living and healthy eating, and quality clinical and other preventative services.” Minnesota fared well in the selection process: the state was awarded $4.7 million per year (including $1.1 million for Hennepin County) for what was supposed to be a five-year program.

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Advocating for good urbanism at City Hall: 2320 Colfax

I have been spending a lot of time recently thinking about how to advocate at City Hall for good urbanism. We spend a lot of time writing good posts on Streets.MN and debating in online chatrooms, but does that really move the needle at City Hall? Meanwhile, those of a preservationist mindset are always emailing City Council members and showing up to testify at public hearings.

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Budget bills make additional investments in education

A quality educational system plays a critical role in a state’s economic success. For Minnesota to build an economy that works for everyone, all Minnesota children need access to quality education regardless of their race, income or where they live.

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