Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Quick Hits: Volume XXXIII

-With the Minnesota Legislature beginning its special session on Tuesday, one question still remains for me. What exactly are we going to do with the funds in the proposed $700 million bonding bill?

Gov. Mark Dayton was hellbent on raising an extra $1.4 billion in revenue, despite the GOP-controlled legislature proposing a budget spending the entire $34 billion in revenue which has been projected over the next two years. The funny thing is, we never received definitive answer as to how that extra $1.4B would be appropriated. Of course, that pesky little detail was irrelevant. The bottom line, per the Governor, was to levy higher taxes on "the rich", thus giving Minnesota the second highest state income tax rate behind only Hawaii.

But since Gov. Dayton has abandoned his obsession bid to raise taxes, why do we still need the extra $1.4B? Better question is why does there seem to be so little curiosity over this?

-Speaking of leaders not being up front with their specific fiscal policies, President Barack Obama continues to hammer the budget/debt ceiling proposals put forth by House Republicans, yet never comes clean on any plan of his own. I guess it's possible that he could still be smarting from the last time he submitted a budget, having it unanimously rejected.

The biggest squabble between the President and Congressional Republicans is debate over raising the maximum amount of money the U.S. can legally borrow (a/k/a the "debt ceiling"). Many fiscal conservatives strenuously object to such a move, especially without substantive spending cuts. With a $14 trillion debt already levied upon us, cutting spending doesn't seem like a radical request.

With a proposal called "Cut, Cap & Balance", House Republicans essentially acquiesced to the President's obsession desire to raise the debt ceiling by $2.4 trillion but also proposed a $6 trillion cut in Federal spending. On Tuesday evening, the House did indeed vote on the measure, passing it by a 234-190 margin. This move now puts the pressure squarely on the Democrat-controlled Senate (which hasn't passed a budget in 812 days) and the President himself who, in the words of Press Secretary Jay Carney, "will not get into specifics."

It's on now!

-ESPN and the Make-A-Wish Foundation recently teamed up to make high school graduate's dream come true. Texas resident (and cancer survivor) Michael Acosta, who is the nephew of a high school classmate of mine, recently had a wish fulfilled by "managing" his favorite baseball team, the Minnesota Twins, for a game.

Check out this heart-warming story:


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