Chairman Paul Torkelson of Hanska runs a Minnesota House meeting Wednesday, May 18, 2016, looking into what public works projects to finance. (Forum News Service photo by Don Davis)

House Bonding Bill Faces Tough Fight

Paul Torkelson needs to come up with quite a sales pitch. As chairman of the Minnesota House committee that recommends funding for public works projects, he needs to both attract reluctant fellow Republicans, some of whom never have voted for such a bill, and Democrats who say they were left out of the legislation drafting…
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Bonding Bill ‘dessert’ A Minnesota Legislative Debate

Dessert is pretty important to Paul Torkelson. As strange as it sounds, that is one of the major holdups in getting legislative work done this year. Torkelson, a Republican state representative from Hanska, famously calls a public works spending bill, to be financed by the state selling bonds, the “dessert” of the legislative session. That…
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GOP Pushes ‘smarter Government’ Spending Plan

Republicans want to finish a southwest Minnesota water project, kill the state film board, fund a tractor safety program, get rid of two business economic development programs and help Mille Lacs Lake-area businesses suffering from walleye fishing restrictions. All of that is part of what the GOP says would come without raising overall state spending.…
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GOP Seeks Hold-the-line Spending

Minnesota House Republicans want to keep the state’s $42 billion, two-year budget — passed last year — pretty much as is, with any new spending coming out of existing programs. Unlike Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton‚Äôs proposal, the GOP plan released Thursday offers no new money for education. The proposal calls for $35 million to help…
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Legislative Roundup: Wine Tax Break Sought

Owners of wineries on Minnesota farms are asking lawmakers give them a tax break like other alcohol makers receive. Legislation by Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, would provide excise tax credits for wine and cider makers that produce up to 75,000 gallons a year. No farm winery reaches that level. Wine makers told a Senate committee…
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