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Minnesota faces “the mother of all deficits”


Fri, Dec 6th, 2002
Posted in Features

The latest revenue forecast from the State of Minnesota projects a $4.6 billion deficit. Journal Editor John Torgrimson spoke with State Representative Greg Davids about his reaction to that news and how he sees the state legislature working to solve the state’s financial problems. In 1991, Davids was in the legislature when the state faced a $1.8 billion deficit out of a budget base of $14 billion. Governor-elect Tim Pawlenty faces a $4.6 billion deficit out of a budget base of $28 billion. And with his pledge of no new taxes, the Pawlenty Administration will have to come up with creative ways to balance the budget. A summary of Torgrimson’s interview with Representative Davids follows:

Journal: With the latest revenue forecast, it looks like the state of Minnesota has a $4.6 billion deficit. What’s your initial reaction to this?Davids: I was very surprised that it was that high. I had anticipated about a $3 billion deficit; $4.6 billion is a staggering amount. What has happened here, and there are several drivers, the stock market went from 11,000 to about 8,000. What that means is that as we go toward the end of the year where we should be getting money in on capital gains for sales of assets, sales of stocks and businesses - their values are less now and we are collecting less. So that is one driver. Another driver that’s putting us down is health care costs. We have fixed health care costs; we are going to take care of people that can’t pay that are in nursing homes and hospitals and that’s over $500 million more than we had budgeted for.So the two big drivers are the stock market going down, and health care costs are simply out of control.To look at the bright side, if there is a bright side; what this is going to allow the legislature and the governor’s office to do is to be able to analyze what we are spending our money on and finding out if we are getting good value for that dollar. Journal: What do you think the governor is going to do?Davids: Governor-elect Paw-lenty has made a pledge that there be no new taxes. They have a couple months to put a budget together. I think he has surrounded himself early with the best and the brightest. I think his new Finance Director, Dan McElroy is extremely capable and they have a mission to put this deal together without raising taxes. It .....
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County dips into reserves to balance budget

Fri, Dec 6th, 2002
Posted in Features

Fillmore County’s proposed 2003 budget tipped the scales at $20,849,241. That was $275,566 over projected revenues, which forced the County Board to dip into its reserves to balance the budget..

"We’re going to have to do some ..... 
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Lanesboro Council: Water park given go ahead

Fri, Dec 6th, 2002
Posted in Features

Raindrops? In December? The Lanesboro City Council turned its attention to a different kind of raindrops at the December 2nd meeting as RainDrop Products president Ron George presented information on "spraygrounds," water play areas. According to Geo ..... 
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Preston Council looks at economic development matters

Fri, Dec 6th, 2002
Posted in Features

Joe Hoffman, Executive Director of the SE Minnesota Development Corporation (SEMDC) in Rushford, was before the Preston City Council on Monday night to discuss renewing the contract between his organization and the city of Preston for 2003.&nb ..... 
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A life in the Big Woods

Fri, Nov 29th, 2002
Posted in Features

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. Walden, Henry David Thoreau, 1854.[Read the Rest]

Sheriff’s Department reviews staffing at Commissioner's meeting

Fri, Nov 29th, 2002
Posted in Features

"How are our deputies set up?" asked Chairman Bakke as Sheriff Jim Connolly prepared to give his report to the Fillmore County Board on Tuesday. Connolly said the press has interviewed him many times over the years and has given good coverage about h ..... 
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Fillmore County Board approves courthouse addition design

Fri, Nov 29th, 2002
Posted in Features

Former Commissioner Robert Thompson addressed the County Board regarding the courthouse building project on Tuesday.   In a soft voice that commanded silence from a somewhat uncomfortable looking board, Thompson said, "It bot ..... 
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Radio Hour fantastic holiday offering

Fri, Nov 29th, 2002
Posted in Features

One of the tastiest treats available in Fillmore County this holiday season is the Commonweal's final play of the year. The 1940's Radio Hour. In a formula oddly similar to the highly successful television show, Seinfeld, the new play, which opened N ..... 
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Rushford City Council: Liquor license fees questioned

Fri, Nov 29th, 2002
Posted in Features

Liquor licensing was a hot topic in the citizens’ concerns and comments portion of the Rushford City Council meeting November 25th. Business owners Judy Christian of Stumpy’s and Jim Kitchens of Nordic Lanes and American Legion and VFW representative ..... 
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