At Issue: Projected Budget Surplus; Stadium Groundbreaking

Updated: 12/09/2013 5:52 PM By: Heidi Enninga

In this week's edition of At Issue, host Tom Hauser takes an in-depth look at the local political issues that affect you.

After a few months into the state’s new two-year budget, Minnesota is projecting a $1 billion budget surplus. By law, the first $246 million has to go to pay back borrowed dollars from K-12 education system and another $12 million has to go into the airport fund.

Some are already suggesting tax cuts and increased spending, but budget commissioner Jim Schowalter said no decisions should be made based on projections. The report comes out in February.

Lawmakers, notable figures and fans gathered Thursday to celebrate the Vikings stadium groundbreaking and the end of a decade-long debate on the project. Critics still question the proportion of the stadium’s price tag that taxpayers will cover as compared to the Wilf family, but Gov. Mark Dayton said the $10,000 jobs it will create is now his focus.

The city of Minneapolis is considering the benefit of investing in a new parking garage and park next to the new stadium. Mayor R.T. Rybak suggested the city borrow $32 million for the two-block park between Portland and Chicago Avenues and parking ramp across the street. The bonds could be paid off with revenue from the parking ramp.

A legal ruling compelled the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis to release a list of 30 priests who face credible accusations of sexual misconduct. The priests named have served in 92 parishes combined, and the list includes many priests that have already been named in civil lawsuits and charges.

Health insurance enrollments through MNsure reached nearly 25,000 in its first two months, and MNsure said it’s expanding grants to organizations that serve minority groups.

In Political Analysis, DFL strategist Darin Broton and Republican strategist Sarah Janecek joined host Tom Hauser to discuss how legislators might respond to the state’s expected budget surplus, MNsure enrollment numbers and Vikings stadium news.

In Face Off, former House minority leader Matt Entenza and former Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s deputy chief of staff, Brian McClung, joined Tom Hauser to weigh in on the state’s budget and sex offender program.