Emptying my notebook from last Thursday's breakfast at the Marriott:
PolyMet: I'm still struck by how 1) the event was co-sponsored by PolyMet, the company that wants to open a copper-nickel mine in northern Minnesota, and 2) the only time the topic came up was when GOP Rep. Mike Benson quickly offered an endorsement of the project during his first time at bat. There were no leaflets or other PR materials at the meeting. The only reference to PolyMet was Benson saying, "We need to get the permitting done (and get it) across the goal line."
On the surplus: DFL State Sen. Rod Skoe said the state's projected $800 million surplus is "relatively modest" and he suggested the best thing would be to just leave it in the bank.
Minimum wage: Skoe says there'll be a "pretty serious discussion about the minimum wage. It's not just a number," it has a big impact on working people, he said.
Bonding for Mayo Civic Center: Benson said he has "not been an advocate of civic center funding because of all the state issues...my real concern is, we have monumental transportation issues -- we need to do somethingabout those."
About bonding votes: "I think it's incredibly irrespoinsible when legislators don't vote for bonding," said DFL Rep. Ann Lencziewski. "These are the fiscally responsible things you do ... it's part of maturing as a legislator to understand what debt it ... Minnesota has one of the lowest debt ratios (in the nation). We missed out on the lowest interest rates in a hundred years."
More to come...