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Walz willing to work with budget recommendations

While 1st District Rep. Tim Walz readily admits the recent recommendations made by the chairs of a bipartisan debt reduction committee are controversial and painful, he said he is not going to join in the critical attacks.

"You hear people saying 'no' already. That's the wrong approach," Walz said.

The plan includes a mix of deep cuts and tax increases in an effort to erase $4 trillion from the projected deficit through 2020. Proposals include a gradual 15 cents-a-gallon increase in the federal gasoline tax, raising the retirement age for Social Security and getting rid of some popular tax breaks, including a deduction for interest paid on home mortgages. It also include a three-year pay freeze for federal employees and a 10 percent cut in the federal work force.

Walz said he is certainly leery of some of the recommendations but said given the size of the nation's deficit, all these ideas need to be considered. He said he will push for a floor vote on the debt commission's recommendations.

"I applaud (the recommendations). It's the right way to go," he said.


Poll methodology

Minnesota Public Radio and the University of Minnesota's Humphrey Institute announced last week they plan to review their polling methodology used throughout the 2010 election.

The announcement came in the wake of a gubernatorial poll before the election that gave DFLer Mark Dayton a 12-point lead over Republican Tom Emmer. The election turned out to be much closer, with Dayton leading Emmer by less than half of a percentage point, with recount likely.

Republicans blasted the poll when it came out, saying it was way off base.

The review will include an independent audit of the polling methodology by Frank Newport , editor and chief of Gallup .

Budget crisis

The Citizens League , TakeAction Minnesota and the Bush Foundation will sponsor a workshop in Rochester where people can let lawmakers know how they think the state's projected budget deficit should be solved.

The event is part of a series of community workshops statewide where information will be provided about the state's projected $6 billion budget deficit, and then residents will weigh in. Called the " Common Cents initiative " the idea is to help public officials make tough budget decisions by making sure they know what priorities and values Minnesotans believe are important.


The workshop runs from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Heintz Center on the Rochester Community and Technical College Campus at 1926 College View Road S.E.

Participants will get the latest data about trends in the community and will talk to others about how they are being affected by these changes, discuss priorities and brainstorm solutions. The findings will be presented to the new governor and Legislature in 2011.

Meet your government representatives

Looking for a chance to talk with some of Rochester's newly elected leaders?

The Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting a reception for new and returning public officials. The free reception will be from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at the chamber office, 220 S. Broadway, suite 100.

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