Tom Steward covers government waste, spending and policy issues in his home state of Minnesota. Also a documentary filmmaker and in-depth broadcast journalist, Tom's work has appeared on NPR, Animal Planet, WCCO-TV, WGBH-TV, PBS, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, KSTP-TV, CBC, among other outlets. Highlights include the fall of the Berlin Wall, a Peabody Award, the first footage in the wild of the endangered Sumatran tiger and rhino and countless individuals who shared their stories, big and small. Steward served as a communications strategist in the U.S. Senate before returning to reporting on issues and people often overlooked by other media.

No voter support? No problem! MN school boards can raise taxes

By   /  November 19, 2014  /  Budget + Tax, Education, Legislature, Minnesota, State Budgets  /  No Comments

North Branch Schools Photo

Minnesotans faced 39 school operating levy referendums on the ballot this fall, fewer than in any election since 1996, nixing one of every four proposals at the polls.

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MN school sued for being tardy on $43 million referendum

By   /  November 14, 2014  /  Accountability, Education, Minnesota, News  /  No Comments

Submitted Photo

Usually students get in trouble for being late to school. In Sibley East Public School District, however, administrators could face consequences for allegedly being tardy in notifying taxpayers of a contentious $43-million bond referendum that could be overturned, as a result.

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MN wind and solar mandate would mean costly grid upgrade

By   /  November 12, 2014  /  Energy and Environment, Government Regulation, Minnesota, News  /  No Comments

EPA Photo

A new report released by the Minnesota Commerce Department lays the technical groundwork for ramping up one of the nation’s highest state renewable energy mandates from 30 to 40 percent by 2030.

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Bill Maher’s flip-a-district flops as MN congressman coasts to win

By   /  November 6, 2014  /  Congress, Elections, Media, Minnesota, News, U.S. House of Represenatives  /  No Comments

Photo from HBO Youtube Video.

HBO host Bill Maher wasn’t on the ballot in Minnesota’s 2nd Congressional District this week, but then neither was President Obama. Right?

The “Real Time” talking head inserted himself into the race as surely as the chief executive, targeting the suburban Twin Cities seat held by GOP Congressman John Kline for his much ballyhooed “flip-a-district” national campaign.

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Who has the right to rent their home? Minnesota high court will decide

By   /  November 5, 2014  /  Government Regulation, Local Government, Minnesota, News, Power Abuse, Regulations  /  No Comments

ForRent-ShutterStock

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota cities have circled the wagons in a controversial property rights case pitting municipal authorities against homeowners who are challenging the constitutionality of Winona’s rental ban before the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Mankato, Rochester and St. Paul joined the League of Minnesota Cities in urging the state’s top court to uphold Winona’s law allowing no more than 30 percent of homeowners per block to rent their property in the college community.

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Democratic control on the line in Minnesota on Election Day

By   /  October 31, 2014  /  Elections, Minnesota, News, Politics, State Government  /  No Comments

MN Jobs Coalition Legislative Fund Photo.

Regardless of whether Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton holds on to his job next week as polls suggest, Minnesota voters appear poised to topple one party rule in St. Paul on Tuesday.

Even as Governing magazine moved the race for control of the Minnesota House of Representatives into the toss-up column, political pundit David Schultz raised eyebrows by predicting the GOP will turn over the seven seats needed to retake power — and then some.

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