Senate Democrats choose Pogemiller
Despite his seniority and expertise, Pogemiller was not regarded as a slam-dunk choice for Majority Leader when the entire 44-member DFL Senate caucus convened on Thursday. In part this was because "Pogie" hails from the heart of urban Minneapolis, as does new House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher; he also has a reputation for arrogance among both opponents and some allies within the Capitol. Nevertheless, by choosing Pogemiller, Senators are signalling a welcome willingness to take on Governor Pawlenty over tax policy and other budgetary issues, at a time when nonpartisan reports from Pawlenty's own Department of Revenue show the tax burden becoming more regressive. Specifically reports show a declining overall tax burden on the state's wealthiest income earners between now and 2011, providing them with a much lower percentage than middle-class taxpayers over the same period.