Think about this for a moment: If an unexpected expense arose -- your car breaks down, your homes central air system needs repair, or you need a medical procedure -- and it totaled $1,000, would you be able to cover it? If you said no, youre far from the minority.

A majority of Americans cant cover a $1,000 emergency expense

According to a study released last week by the Associated Press and NORC at the University of Chicago, a surprisingly large number of households, even higher-income households, would struggle to pay a $1,000 bill if an emergency arose. AP-NORCs poll showed that 75% of households making less than $50,000 couldnt pay a $1,000 emergency expense. Whats more, the number of households unable to cover a $1,000 bill shrinks minimally to 67% for those with annual incomes of between $50,000 and $100,000. Even in households bringing in more than $100,000 annually, 3 in 8 suggested theyd struggle to scrape together $1,000.

Additionally, AP-NORC probed respondents to figure out how they would pay for an emergency. While a majority of respondents planned to use cash, a third said theyd have to borrow money from a friend or family member, or put the expense on a credit card. Another 13% suggested they would skip paying other bills in order to cover the emergency expenses. Finally, 11% simply said theyd skip paying the emergency bill.

On Friday afternoon, Republicans and Democrats in the Minnesota Legislature sat down in front of cameras and did something unusual for the year-long debate about transportation funding: they offered concessions.

But is there enough time left to bridge the still-huge gaps?

With just two weeks remaining before lawmakers go home for 2016, lawmakers have to find deals on big questions of taxes, spending and mass transit in a hurry if they want to solve the issue both parties identified as a top priority this year.

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They’re facing pressure from the outside, too, as local governments and chambers of commerce push lawmakers to overcome their differences and improve new funding to maintain and build Minnesota’s transportation infrastructure.

Some observers said Friday’s concessions were a hopeful sign but still only a small step.

It’s great that they are talking and making changes to their initial positions, but it didn’t seem like anything dramatic, said Margaret Donahoe, executive director of the Minnesota Transportation Alliance, which is pushing for more transportation spending.

Lawmakers in both parties were more optimistic.

Today we saw an initial offer. No one in this room thought that we would sit here and accept the offer, said Rep. Tim Kelly, R-Red Wing and the chair of the House’s transportation committee.

State Sen. Scott Dibble, the Minneapolis DFLer who is Kelly’s Senate counterpart, also focused on the positive.

This is offered in an authentic spirit of genuine compromise, he said.

Here is what happened Friday and what it means for the prospects of a transportation deal:


The Democratic transportation plans have from the beginning been based around an excise tax on gasoline that would bring in a minimum of 16 cents per gallon, and rise with the price of gas. On Friday, the Senate DFL backed off that -- somewhat.

They instead proposed increasing the normal per-gallon gas tax by 12 cents, phased in over three years.

The DFL offer also would let metro-area counties redirect some tax money currently going to transit to roads and bridges, among other tweaks.


Republicans officially offered to consider a sales tax increase to pay for metro-area mass transit -- though they want some concessions in return.

In particular, they want to change the Metropolitan Council, which would spend that tax increase on mass transit, to require all its members be composed of local elected officials.

We’re talking about increasing the sales tax, Kelly said. If we were going to look at that, we would want to be comfortable that the money that was put into that is represented in a way that we would like.


House Republicans immediately rejected the Senate’s scaled-down gas tax increase, saying any gas tax hike is off the table. Kelly also criticized the DFL’s proposed increase in the license tab fees, but said they could negotiate over that idea.

If a gas tax is off the table, then lawmakers need to find other sources to pay for the roughly $600 million per year in ongoing funding they want to provide for roads. That could come from a combination of general fund money and fee increases, but each proposal has critics.

Dibble, who chairs the Senate’s transportation committee, seemed open to Met Council reform but had issues with some of the specifics in the GOP proposal.

The Met Council has also been opposed to such reform efforts in the past, though Friday a spokeswoman said the Met Council is pleased to hear the House is talking about transit and looks forward to continued discussion.

Aside from the big picture questions of funding source and mass transit, there are also many smaller issues that have yet to be negotiated.


The conference committee negotiating a transportation deal is expected to meet early next week.

Kelly said the House could come back with a new offer at that meeting, but didn’t make any promises.

Lawmakers could also take testimony on the subject of Met Council reform, which didn’t happen Friday.

They’re running out of time to get a deal done. Lawmakers have to finish their business by May 22, just over two weeks away.

Lack of a transportation deal is also holding up progress on a bill to borrow money for infrastructure projects. House leaders say that should wait until a transportation bill, as well as a tax cut bill, are finished.

There’s definitely enough time to strike a deal, said Donahoe. For all of us, we’re hoping to have enough time to digest all of this and it’s not some last-minute thing that it’s unclear what it means.

Dibble and Kelly both said Minnesotans should be optimistic about a bill, and answered in unison when asked about the remaining differences: There’s always room to negotiate.

Ragbag right-wing revolutionaries Gustav and Mattias. Photograph: Production Company/Global Series/PR Handout

In that sense, Blue Eyes is a mechanism as programmed as the bomb that Gustav and his associate showed Simon how to make. It has a slightly paint-by-numbers feel. If interest is flagging, add another character. Who is this little kid Nils who has suddenly turned up at Veritas HQ? Another kidnap victim? The lack of information is a conscious tactic by the writer: we are left feeling anxious and self-doubting all the time.

I was never too worried that Simon was going to die, despite Mattias holding a gun to his head (again!) and whispering that his days were numbered. Somehow I think he will pull through. Gustav seems to have taken a shine to him for a start, though you can't help wondering why. I was concerned about Olle, though, the Security party's increasingly beleaguered justice spokesman, who turns up at Veritas HQ looking for Sofia and is greeted by Gustav with a gun tucked behind his back. Olle survives too, and I'm still hoping for a redemptive moment when he saves the day.

Incidentally, the fact it took Olle about five minutes to discover where Sofia and her new friends in the terror cell were holed up suggests that the Swedish police, who have had five days to find them since the murder of the care home owner, are not the sharpest force on the block. Simon had left the address of Veritas HQ with his aunt in Stockholm, which also begs questions about Gustav's strategic planning. He seems to let more or less anyone join the gang.

Elin is having difficulties with her drunken father and his even more drunken girlfriend. They borrow money from her supposedly to go to the girlfriend's daughter's wedding, but spend it on the Swedish equivalent of Tennent's Extra and are soon falling off the sofa. With Elin trying to unravel - rather cackhandedly it has to be said - a complex conspiracy at the heart of the Swedish government, she could do without these domestic diversions.

"When businesses borrow money through Funding Circle they actually borrow from hundreds of individual lenders like you and me.

"People who want to make their savings work better for them lend any amount of money to the business - it can be as little as £20 - and the return they get from their investment can be more than seven per cent a year."

Funding Circle was founded in 2010 and has so far loaned out more than £1.2bn to small and medium-sized companies, making it the UK's third-largest net lender to small businesses after RBS and Lloyds Banking Group.

Around 15,000 businesses have accessed finance provided by almost 49,000 individual investors - one of those the Government-owned British Business Bank, which has put in more than £40m.