The first month of session has officially come to a close. While only a few bills have been voted on and passed by the House, the first month has still been jam-packed with interesting proposals (as of today well over 400 bills have been introduced).
This past week the legislature passed a disaster relief aid bill and the Governor released his budget proposal for the coming biennium.
Governor Unveils Budget Proposal
On Tuesday, the Governor revealed his budget proposal for the coming biennium. In total, the Governor’s budget includes a $6.839 billion increase in all-funds spending over the current biennium and more than $903 million increase in all taxes.
As a part of his budget recommendations, the Governor also unveiled his transportation plan which is based off nearly $9 billion dollars in new taxes, tax increases and fee increases. At the heart of the Governor’s transportation plan is a 6.5% increase in the state’s gas tax, certainly not a good time to increase our state’s gas tax as families are finally starting to see some relief in gas prices at the pump.
While there are areas of the governor’s budget on which I think we can find common ground, such as reading programs for young students, it ultimately is another example of Governor Dayton’s desire to grow the size and scope of government.
At the end of the day, Minnesotans still face uncertainty in many areas of their lives, but instead of easing those worries, the budget recommendations released by the Governor increases overall state spending by $1,244 for every man, woman, and child in Minnesota. That kind of spending trajectory that the Governor’s budget puts us on is an unsustainable path.
My colleagues and I in the House are looking forward to assembling a responsible budget that will benefit the entire state and focus on the priorities that Minnesotans care most about.
National School Choice Week
This week marks National School Choice Week across the nation. School choice is an important tool that parents and students have in ensuring that Minnesota’s children are receiving the best education possible.
I was fortunate to speak at a School Choice Week event this past Wednesday. During my speech, I honored our state’s outstanding teachers and the great work they do in preparing our students for successful careers and enriched lives. I also talked about new options and innovations that we can explore to ensure that Minnesota’s children have choices when it comes to their education.
While there are great pubic options for our students already in place such as Advanced Placement (AP) courses, Post-Secondary Enrollment Options, college in the schools and open enrollment, we can do more to ensure that our students and their parents have educational options available to them to fit their needs.
As chair of the Education Innovation Policy committee, I am looking forward to continuing our work to find innovative and new ideas to ensure that every child in Minnesota has the opportunity to receive a world-class education.
Disaster Relief Signed Into Law
On Monday, the House passed Senate File 1 which provides $17 million in state funding to match over $50 million in federal funding for recovery efforts in response to last summer’s flooding. In total, 47 counties and 3 tribal governments will receive aid from this package. The Governor signed the bill into law on Tuesday.
I am happy the legislature moved quickly and in a bipartisan manner to see that those counties and tribal governments in need of aid received the needed funds to finish the cleanup effort.
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As always, please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or comments about issues that are important to you. My door is always open. If you would like to schedule a time to meet, please contact my office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-296-6746.
I hope you have a wonderful weekend,