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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Leon Lillie (DFL)

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School Shift Fully Repaid Thanks to Improved Economic Outlook

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Minnesota recently received some exciting news about our schools and our economy.

According to a new economic forecast, our state is facing a projected budget surplus of nearly $1.1 billion. This means that we can completely repay the money state lawmakers previously borrowed from our schools, an unpopular gimmick used to balance the state budget that is widely known as the “school shift.”

Repaying the school shift in full was one of the DFL-led legislature’s top priorities this year. It’s all possible because we created an accelerated repayment plan in the new state budget, marking an end to the gimmicks and borrowing that left Minnesota with perpetual budget deficits over the past decade. And it gives our schools greater financial stability and security into the future.

With Minnesota on sound fiscal footing for the first time in years, we have reason to be optimistic about our future. The projected budget surplus is just the latest sign that our economy is headed in the right direction.

For example, the most recent jobs report revealed that Minnesota’s unemployment rate fell to 4.8 percent in October, the lowest it’s been since December 2007 and well below the national rate of 7 percent. Minnesota employers have added nearly 50,000 jobs over the past year, a growth rate of 1.8 percent compared to the national rate of 1.7 percent. Plus, claims for unemployment insurance benefits are down to their lowest level in nearly ten years. 

While we can all cheer Minnesota’s improving economic outlook, we need to look out for our neighbors who are still struggling to support themselves and their families.

One way you can make a difference this holiday season is by donating non-perishable food items to the North St. Paul Area food shelf (serving residents of both North St. Paul and Oakdale), located at 2538 East Seppala Boulevard. Donations can be dropped off between 10:00am and 1:00pm from Monday through Friday.

You can also donate to the Salvation Army’s Food Shelf in Maplewood, located at 2080 Woodlynn Avenue and open from 8:30am to 4:30pm, Monday through Friday.

If you’re able, please consider sharing your blessings with those who are less fortunate. It will make a big difference and make our community stronger.

Thanks in advance for your generosity. I hope you and your loved ones have a wonderful holiday!