With session now concluding its second week, I wanted to share a quick update with the latest news from the Capitol in St. Paul.
State Budget Forecast
In Wednesday’s economic forecast, Minnesota Management & Budget announced a $329 million budget surplus for the remainder of the 2018-19 biennium. This surplus is an over half-billion improvement from the $188 million budget deficit projected by the agency in November. This forecast demonstrates that Minnesota’s economy is strong, and has been bolstered by the recently enacted Republican-led tax cuts in both St. Paul and Washington. It also shows that there is no evidence of the overly negative economic conditions predicted by Democrats following the passage of our historic tax bill last session. I look forward to building on this momentum this session by advocating for more money to be returned to the taxpayers of Minnesota that created this surplus.
There were two important bills introduced by House Republicans this week regarding the broken MNLARS system that so many of you have experienced complications with firsthand. The first bill would allow Governor Dayton to find the $10 million (that his administration has requested to continue fixing MNLARS) in existing funding from state’s agencies, rather than force Minnesota’s taxpayers to foot the bill once again. The other bill would direct the Commissioner of Public Safety to examine the plausibility of using a private sector company to overhaul MNLARS, instead of again turning to the same government agency that has repeatedly failed to provide meaningful solutions.
Yesterday afternoon on the House floor, a motion was made to take a vote on a bill that would immediately allocate an additional $10 million to address this disaster. Thankfully, my House Republican colleagues and I voted to block this motion. This administration still has not provided the legislature with comprehensive documentation on how this money would be spent to fix ongoing problems. We are unwilling to force taxpayers to write another blank check without strong assurances of accountability and a detailed roadmap of solutions. Minnesotans deserve a working system, and we are working to protect our state’s taxpayers, look at all options to solve these problems, and hold this administration accountable for the failures of MNLARS.
Yesterday, the legislature hosted the Second Annual Opioid Awareness Day at the Capitol. The aim of the day’s events was to raise awareness of the further action required to fight Minnesota’s continuing opioid crisis and reduce the devastating effects caused by these drugs. More can be done in the legislature to combat this growing problem, and I look forward to working with my colleagues in the legislature to put forward meaningful solutions.
“Be Ready for B20” Workshop
On March 13th, from 11:30am to 2:00pm, there will be a meeting on Minnesota’s new biodiesel requirement at the Holiday Inn in Alexandria (5637 Hwy 29 South). I would like to encourage diesel retailers, distributors, fleets, farmers, and anyone else that is interested, to attend this meeting in order to obtain additional information on the matter. With Minnesota implementing a new 20% biodiesel requirement effective May 1st, it is important that stakeholders are able to learn as much as possible about the change so they can be ready to smoothly move forward. The goal of this workshop, which is sponsored by the Minnesota Soybean and Research Council, is to help the industry prepare for the state’s biodiesel requirement change, as well as understand the benefits and impact of the fuel. Please RSVP to 952-473-0044 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in attending.
Stay In Touch:
If you ever have any questions, comments, or concerns regarding any issue related to state government, please feel free to contact me at either 651-296-3201 or email@example.com. I would love to hear from you.
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