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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Michael Howard (DFL)

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Legislative Update - December 6, 2019

Friday, December 6, 2019

Rep. Howard

Dear Neighbors,

As we prepare ourselves for the 2020 Legislative Session, this week, Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB) released their latest budget and economic forecast, which we’ll use as a guide for our work next session.

Our state budget forecast projected a $1.3 billion surplus. Our state’s fiscal stability is good news, but there is reason for caution and no reason for complacency. The projected surplus is not the same as “money in the bank.” It doesn’t account for inflation and could change. And the reality is far too many Minnesotans are struggling to get by. Health care, housing, and child care costs continue to place a heavy burden on Minnesota and our state’s racial disparities are unacceptable. Our focus must remain on the kinds of investments that will create economic security for all.

Republicans are already trying to use today’s surplus to push their agenda for giveaways to the corporations and ultra-wealthy. Of course, if the state faced a deficit they would be pushing this same, tired, trickle-down agenda that has never yielded positive results – at least not for the vast majority of Minnesotans. We must reject it and move forward with a bold agenda to solve our housing crisis, address the high cost of health care and prescription drugs, and eliminate racial disparities. 

The budget balance from MMB is just a current snapshot of what we can expect as we prepare to return to the Legislature in February, when another economic forecast will be released. You can read MPR’s coverage of the forecast here.


Homes for All

Too many of Minnesota’s families are experiencing the crisis of homelessness, and as vice chair of the House’s Housing Finance and Policy Division, I’ve seen that bold action is needed to take on this issue. In Minnesota alone, more than a quarter of Minnesotans pay more than they can afford on their housing. In addition, Wilder Research released a study earlier this year showing a 10% increase in those experiencing homelessness over the last three years, many of them children. We need an all hands on deck approach to our housing crisis, with strong action at all levels of government. That’s why I am proud to support Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, who last month introduced the Homes for All Act.

The Homes for All Act would establish a permanent federal funding stream for making homes more affordable, while also lifting the federal prohibition on funding new public housing projects. Over the next decade, Congresswoman Omar’s plan would invest $1 trillion in affordable housing projects, including the creation of 12 million new housing units.

Every Minnesotan should have access to housing stability. This aspirational goal is within reach, but only if we apply bold legislation like this to all levels of government. I look forward to moving a bold agenda on the state level as well when the session convenes. Stay tuned!  


Stay In Touch

These are just a few of the subject areas on my mind as we look toward our fast-approaching 2020 Legislative Session. If you have any questions or comments on these or other issues, please feel free to contact me. You can reach me at, or at (651) 296-7158. I look forward to hearing from you.



Michael Howard