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State Representative Paul Thissen

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Posted: May 16 2014 12:00AM
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Minnesota House Adjourns 2014 Session, Completes Productive 2013-2014 Biennium Focused on Growing Middle-Class


St. Paul, Minnesota — Tonight the Minnesota House of Representatives adjourned the 2014 Legislative Session, bringing an end to the incredibly productive 2013-2014 legislative biennium. The DFL-led Legislature worked along with Governor Dayton to put middle-class Minnesotans, our seniors and especially our kids ahead of the wealthy special interests.

“This legislature did what we said we were going to do,” said House Speaker Paul Thissen. “We balanced the budget responsibly in order to focus on priorities important to most Minnesotans: investing in education from kindergarten to college, investing in proven job creation initiatives, and reducing property taxes for homeowners, renters and farmers. We focused on growing our economy from the middle-out by investing in these basic bread-and-butter priorities that will provide greater economic security for the middle class. Minnesota is on the right track and together we’re building a brighter future.”

When this legislative majority took over in 2013 the state faced a $600 million deficit and owed our schools over $800 million. The 2013 legislature passed a balanced budget that made historic investments in education, jobs and property tax relief. Since then, Minnesota’s economy has grown, the unemployment rate dropped, and the deficit turned into a $1.2 billion surplus.

In 2014, the legislature continued building on that momentum. The legislature voted for a minimum wage increase that will boost wages for over 300,000 Minnesotans and strengthen local economies, cut taxes for more than 2 million Minnesotans, passed a strategic statewide bonding bill that invests in critical infrastructure and creates jobs, and made further investments in bread-and-butter priorities like education, statewide broadband infrastructure, and support for nursing homes and caregivers.

House Majority Leader Erin Murphy said that Minnesota has made great progress, but pointed out that the work to keep our state moving forward is not yet finished.

“The best way to build on our progress is to continue growing our economy from the middle-out,” said House Majority Leader Erin Murphy. “That means fighting for working families and our local communities instead of engaging in partisan gridlock that only benefits the wealthy special interests. Minnesota has strong momentum, but there’s more work to be done in the future – and we look forward to continuing that work for our state.”

2013-2014 Legislature: Progress for Minnesota

E-12 Education

  • Invested $525 million in Minnesota’s E-12 education system, providing needed funding for schools to reduce class sizes and boost student achievement.
  • Fully funded all-day, every day kindergarten for every Minnesota child for the first time in state history.
  • Invested in early learning scholarships aimed at closing the achievement gap.
  • Paid back the IOU owed to our schools in full.

Higher Education

  • Froze college tuition for students at U of M and MnSCU after a decade of historic tuition increases and debt and provided significant new resources to the state grant program.

Middle-Class Tax Cuts

  • The legislature put middle-class Minnesotans first with the $1.2 billion surplus, providing $550 million in tax cuts to more than 2 million Minnesotans.
  • Thanks to $178 million in direct property tax relief, property taxes are going down statewide for the first time in a decade — homeowners in particular are seeing more than a $161 million decrease in property taxes (after direct relief).

Balanced Budget That Puts Middle-Class First

  • Reversed ten years of “all-cuts and gimmicks” budgeting with a responsible plan that asks wealthiest Minnesotans and corporations to pay their fair share to make investments in priorities Minnesotans broadly share — education, job creation, and property tax relief.
  • Due to the growing economy and honest budget, this legislature turned a budget deficit into a $1.2 billion surplus.
  • The legislature added $150 million to our budget reserve and has a $600 million expected surplus into the future. This is the first structurally balanced budget in more than a decade.

A Stronger Economy

  • Raised Minnesota’s minimum wage in stages to $9.50 for large business and $7.75 for small businesses by August 2016. More than 350,000 Minnesotans will get a raise. No one who works hard and puts in 40 hours a week should have to live in poverty.
  • Enacted the Women’s Economic Security Act, which aims to close the gender pay gap, strengthen workplace protections and flexibility for pregnant mothers, and expand employment opportunities for women in high-wage, high-demand professions. When women have equal opportunities to succeed, it means stronger families, stronger communities, and a brighter economic future for our state.
  • Focused on makes critical investments to grow our economy in Greater Minnesota, such as broadband infrastructure, economic development resources, and farm-to-food shelf legislation.
  • Invested in proven strategies to support job creation: the Minnesota Investment Fund to encourage small businesses expansion, the Minnesota Trade Office to help Minnesota small businesses compete globally, and key workforce development investments to help address our state’s “job skills” gap.
  • Cut $346 million in taxes for small businesses – one of the largest tax cuts for small businesses in state history – by reducing the rate employers pay to fund the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund.

Health and Human Services

  • Prioritized nursing homes and long-term care provider by providing them with a much-needed funding increase.
  • Funded cost-preventive mental health initiatives for adults and children, such as expanding school-based mental health services and mental health crisis response services.
  • More than 200,000 Minnesotans have obtained high-quality, affordable health insurance through MNsure, many of them for the first time in their lives — and at the lowest rates in the nation. We’re not going back to the days of denials for pre-existing conditions or having your coverage dropped when you get sick.

Marriage Equality

  • Made Minnesota the 12th state to give everyone the freedom to marry the person they love.

 

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