For more information contact: Mike Molzahn 651-296-1774
The legislative session started this week. We recently learned that Minnesota’s budget surplus dropped from $1.2 billion to $900 million. Our economic outlook remains positive and stable, but larger economic forces have slowed growth expectations. On a more personal level, there’s uncertainty for many Minnesotans who are feeling squeezed by an economy that’s leaving too many behind. Our relentless focus this session should be in providing opportunity for Minnesotans so that our economy is working for all of us.
Last year, we saw few results on key priorities that matter for ordinary Minnesotans. We need to listen to Minnesotans and rebalance our economy so that it’s working better for everyone. Here are some of the policies my colleagues and I think will help the people of our district get ahead:
Solving our statewide transportation problem: Minnesotans are frustrated by the gridlock on their highways and the gridlock at the State Capitol. This is the year we must solve our statewide transportation problem. It means providing for dependable revenue required to actually address the problem, and doing so without raiding the general fund at the expense of our schools.
Get Dark Money out of Politics: Corporate special interests are spending millions of dollars trying to influence voters, yet we don’t know where much of that money comes from. This needs to change, but corporate special interests have been successful in fighting to keep their donations shielded from the public. Voters deserve to know who is spending money trying to influence their vote and trying to influence our politicians. I hope we can pass the DISCLOSE Act so that voters can decide this issue for themselves via a constitutional amendment.
Paid family leave and earned sick and safe time for every Minnesotan: Our families have the same responsibilities to each other they've always had, but workplace policies haven't kept up with our changing way of life. We should ensure that all Minnesota workers have the ability to stay home and care for a sick child or family member without fear of losing a paycheck they need to provide for their family.
Tackle our student debt crisis: Minnesota currently ranks 5th in the nation in student debt. The average student graduates in Minnesota with $30,894 in debt. We have an opportunity to make college affordability a priority this session by freezing tuition and making it easier for graduates to refinance their loan at a lower rate.
If we listen to Minnesotans, and respond to the challenges they face on a daily basis, we can make this a productive session. More importantly, we can create more opportunities and an economy that works better for all Minnesotans – not just the wealthy few. That should be our goal and we are ready to get to work.
Please feel free to contact me with your thoughts on what we should concentrate on this session.
Peter M. Fischer