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Yesterday the Minnesota Management and Budget Office came out with the November forecast, one of two annual budget updates that gives legislators and the Governor an accurate picture of the state's financial situation. Thanks to the hard work of Minnesota taxpayers, we have a surplus of about $1.8 billion dollars for 2016-2017. About one third of the surplus immediately goes to the budget reserve and to pay down state debt leaving a total balance of $1.2 billion for next session.
My Republican colleagues and I will be advocating to use much if not all of the surplus on roads and bridges and tax relief. These are two key priorities left over from last session, and priorities that are important to Minnesotans in every corner of the state. With Governor Dayton declaring a gas tax increase "dead" at his press conference yesterday, it's our hope Democrats will work with us and support the transportation plan that passed the House with bipartisan support last session.
On tax relief, I will continue working with my colleagues on my veterans hiring tax credit, which would give businesses a tax credit for hiring out-of-work veterans. While our unemployment rate remains low, the veteran unemployment rate tends to be significantly higher than the state average. This is just one tax relief provision that can make a big difference in the lives of Minnesotans throughout the state. We'll also look at some of the provisions included in the tax bill that passed the House last session; tax relief for seniors, veterans, middle class families, families with young children, college students, and more.
Please email me your comments and ideas for how we can best use the budget surplus. We still have more than three months until session begins and I will continue gathering feedback as we look ahead to next year.
Apple Valley Chamber Coffee Connection
On Wednesday, December 2nd, I attended the Apple Valley Chamber Coffee Connection hosted by the Sun Thisweek. Always a great opportunity to chat with local business folks and hear what's happening in our business community.
Senate Bonding Committee Visits Apple Valley
The Senate Capital Investment Committee has been touring various bonding proposals to give legislators an up-close look at different projects across the state. On Wednesday, December 2nd, the Senate Capital Investment Committee was in town to see the location of the proposed pedestrian sky bridge at Cedar Ave and 147th and to visit the Minnesota Zoo. It was great to welcome Senate members to our community as they learned more about the pedestrian sky bridge that would positively affect the business community and address safety concerns, as well as the Zoo's request and its economic impact on the region and state as a whole.
Americorps Promise Fellows
As a member of the ServeMinnesota Board, which is part of AmeriCorp, I thought I would pass along information on becoming an AmeriCorps Promise Fellow. Promise Fellows work with young people, helping mentor and tutor students, helping to give young people the tools and resources they need to succeed and school and in their community. Read more about the program and find application information here.
As always, please don't hesitate to contact me with your comments, questions, and concerns. Email me any time at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 651-296-4306. You can also follow my updates on Facebook at www.facebook.com/repannawills and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/annacwills.
Have a great weekend!
State Representative, District 57B
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