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State Representative Abigail Whelan

439 State Office BuildingState Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
651-296-1729

For more information contact: Chelsea Thompson 651-296-5491

Posted: 2017-12-07
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Legislative Update

Legislative Update from Rep. Abigail Whelan (12.07.17)


Dear Neighbor,
 
Here is an update with the latest news from the Capitol and around our community. 
 
Budget Forecast
On Tuesday, Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB) released the November forecast, showing a projected $188 million deficit due to lower-than-expected projected revenues based on assumptions about federal legislation and U.S. GDP and wage growth. The forecast also reflected $178 million in state spending on the federal Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), nearly all of which would be backfilled if CHIP is renewed at the federal level.
 
Assumptions about federal legislation and U.S. GDP and wage growth also contributed to lower-than-expected revenue assumptions. The forecast also assumes that no tax bill will be passed at the federal level despite passage in both the House and Senate last week.
 
Despite the uncertain forecast, Governor Dayton, Speaker Daudt and Senate Majority Leader Gazelka are taking an optimistic approach to the 2018 session. Due to the many unknowns, such as what will happen at the federal level, it seems likely that things will look different when the forecast is updated in February.
 
Notably much is uncertain at the federal level, and while I am hopeful for reform, I think it is always was to hope for the best and plan for the worst - as my mom used to say. Therefore I think we need to start planning how we as a state will respond to changes in tax reform at the federal level. I am in conversations with colleagues with this and hope we will see real reform at a federal and then at a state level.
 
The full budget forecast report from MMB can be found by clicking here.
 
Homeless Veterans Housing in Anoka

House Image

Pictured from left to right: Rep. Bob Loonan, Rep. Peggy Scott, Sen. Jim Abeler, Rep. Randy Jessup.
 
Last week, I had the honor of volunteering to help renovate the abandoned cottages at the old Anoka State Hospital to give a warm, safe homes to our homeless veterans. And last Friday, thanks to over 300 other volunteers, Cottage 2 became home for several vets in need of housing and support, just in time for winter weather. There will be over 30 vets living there soon thanks to our caring community.

While it was wonderful to get to be a small part of the effort, I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge and extend a huge thank you to Sen. Jim Abeler for his tirelessness on this issue. He is truly the driving force behind it. If you see him this season, please take a moment to thank him!
 
I would like to extend a special thanks to Rep. Scott and Rep. Mahoney for taking charge and inviting folks to the bi-partisan volunteer day I participated in, as well as a big thank you to Connexus Energy and others who have donated their finances and time to this effort.
 
Finally and most importantly, to our veterans who have given us so much, thank you. While this housing project is seeking to acknowledge that we need to give back to you, we ultimately cannot give back what you gave. Thank you for your service and your sacrifice.
 
Two Great Causes
The Christmas season is upon us, and life tends to get hectic this time of year with events, shopping, and more. Yet in the midst of the hustle and bustle when I open my eyes, this season becomes less hectic and more a beautiful time of giving back. I so am blessed by the myriad of charities and causes in our community that give back year-round and so I wanted to take a moment to share a couple of easy, fun ways to give back this season:
 
1. Saturday, Dec. 9, Participate in the "Not in Our City 5K": Walk or Run to Shine a Light on the Reality of Human Trafficking in Minnesota
While participating in a 5K may not seem like volunteering, participating in an event like this to bring awareness to this cause is volunteering your time. The cost to register is $40, and 100% of the proceeds go directly back into the community to support local organizations working tirelessly in the fight to end human trafficking and support its victims. This is a unique opportunity to collaborate on an issue which affects everyone in our communities.
For more details, see: www.notinourcity5k.org/mn
Register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/not-in-our-city-5k-tickets-38546629005
Direct questions to Lindsay Krempely at notinourcity5k@gmail.com or 847-420-8585
 
2. Friday, Dec. 15, Participate in a Diaper Drive for Abba Pregnancy Resource Center & Anoka Community Mission
Help families in need by donating diapers to the Abba Pregnancy Resource Center & Anoka Community Mission. The Drive is hosted by Dee Dee & Kaia Larson, and diapers can be dropped off anytime between now and Friday, Dec. 15, at their home (see attached flier for details; if they are not home, please leave on porch) or between 8AM and 5PM Monday-Wednesday next week at my office in St. Paul:
Office 439, State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Blvd
St.Paul, MN 55155
 
For more on Abba, see: abbaprc.org
For more on Anoka Community Mission, see: anokacommunitymission.org
For more information on each, please see attached fliers. Please feel free to contact me with any questions as well.
 
Around the Community
 
Toys for Joy
Anoka City Hall and the Ramsey Municipal Center are drop-off locations for Toys for Joy. They are collecting new and unwrapped toys and gifts for children in Anoka County throughout the holiday season.
 
Ramsey Community Events
From art in the park to yoga classes, the community of Ramsey Parks and Recreation Department puts on a number of fun and interesting events for citizens of all ages. See the full calendar of upcoming events through the rest of the year here.
 
2017 Ramsey Photo Contest
Love living in Ramsey? Highlight why in the 2017 Ramsey Photo Contest! Your submission highlighting nature, parks and trails, industry and commerce, or everyday life in Ramsey is due by Tuesday, January 2. The grand prize winner will receive $100! Learn more about the contest rules and how to submit your winning photo here.
 
Over the River and Through the Shops
Anoka is putting on a number of holiday events over the next several weeks. Highlights include Small Business Saturday, story time with Santa, the hometown holiday celebration, and much more. See the full schedule here.
 
***
 
Please know my office is available should you need assistance on a matter of state government. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-1729 or via email at rep.abigail.whelan@house.mn. I also welcome your input and ideas on legislation and matters moving through the Minnesota House. I am here to serve you and it is a joy! Thank you for the honor and privilege of being your state representative.
 
Have a wonderful weekend,
 
Abigail

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