100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Next week the legislature will be on its Easter Break, meaning a full week for legislators to spend time back in their communities as we get ready for the final six week stretch when we return on April 6.
Here are some updates from Saint Paul:
Budget Targets Released
This week, House Republicans released our budget targets for the 2016-2017 budget. This sets the proposed spending levels, and is the first step in what will be a long budget negotiation process. Now that each finance committee has their budget targets, committee chairs and legislators will begin working to put together each of the respective budget bills. Once all of the budget bills are passed by the House and the Senate, negotiations will begin to find a compromise that will be able to pass the DFL Senate, the GOP House, and be signed into law by the Governor.
Our budget proposal would set spending at about $39.9 billion, significantly less than the $43 billion budget proposed by Governor Dayton. Our budget makes key investments in nursing homes and transportation, and makes sure that government spending is not growing faster than family budgets. Continuing to grow government at a rate proposed by the Governor will eventually result in large budget deficits if our economy worsens.
Republicans also released our long-term transportation plan this week, a $7 billion plan that will help repair or replace more than 15,500 lane miles and 330 bridges over the next ten years without a gas tax increase. Many of you indicated in my legislative survey that you want our state to invest in roads and bridges using existing money, rather than a gas tax increase. Rather than increasing the gas tax, our plan relies on using existing money from the sales tax on rental cars, vehicle leases, and auto parts, as well as bonding and a small portion of the state's budget surplus.
The feedback we've received so far on our approach has been overwhelmingly positive. I look forward to continuing the discussion once we return from Easter break on how best to move forward addressing our transportation needs.
As you may remember, funding for Phase II of the Dakota County Technical College Transportation Technologies project was initially included in the bonding bill back in 2014, but was removed at the last moment. In order to reaffirm the importance of this project, Sen. Greg Clausen and I have authored bills in the House and Senate to include that funding in a future bonding bill.
You can read more about the proposal and our legislation in the Rosemount Town Pages by clicking here
College Savings Bill
On Tuesday, March 24th my bill to bring back tax incentives for families who are saving money for college through 529 plans was heard in the Higher Education Committee. This tax incentive was eliminated several years ago during tougher budget times.
The more people save for college, the less debt they will carry upon graduation. It's my hope this bill can play a small part in helping families and students save for their education.
Rosemount State of the City Address
It was great to attend the Rosemount State of the City address delivered by Mayor Bill Droste at an event sponsored by the Dakota County Regional Chamber. For the full text of Mayor Droste's speech, and more information about the speech, you can read the article that appeared in the Rosemount Town Pages by clicking here
Upcoming opportunities to give the gift of life by donating blood:
-11:00AM-4:00PM at the Apple Valley Medical Center-14655 Galaxie Avenue in Apple Valley
-12PM-6PM at the Mt. Olivet Assembly of God Church-14201 Cedar Ave, in Apple Valley
If you or someone you know is looking for a job, there are two job fairs coming up on tomorrow, March 28. The River South Job Fair will take place from 10AM-3PM at Canterbury Park Expo Center (1100 Canterbury Road, Shakopee, MN). Canterbury, Mystic Lake, the Reinaissance Fair, and Valley Fair will be participating and have part-time, full-time, and seasonal positions available. For more information, please click here
As always, you can reach me any time by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
, or calling my office at 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 and a blessed Easter and Passover holiday!