For more information contact: Mike Molzahn 651-296-1774
The legislative session is now a month old. Governor Mark Dayton and both of the legislative bodies have released major initiatives, including transportation and budget plans.
Governor Dayton’s transportation plan closely mirrors the initiative put forward by Move MN, a broad coalition of businesses, local governments, and various associations. If funding remains the same, Minnesota faces a $6 billion hole in transportation maintenance and improvements over the next ten years. The proposal put forward by the Governor addresses this reality and patches that hole by increasing the wholesale sales tax on fuel, adding about 16 cents to the price of a gallon of gas, a 0.25% increase in license tab fees phased in over three years, and increases the Metro sales tax by half a cent for transit in the Metro. It also mandates that MnDot make better use of the funds it currently gets. It’s clear that we need a long term plan to meet out transportation and transit obligations. We’re at a point where we can’t delay those investments any longer. The Governor has put forward a thoughtful proposal. I look forward to weighing in on it, and the proposals from the House and Senate, as the legislative process moves along.
Based on the work we’ve done the last two years, we have a strong fiscal foundation in Minnesota. We balanced the budget without shifts or gimmicks, and now we have a surplus and our economic outlook is bright. In addition to the transportation plan put forward by the Governor, he released his two year budget. The biggest proposals are to continue the progress we’ve made by investing in early childhood education, making college more affordable, increasing job training, transportation and broadband infrastructure, tax breaks for hard working, middle class families, and an initiative to keep seniors from being foreclosed on due to property taxes. Other notable initiatives include closing the funding gap in our State Parks and trails, where visitors find 28 park stations unstaffed and making investing in mental health care. Unfortunately the Governor didn’t include funding to increase mental health professionals in childcare and other facilities.
I’m encouraged by many of the good things proposed so far. While there are differences in many areas, and the process has just begun, I’m confident we’ll do good things this legislative session. I look forward to keeping you updated as we move forward at the Capitol.
As always, please contact me with the issues you want me to focus on at the Capitol. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-5363 or by email at email@example.com.