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Minnesota Legislature

Legislative News and Views - Rep. John Poston (R)

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Capitol Newsletter from Rep. John Poston

Friday, May 08, 2020

Dear Neighbors,

The North Central Minnesota (Central Lakes College) Small Business Development Center is available to assist owners in surviving the economic challenges many have been facing. As businesses begin to re-open, they plan to be available to help with rebuilding and hopefully even strengthening these small businesses. 

Business owners can contact 218-855-8140 for more information.

Budget Update

On Tuesday, the state received an updated budget forecast from Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB). The report revealed that the state’s one-time $1.5 billion budget surplus has disappeared and Minnesota is now facing a $2.4 billion budget deficit. 

The report showed that sales tax collections are down $1.3 billion, and individual income tax collections are down $1.65 billion.

It’s not surprising that the state’s budget outlook has weakened because of unprecedented shutdowns across the state, nation, and world as governments try to get a handle on the COVID-19 outbreak. Lawmakers will have difficult decisions to make in the weeks and months ahead as we balance our budget. One thing is certain, we need to look to reduce spending as we adjust to this new economic reality. As businesses and families struggle, the government too must share in the sacrifice.

Elective Surgeries to Resume

Governor Walz recently announced an end to the moratorium on many elective medical procedures and surgeries. According to the Governor’s office,

Executive Order 20-51 will allow hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, and clinics – whether veterinary, medical, or dental – to resume many currently-delayed procedures once facilities have developed criteria for determining which procedures should proceed during the COVID-19 pandemic and provide a plan to maintain a safe environment for facility staff, patients, and visitors.

This is great news for folks that have had elective procedures delayed and will help our local hospitals generate badly needed revenue while serving our community.

Working with Governor Walz

For the last month and a half, Governor Walz has been taking unilateral action without approval from the legislature. He has been able to do this due to the state’s peacetime emergency powers.

While the state’s response is ongoing, the need for swift, unilateral action has passed. It is time for the peacetime emergency executive powers to end and it is time for the legislature to have a role in the decision-making process.

For that reason, I have voted numerous times to end the peacetime emergency.

The state legislature is a co-equal branch of government and in many ways, we are the branch of government closest to the people and the people’s voice must be heard as the state responds to this crisis. For those reasons, it is critical that the legislature has a role in determining our path forward. I stand ready to work with Governor Walz on responding to the needs of the state of Minnesota during this uncertain time.

Staying in Touch

Please contact me if you have any legislative questions, concerns, or ideas. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-5356 or via email at rep.john.poston@house.mn.

Have a good weekend,

John