For more information contact: DJ Danielson 651-296-8879
I hope this email finds you well and that you and your family are enjoying the Holiday Season. This time of year gives us a great opportunity for quality time with family, friends, and those important to us. With the New Year just around the corner, it also gives us an opportunity to both reflect on the year gone by, as well as to look ahead. I hope this season brings you and your loved ones great joy. Here is an update from the State Capitol.
Pre-Session Town Hall
While the 2018 legislative session is still a couple of months away, convening on February 20, it’s not too early to start talking about the important issues to be considered in St. Paul. On Wednesday, January 31, Rep. Youakim and Sen. Latz will join me for a Town Hall Meeting to preview the session. We can be most effective at the Capitol when we hear maximum input from the community, so I hope you will make plans to attend, share your ideas, and ask any questions you may have. Everyone is welcome; we hope to see you there.
WHAT: Senate District 46 Pre-Session Town Hall Meeting.
WHO: Representative Peggy Flanagan, and Representative Cheryl Youakim, Senator Ron Latz
WHERE: St. Louis Park City Hall, Council Chambers (5005 Minnetonka Blvd, St Louis Park)
WHEN: Wednesday, January 31st, 2018 6:00 p.m – 8:00 p.m
Officials from Minnesota Management and Budget recently released a preliminary budget outlook for the coming session, and unfortunately, a $188 million deficit is currently projected ($302 million when all funding is accounted for). Worse, the deficit is set to grow over the next few years to $586 million.
Budgets are about choices, and this past session, the Republican majority made the choice to enact massive, unsustainable tax breaks for corporations – like big tobacco – and the wealthiest among us. The uncertain situation at the federal level with tax and health care legislation doesn’t help matters, either. Unconscionably, the U.S. Congress has yet to reauthorize funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), potentially putting the state on the hook for health care costs for 125,000 kids from low-income families.
To grow opportunities for Minnesotans, we need to invest in the things that we all value, like early childhood education, affordable health care, and access to higher education and job training. We can’t make this critical progress if we return to perpetual budget deficits, like the state experienced during the Pawlenty years, so I hope we can rethink these misguided tax cuts next session.
Minnesota is the Best Run State in U.S.A.
In Minnesota, we have a great deal to be proud of. Last week, we received some good news as USA Today named us the Best-Run State in the Nation. The study highlights “Minnesota’s strong fiscal management, low unemployment and poverty rates, above-average median household income, and strong credit rating.”
Since ranking 10th in 2012, Minnesota has consistently climbed in the same study under Governor Dayton’s leadership. In general, Minnesota provides quality government services with a very lean labor force. In another recent survey, a majority of Minnesotans said they were satisfied with the value they receive from state government.
Knowing that Minnesota was given such an honor makes it all the more important that we do what we can to protect this ranking, and makes the recent budget news more concerning. I’m committed to ensuring continued economic stability while enhancing the things that make Minnesota a great state in the first place.
Health Care Open Enrollment
If you’ve yet to do so, you can still enroll in health insurance coverage for 2018 at MNsure, Minnesota’s state health insurance exchange. Whether you qualify for a public plan or buy insurance on the commercial market, MNsure serves as a one-stop shop to compare plans and apply for coverage. Applying through MNsure is also the only way to take advantage of valuable tax credits which may be available toward premiums.
If you need assistance, trained navigators are available. My office is also able to help, so don’t hesitate to reach out. The deadline to apply for coverage for 2018 is January 14. To ensure you have coverage effective January 1, the deadline is tomorrow, Wednesday, December 20.
Text to 9-1-1
Minnesotans are now able to text message 9-1-1 for help in an emergency situation. Law enforcement still encourages people to call 9-1-1 when possible, but this is an incredible breakthrough for people with hearing and speech disabilities, as well as in situations where it may be unsafe to make a telephone call, such as in cases of domestic violence or sex trafficking. The Pioneer Press put together a helpful “how-to” for texting to 9-1-1.
I always enjoy hearing from you, so please share your thoughts on these and any other issues important to you. It’s an honor to represent you at the Capitol.
Happy Holidays to you and your family.
No image galleries found