For more information contact: House GOP Communications 651-296-5522
Week two of the 2018 Session was a busy one: full of meetings with constituents, bills being heard in committee, and great economic news from the February Forecast.
State Budget Surplus
The February forecast was released on Wednesday, February 28th, and showed a projected $329 million forecast. In 2017, the Minnesota legislature passed the first meaningful tax reform in two decades while also making investments in our schools and responsibly budgeting the other core functions of government. This budget surplus shows Minnesota's economy is strong and the state's budget will continue to remain healthy into the future. The $329 million surplus is over a half-billion dollar improvement from the November forecast that predicted a $188 million deficit.
It was another tumultuous week for MNLARS. Governor Dayton submitted an emergency request for the first $10 million immediately, threatening layoff notice for employees if the legislature does not fund his request. This proposal was brought up for debate in the House Chamber on Thursday afternoon. But it was after the Senate had adjourned until Monday, so there was nothing we could do until Monday anyway since both bodies would have needed to act favorably on the bill for it to proceed to the Governor.
Chair of the House Transportation Finance Committee, Paul Torkelson, has introduced HF 3147 which provides the $10 million from the same DVS account but would require the Governor to back-fill $10 million from within his executive agency budgets by June 30, 2019. Governor Dayton has said he accepts responsibility for the MNLARS mess, and this approach will give him the opportunity to back up those words with actions.
The bottom line is Minnesota taxpayers have paid nearly $100 million for a system that is only half built. Before we dedicate one more penny, we need to see real documentation that this funding is needed and that those responsible for this mess are held accountable. It simply would not be wise to allocate $10 million without comprehensive documentation and a plan on how MN.IT plans to spend this funding and provide a product that works. Minnesotans deserve a DMV system that works, but we will not give a blank check to the Governor.
Constituents Visit the Capitol
On Monday, Rep. Wills met with constituents Girl Scout Sally and her mom, Lee,
along with Girl Scouts Director Tessa, to talk about the ConnectZ program.
On Tuesday, Rep. Wills met with Scott and Cody who were advocating for legislative issues important to the blind community; and also met with Dana, Kendra, and Joan who were advocating for legislative proposals addressing fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.
On Wednesday, Rep. Wills met with constituents Megan, Kelsey, Taylor, Aaron, Jessica, and Sonya who
were at the Capitol to discuss physical therapy legislative priorities.
Also on Wednesday, Rep. Wills met with constituent Mark who was at the Capitol to discuss the Minnesota State Grant program; and also met with constituent Ellen and her colleague Kristen who were sharing their concerns with student testing, special ed mandates/costs, and ESL funding.
On Thursday, Rep. Wills met with several constituents: Sean who stopped by to discuss gun rights issues;
Abby who came to discuss her concerns and priorities regarding pro-choice issues; and Kymn who came
to discuss her concerns with insufficient special education services and funding.
Also on Thursday, Apple Valley firefighters Colleen, Brian, and Fire Chief Nealon came
to discuss fire service legislative priorities with Rep. Wills.
Rosemount Home and Business Expo
Tomorrow, Saturday, March 3rd, Rosemount is holding its first Home and Business Expo at the Community Center. Admission is free and the event is from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. About 50 booths will feature local businesses and organizations with new products and services. There will be activities for the kids and food trucks will be right outside the Community Center. For more details, visit their website.
Keep in Touch
As always, please don't hesitate to contact me with your comments, questions, and concerns. Email me anytime at email@example.com or call 651-296-4306. Stay up to date with what I am up to at the legislature and around our community by following my updates on Facebook at www.facebook.com/repannawills.
Have a great weekend!
State Representative, District 57B
No image galleries found