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For more information contact: Andrew Wagner 651-296-2809
Posted: May 22 2015 12:27PM
News from Representative Wills 05-22-2015
Later today I will have the opportunity to visit Westview Elementary School in Apple Valley with Governor Mark Dayton, Representative Tara Mack, and other local elected officials. This is the first event the Governor held after formally vetoing the bipartisan education bill yesterday. I am extremely disappointed that the Governor has opted to send us into an expensive special session by vetoing a bill that was the result of good bipartisan compromise, simply because the bill did not include Universal Pre-K.
The bill the Governor vetoed contained significant new funding for our schools, as well as historic investments in Pre-K school readiness programs, Reading Corps, and Pre-K scholarships for the students who need the most help. These programs are proven investments that would help close the achievement gap.
Not every school is as fortunate as District 196 to have the physical space and ability to hire quality teachers for Pre-K programs. We hear from many school districts, especially in Greater Minnesota, that Pre-K would put a strain on their budgets and require additional bonding levies to build new facilities just to fit the new students. We also have a teacher shortage in Minnesota that would be made worse by the Governor's Pre-K proposal.
More Budget News
Here are some additional news items regarding the budget, and where things stand as of today:
The Legacy bill, which includes full funding for the Minnesota Zoo, passed the House with overwhelming bipartisan support in the final hours of session, but was unfortunately not passed by the Senate. I expect that the Legacy bill will be quickly passed during the special session. A bonding bill also passed the Senate but did not pass the House, and could be taken up during the special session.
Transportation and Tax Relief
Two of the biggest issues that I hope the legislature will address next session are transportation and tax relief. Republicans put forward a long-term plan that put $7 billion into roads and bridges over 10 years. Unfortunately, Senate Democrats insisted on a gas tax and also refused to pass a tax bill unless the House passed a transportation plan that included the gas tax. We were able to pass a scaled-down version on our transportation bill to continue current operations without a gas tax increase, but there is more work to be done.
Minnesotans overwhelmingly support a plan that invests money in our roads without a harmful gas tax increase. Republicans will continue pushing for a sensible long-term transportation plan, as well as middle-class tax relief, over the next several months.
On Thursday I attended the groundbreaking ceremony for Uponor, a plumbing, heating and cooling manufacturer which is building an 88,000 square foot expansion in Apple Valley. It's great to see continued expansion, especially in manufacturing that will result in about 100 new well-paying jobs that will support families here in our community.
Memorial Day events
Please take time this weekend to pause and remember our fallen heroes and their families this Memorial Day weekend. We owe them more than we could ever repay for the freedoms we enjoy living in America.
The City of Rosemount will host a Memorial Day service arranged by the American Legion in Central Park (2893 145th Street West, Rosemount, MN) starting at 9:00AM on May 25. You can find full details here.
Apple Valley will host a Memorial Day ceremony at 11AM in Veteran's Park (14521 Granada Drive, Apple Valley, MN). You can find full details here.
As always, please contact me with any questions you have about the budget, special session, or any of the other issues here at the Capitol. Email me any time at email@example.com or call 651-296-4306. You can also follow my updates on Facebook at www.facebook.com/repannawills or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/annacwills.
Have a great weekend,
State Representative, District 57B
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