For more information contact: Jason Wenisch 651-296-2317
St. Paul, Minn. – The I-90 Group, a bipartisan, bicameral coalition of legislators from across southern Minnesota, has released its legislative priorities for the 2007 session.
State Representative Bob Gunther (R-Fairmont) is one of the coalition’s leaders.
“Our goal is to put the interests of southern Minnesota first,” Gunther said. “We’ve been working very hard on this agenda and have targeted several areas where we feel we can make a difference at the State Capitol.”
Gunther outlined several priorities:
1. Continued support for bioscience initiatives in Southern Minnesota.
2. Support for equitable treatment of agricultural lands on the tax base for school bonded debt levies through the enhanced use of debt service equalization revenue.
3. Support for equitable reimbursement rates for rural and low-payment rate long-term care facilities throughout the state.
4. Support for enhanced transportation funding in rural Minnesota through:
• The sale of state transportation bonds for local bridge replacement and rehabilitation; improvement of local roads with statewide and regional significance; and grants to counties to assist improvement projects on county state-aid highways.
• Ensuring that by July 1, 2011, 5 percent of the revenues from the motor vehicle sales tax be deposited into the Greater Minnesota Transit Fund.
• Direct MnDOT to conduct a study of the needs and status of market roads being used to transport agricultural products to and from biofuels facilities and other significant production facilities in greater Minnesota
5. Support enhanced funding for the Center for Rural Policy and Development to ensure its long-term stability as a resource for rural policy research, data and information.
“Priorities like expanding the biosciences will allow us to create more good paying jobs in southern Minnesota,” Gunther said. “Now that our group is unified, we will now work on convincing the rest of the legislature to enact these policies that benefit the good people in our region.”
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