For more information contact: House GOP Communications 651-296-5522
This week was very encouraging with the announcement of an additional projected budget surplus and some great momentum for a few of my bills. Use the following link to view a video where I discuss the February forecast: http://youtu.be/LdHiTOUBuk8
February Budget Forecast
The Minnesota Management and Budget’s February forecast, which was released this week, showed an increased budget surplus of $323 million. This, in addition to the $876 million surplus from November’s forecast, adds up to a $1.2 million projected increase for the current biennium.
Our great legislative initiatives from last session and better-than-expected economic growth have helped to turn a $5.1 billion deficit to a $1.2 billion surplus in one year's time. This is a remarkable turnaround! Had we followed the governor’s advice and raised taxes by billions of dollars, this positive economic news would have been severely jeopardized.
You can find a statement on the surplus by Rep. Kurt Zellers, the Speaker of the House, here: http://youtu.be/BiXX8S8Seqw
While most of this surplus will be used to replenish state reserves, $318 million will go to repaying school aid shifts. There is still work to be done to finish repaying the shift and get our budget back to balanced, but these forecasts clearly show that we are headed in the right direction.
In addition to the budget surplus, Minnesota's 5.6-percent unemployment rate is well below the 8.5-percent national average. This difference is greater than normal, signaling that our state's economy is in better shape than most. Minnesota's unemployment rate is also falling faster than the national average.
Now that we’ve seen the substantial benefits of last year’s efforts, it is clear that responsible government reformation is the common sense solution for Minnesota’s economic woes. This year we have already begun to build on last year’s successes by introducing legislation that will improve the way Minnesota government programs are run. To learn more about these reforms or to track specific bills visit: http://www.minnesotahousegop.com/reform2/
On Wednesday, the House voted to concur with the Senate on “the Castle Doctrine” Bill (HF1467) which would clarifying when and under what circumstances an individual may use deadly force to protect themselves, their families and their homes and vehicles. This bill creates a presumption that, when faced with an apparent home invasion or kidnapping attempt, a person may use deadly force in self defense.
This bill does NOT, however, give the resident free-reign to attack anyone who is in their home. The homeowner must still be in imminent danger to use deadly force. The difference in this bill is that the burden of proof would be shifted away from the homeowner in the event of such an unfortunate circumstance.
Sheriff Vehicle Bill
My bill to allow sheriff’s departments to use black or gold for their vehicle colors passed through the House on Wednesday. Currently, the vehicles are restricted to be predominantly brown or white. This bill creates cost savings for taxpayers rather than imposing costs because of a state mandate.
As always, please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or want to share your thoughts on the legislative session.
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