Now that the February Budget Forecast and the first and second committee deadlines have passed at the legislature, budget proposals are starting to come together. Here are a few updates from the legislature on the budget process, an opportunity to take my legislative survey, and upcoming town hall information.
Supplemental Budget and Targets
As I shared in a release on February 28, the budget forecast was released showing a projected $1.65 billion surplus. Governor Dayton released his supplemental budget with updates based on this surplus last Friday, emphasizing education and staying the course to maintain strong budget stability.
In February I shared that this positive budget forecast confirms that our economy is stable and strong, but we must still be cautious about future risks and continue our balanced approach. Minnesotans need us to come together to make this surplus work for them. Continuing a balanced approach and strong support for things like education that have made us great, are a good approach during this uncertain time.
Budget targets by the House majority were released Monday morning. These targets are the final piece of information committee chairs need to continue assembling the spending priorities for their area of the budget before we approach the third committee deadline on March 31st. I was disappointed to see the target numbers released by Republicans Monday showing education funding that won’t match the Governor’s commitment to a 2% increase each year of the budget.
As many reports have cautioned, and Republican leaders noted Monday, there is an unusual amount of uncertainty regarding how federal actions will impact our state budget in the future. The uncertainty is especially pronounced in the area of healthcare spending.
Capitol Essay Contest
Lt. Governor Tina Smith and the State Capitol Grand Opening Planning Committee have announced a statewide essay contest celebrating the historic Minnesota State Capitol. Essay contest winners will be invited to share their essays as part of the State Capitol Grand Opening festivities in August. Minnesota students in grades K-12 are encouraged to submit essays explaining how the State Capitol has shaped our collective past and will impact future generations. If you would like more information for students to enter an essay in the contest, you can follow the link here for contest info.
2017 Legislative Survey
I encourage residents of our district to take a few minutes to share their thoughts by taking my legislative survey. You can find the survey online here. I appreciate hearing directly from you and reading your thoughts on issues at the legislature. Thank you for your participation!
More Town Hall Opportunities
There is an additional opportunity for you to discuss legislative priorities with our legislative team at upcoming town halls.
What: Town Hall with Rep. Lyndon Carlson, Rep. Mike Freiberg, Sen. Ann Rest
When: 9:30-11:00am, Saturday, April 1st
Where: Crystal Community Center, 4800 Douglas Dr N, Minneapolis, MN 55429
I will be co-sponsoring these meetings with State Representative Mike Freiberg and State Senator Ann Rest. Members of the public are welcome to attend with questions. These meetings are free and open to the public. Individuals may come and go as they please. I hope you can join us!