The second week of the legislative session included the release of the February Budget Forecast, which measures incoming state revenue and expenditures, and is used to guide our decision making on fiscal bills at the Capitol.
February Budget Forecast
Last Wednesday, MMB released the February Economic Forecast, showing a surplus of $329 million. While Minnesota’s budget remains relatively stable, significant federal uncertainty impacting our state economic outlook and Minnesota families remains. It’s important to exercise caution, and to invest responsibly in things that will increase opportunity for all Minnesotans.
This is a significant achievement for our state, and a departure from the first decade of this century when our state budget was continually stuck in a cycle of deficits and cuts to programs that are important to Minnesota families, like public education and healthcare. Governor Dayton has made a stable, responsible budget part of his legacy. The fact that nine out of the last ten budget forecasts during his administration have shown a surplus is a prime example of that dedication to responsible fiscal management of our state resources.
Capital Investment Hearings Begin
We also use the February Budget Forecast to know what our state capacity is to use bonds to pay for state investments in repairing and maintaining critical public infrastructure. As a member of the House Capital Investment Committee, I have been working with legislators of both parties during the interim to visit locations around the state that are seeking bonding appropriations to improve and maintain infrastructure of regional or state wide importance. We are in what is traditionally known as the “bonding” year at the Legislature. Infrastructure investments are generally made with the passage of a bonding bill the second year of the state’s two year budget cycle.
Bonding bills support essential infrastructure across Minnesota. A robust bonding bill creates thousands of jobs and repairs infrastructure for cities, colleges, parks, and other assets in every region of the state. I have been grateful to work with members of our community to make the case for strong investments in our state and regional economy. We began regular committee meetings last week to discuss and review the requests from the University of Minnesota campuses and the Minnesota State system (formerly MnSCU).
Date Change for Town Hall Meeting – March 27th
Due to a change in the legislative schedule, a town hall meeting I am hosting with State Rep. Mike Freiberg (DFL - Golden Valley) and Sen. Ann H. Rest (DFL – New Hope) that had originally been scheduled for April 7th, has been moved to Tuesday, March 27th, 7:00-8:30 p.m., at the Crystal Community Center (4800 Douglas Drive N, Crystal, MN 55429).
District 45 includes the cities of Crystal, New Hope, Robbinsdale and parts of Golden Valley and Plymouth. Town meetings are open to the public, and area residents are encouraged to attend with their questions and concerns about the 2018 legislative session. All are welcome.
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