This week, Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB) released the 2019 November Budget and Economic Forecast with a predicted positive fund balance for the current biennium. This is especially important for our legislative work as we prepare ourselves for the approaching 2020 Legislative Session.
This budget forecast showcases some successes as well as challenges. For one, Minnesota should be commended on reaching our goal of a sound budget reserve. This is a moving target, but it puts Minnesota in line with a secure future. Other elements of the forecast emphasize the need for cautious, responsible investments. When combined with projected inflation, uncertain federal trade policies, and a shortage of workers, Minnesota will see a deficit in future fiscal years. This session, making prudent, one-time investments in the priorities of Minnesotans, such as education, health care, infrastructure, and workforce development, will ultimately result in a stronger Minnesota for all.
The budget forecast also helps guide our work on the Bonding Bill we'll be crafting this session, which will include multiple infrastructure and community projects throughout the state. In our community, I visited with our House Capital Investment Committee as they toured the Crystal Police Department and the Plymouth Creek Center. These and other infrastructure projects, like the future of light rail, are all worthy candidates where I'll be advocating for state investment.
The budget balance from MMB is also just a current snapshot of what we can expect as we prepare to return to the Legislature in February, when there will also be another economic forecast released. You can brush up on the specifics of the budget forecast at MMB’s website, or read MPR’s coverage of the forecast here.
“No Child Left Inside” Grant Application
The new “No Child Left Inside” initiative is a grant program that gets more children outdoors. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources received an overwhelming response for Phase I with more than 400 applications, and a new wave of grants are now available. Preference is given to projects that propose new and innovative ways to serve youth who have limited outdoor opportunities. The grants are open to public entities and nonprofit organizations serving youth. Applications are due by 2pm, Thursday, Jan. 9. You can find more information and apply here.
Governor Walz establishes Climate Change Initiative
This week, Governor Walz announced new executive action on climate change, including the establishment of the Climate Change Subcabinet and the Governor’s Advisory Council on Climate Change. Building on existing inter-agency collaboration and climate-related initiatives, the Subcabinet and the Advisory Council will guide the Walz-Flanagan Administration in creating bold and collaborative action to combat climate change.
I applaud Gov. Walz for taking bold action to address the climate crisis, just like we’re doing in the Minnesota House. Our brand new Climate Action Caucus has met three times this fall to discuss the intersection of climate and housing, transportation, and public health policy. You can learn more about our work at www.house.mn/ClimateActionCaucus.
Minnesotans, especially our young students, are leading on this issue -- because our livelihoods and future generations’ livelihoods are in grave danger. I am thankful for everything young Minnesotans are doing to promote awareness and pressure elected officials at all levels of government to act.
Stay in Touch
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. During the interim I’ll be back home working with neighbors to find solutions to the issues facing our community and state, and I would appreciate your input! As always, you can reach me at (651) 296-4255 or firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you!