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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Lyndon Carlson, Sr. (DFL)

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The Minnesota House Adjourns, Bringing an End to a Productive 2013-2014 Legislative Session

Monday, June 02, 2014
Dear neighbors,
 
The Minnesota House of Representatives adjourned the 2014 Legislative Session on May 16, bringing an end to a productive 2013-2014 legislative session. 
 
When the legislature convened in 2013, the state faced a $600 million deficit, we owed our schools $800 million, and property taxes were on the rise. The 2013 legislature passed a balanced budget that made historic investments in education, jobs and property tax relief. 
 
In 2014, the legislature continued to build on Minnesota’s momentum by passing a minimum wage increase, cutting taxes for more than two million Minnesotans, passing a strategic statewide bonding bill, and making further investments in bread-and-butter priorities like education, broadband infrastructure, and caregivers. 
 
2013-2014 Legislature: Progress for Minnesota
 
E-12 Education
  • Invested $525 million in Minnesota’s E-12 education system, providing needed funding for schools to reduce class sizes and boost student achievement.
  • Fully funded all-day, every-day kindergarten for every Minnesota child for the first time in state history.
  • Invested in early learning scholarships aimed at closing the achievement gap.
  • Paid back the money owed to our schools in full.
 
Higher Education
  • Froze college tuition for students at public colleges and universities after a decade of historic tuition increases and debt and provided significant new resources to the state financial aid program.
 
Balanced Budget and Middle-Class Tax Cuts
  • The legislature put middle-class Minnesotans first with the $1.2 billion surplus, providing $550 million in tax cuts to more than two million Minnesotans.
  • Thanks to $178 million in direct property tax relief, property taxes are going down statewide for the first time in a decade — homeowners in particular are seeing more than a $161 million decrease in property taxes (after direct relief).
  • Due to the growing economy and honest budget, this legislature turned a budget deficit into a $1.2 billion surplus.
  • The legislature added $150 million to our budget reserve and a $600 million expected surplus into the future. This is the first structurally balanced budget in more than a decade.
 
A Stronger Economy
  • Raised Minnesota’s minimum wage in stages to $9.50 for large business and $7.75 for small businesses by August 2016. More than 350,000 Minnesotans will get a raise. No one who works hard and puts in 40 hours a week should have to live in poverty.
  • Enacted the Women’s Economic Security Act, which aims to close the gender pay gap, strengthen workplace protections and flexibility for pregnant mothers, and expand employment opportunities for women in high-wage, high-demand professions. When women have equal opportunities to succeed, it means stronger families, stronger communities, and a brighter economic future for our state.
  • Focused on making critical investments to grow our economy, such as broadband infrastructure, economic development resources, and farm-to-food shelf legislation.
  • Invested in proven strategies to support job creation: the Minnesota Investment Fund to encourage small businesses expansion, the Minnesota Trade Office to help Minnesota small businesses compete globally, and key workforce development investments to help address our state’s “job skills” gap.
  • Cut $346 million in taxes for small businesses – one of the largest tax cuts for small businesses in state history – by reducing the rate employers pay to fund the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund.
 
Health and Human Services
  • Provided a much-needed funding increase for nursing homes and long-term care providers.
  • Funded cost-preventive mental health initiatives for adults and children, such as expanding school-based mental health services and mental health crisis response services.
  • More than 200,000 Minnesotans have obtained high-quality, affordable health insurance through MNsure, many of them for the first time in their lives — and at the lowest rates in the nation. We’re not going back to the days of denials for pre-existing conditions or having your coverage dropped when you get sick.
 
I look forward to talking with you about the progress we’ve made for Minnesota. Please contact me with any questions, comments or other feedback you may have. You can reach me by phone at (651) 296-4255 or by email at rep.lyndon.carlson@house.mn.
 
Sincerely,
 
Representative Lyndon Carlson
 
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