Our latest state budget forecast will be issued later today and, while we are praying for a pleasant surprise, we are bracing for a shortfall of around $6 billion. I will get back with you with more when we receive official word.
Until then, we House Republicans are busy preparing to assume the majority when the 2011 session begins Jan. 4. A number of leadership positions were filled yesterday through caucus votes and here's a rundown:
Majority Whip: Rod Hamilton, Mountain Lake
Assistant Majority Leaders: Joe Hoppe, Chaska; Jenifer Loon, Eden Prairie; Bob Gunther, Fairmont; Paul Torkelson, Watonwan County.
There will be one more Assistant Majority Leader named soon. This leader will be elected from our pool of 33 freshmen legislators and serve as a voice for the incoming class.
We still are working to get committee assignments ironed out in the House. I will chair the Higher Education Policy and Finance Committee, but the body of that panel has yet to be announced.