I have some education-related items to pass along as the annual Education Minnesota break takes place this week.
But, before I get into that, the Nornes family sends condolences to the Grams family after the recent passing of Rod Grams, the former congressman and senator. He and I crossed paths many times in over the years and had the common bond of backgrounds in broadcasting. Rod was a genuine man and will remain missed by many.
WALK TO SCHOOL DAY
Congratulations to those who made International Walk to School Day a success Oct. 9. Wife Joyce and I participated in the Perham event, handing out apples to students on their route. The Perham-Dent School District and PartnerSHIP4Health led the initiative and the Perham hospital provided the apples.
Walk to School Day began in 1997 as a way to build awareness for the need for walkable communities and to promote exercise. I haven’t seen statistics for this year’s walk, but around 30 Minnesota cities participated in 2012. Let’s hope this event continues to grow.
RESPONSIBLE BUDGETING PAYS DIVIDENDS
The books closed June 30 on the two-year budget Republicans set in 2011. That year, we inherited around $2 billion in delayed payments to our schools enacted by Democrat majorities in the Legislature and Gov. Tim Pawlenty. We also faced a budget shortfall of around $5 billion back then.
The budget we enacted not only produced around $3.4 billion in more-than-expected revenue, but we trimmed the balance owed to schools down to $238 million.
Gov. Dayton and fellow Democrats are now trying to take credit for having paid down money owed to our schools. The fact is, this pay-down is the result of policies we enacted in 2011 that led to an economic resurgence driven by responsible spending, business growth and people returning to work.
TAX CHANGES HIT STUDENTS, EDUCATORS
It is disappointing that students and educators in Minnesota will be hit in the pocket book because of tax decisions Gov. Mark Dayton and fellow Democrats made earlier this year. They failed to match Minnesota’s code with federal provisions and here are a examples of state tax deductions you may lose as a result: