The Runbeck family wishes you and yours a happy, safe Thanksgiving.
The 2015 session is barely six weeks away and we are busy putting a new structure in place with House Republicans set to take office as the majority in January. We look forward to doing good work this biennium and I recently submitted a column to the Quad Community Press with more about what is in store, especially regarding opportunities for bipartisan success. You can click here to read more if you missed it in the paper.
I urge local citizens to provide me with their thoughts on the issues as we prepare for the 2015 session. I plan to make a legislative survey online after the New Year but, for now, here are just a few headline items you could weigh in on ahead of that:
The top priority of the 2015 session will be to set a new biennial budget. For some background, Minnesota’s state General Fund budget has more than doubled from $14.5 billion in 1992-93 to the current $39.6 billion for 2014-15. Note: Our total state spending actually more than $71 billion this biennium when you factor in federal funding. This type of increase is incongruent with family budgets, which have endured a decade of stagnation. What are your general thoughts on this? Do you recommend we lower the trajectory of state spending, or should we continue at the current pace of increases?
Transportation funding is certain to be one of the most intensely discussed portions of the state budget as we assemble a new two-year spending plan. Some people contend we need to spend more money on transportation. Others say we are spending enough, but need to prioritize work on roads and bridges instead of putting billions toward rail projects. What do you think?
Improvements are needed for Minnesota’s version of Obamacare, which has been fraught with problems since its inception a year ago. We recently learned new enrollment rates are going up by as much as an average of nearly 12 percent, despite advocates claims of “just” a 4.5-percent increase. Click here for more on that. Furthermore, state officials recently found that the Department of Human Services did not adequately verify that people who enrolled in public health care programs through MNsure were eligible for those programs. Approximately 1 in 5 people sampled were ineligible. What improvements do you recommend for greater efficiency, accountability and transparency in MNsure?
We can address these and other issues sure to emerge in greater detail as plans emerge for the upcoming session. Meantime, I welcome your emails on these and other topics.
Have a great Thanksgiving and I’ll be back in touch soon.