I hope you're enjoying our beautiful summer!
State government began a new fiscal year, fiscal year 2018, on July 1st. As you may know, the Minnesota House and Senate passed a completed state budget that was signed by Governor Dayton, meaning the state government is funded for the next 2 years, the 2018-19 biennium. We also passed numerous substantive policy reforms that went into effect on July 1, as most budget provisions go into effect on that date.
As chair of the Transportation and Regional Governance Policy Committee, I am especially pleased that a comprehensive transportation funding bill was passed and signed by the Governor. For the coming biennium it will mean $1.42 billion in new dollars for roads and bridges, with a total of $4.99 billion in new funding over the next 10 years. Disappointing to me is that we were not able to intervene and stop Ramsey and Hennepin counties from adding an additional 1/4 cent sales tax for the purpose of building new light rail lines, BUT the good news is that Anoka County residents no longer have to put our 1/4 cent sales tax collection toward building new light rail transit lines in Hennepin and Ramsey counties.
By way of a brief update regarding the legislature’s ongoing lawsuit with Governor Dayton, oral arguments have been heard in Ramsey County District Court. You can watch the hearing at this link: https://youtu.be/kV5aSFTw9aQ
The legislature was also notified that the Court is accepting the stipulation agreement House and Senate leadership signed with the Governor to fully fund the Legislature at 2017 levels through October 1st.
This is good news, and allows members and staff to continue working on behalf of our constituents while the Court considers the case. I will continue to keep you informed regarding this situation as we move forward.