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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Michael Nelson (DFL)

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Transportation, Jobs, Infrastructure

Friday, April 10, 2015


Last night, Governor Dayton gave his fifth State of the State Address to a joint session of the Minnesota House and Senate.  The Governor made his case for building on two years of economic growth, increasing graduation rates, and creating more opportunity for middle-class Minnesotans. 

A Real Transportation Plan

The Governor certainly reaffirmed for me that we have a choice facing our state.  We can choose to have a comprehensive, long term solution for Minnesota’s impending transportation crisis – or we can choose a plan that relies on debt, made up money, and crossed fingers. 

The Governor’s plan doesn’t rely on gimmicks or debt and is paid for by the people who use the roads.  It makes sense and it’s what we’ve always done when it comes to our roads.  It’s not the time to start pitting roads against schools, or roads against health care, or Minnesotan against Minnesotan.

Good time for a Jobs Bill

Governor Dayton also urged passage of a jobs oriented bonding bill.  He’s right to take advantage of rock bottom interest rates and fix up some of our state colleges, our facilities and put people to work who are still recovering from the Great Recession.  The total package is $842 million and would create thousands of jobs for Minnesotans all over the state.  It funds long-needed repairs on our college campuses, upgrades wastewater infrastructure and repairs our historic state Capitol.  It also includes flood mitigation, dam improvements, and needed rail safety measures.

House Republicans cutting jobs programs

It’s unfortunate that Republicans are proposing to cut Greater Minnesota economic development. They are cutting the Job Creation Fund and the Minnesota Investment Fund. Even worse, they are zeroing-out funding for broadband infrastructure. The previous legislature made a $20 million investment in broadband infrastructure, but the need is far greater. If Republicans cut the cord on broadband infrastructure it would be disservice to the more than 300,000 Minnesotans that still lack access to high-speed internet.

The Republican-led legislature made promises they would support Greater Minnesota, but cuts to broadband and successful economic development initiatives show they are doing the opposite.

Instead of investing in Greater Minnesota economic development, Republicans are spending the majority of the surplus on tax giveaways that are likely to benefit big corporations and special interests. With a $2 billion surplus, we should be doing far better for Greater Minnesota.

What do you think we should use the surplus for?  Contact me by phone at 651-296-3751 or by email at


Thanks for the honor of representing our community,