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

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Capitol Update — January 27, 2011

Thursday, January 27, 2011
The 2011 Legislative Session is well underway and much like the session before it, our economic and fiscal challenges will dominate our work at the Capitol. With 206,000 unemployed Minnesotans and a $6.2 billion budget deficit, it is imperative that we focus on solving these crucial issues with a look toward long-term solutions. Unfortunately, while DFL members of the House and Senate, along with Governor Dayton, are seeking comprehensive, long-term solutions to our budget deficit problems, reckless Republicans are rushing to pass legislation without knowing the details of their bill and without allowing public input. The GOP Phase I budget bill, HF 130, would cut Local Government Aid to cities and towns across the state, cutting essential services like police and fire, while raising your property taxes by over $300 million. Oddly, the bill was never heard in the Property and Local Tax Division. The bill freezes wages and changes government operations, but never went to the Government Operations Committee. Amendments to the bill were posted hours, and in some cases only minutes before the bill passed through committee, including one handwritten amendment. The GOP bill also cuts higher education funding by $185 million, hurting those students depending on loans to make the already skyrocketing tuition more affordable; and then leaves another $200 million in cuts left up to state agencies and Governor Dayton. The Office of Management and Budget has stated that these cuts, if implemented, would cut support for reintegrating our National Guard members, support for our veterans, even deeper cuts to student aid, among many others. This bill is simply taking an axe to our budget and state when we should be using a scalpel, and carefully making decisions that will put Minnesota in the best possible position for the long term. To that end, I stood on the House floor on Wednesday, January 26 and offered a motion to re-submit the bill to Government Operations and Elections Committee. The public deserves to see the details of the bill and offer their opinions instead of watching it being rushed through the process. In addition to serving on the Government Operations and Elections Committee, I’m also on the committee for Commerce and Regulatory Reform and Transportation Policy and Finance. This session is going to determine the direction of Minnesota for years to come, so your input is more important than ever. Please feel free to send me your suggestions, questions, comments or concerns. You can reach me by phone at (651) 296-3751, by email at rep.michael.nelson@house.mn, or by sending mail to my office. Michael Nelson State Representative District 46A