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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Steve Drazkowski (R)

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STATE OF STATE ADDRESS HIGHLIGHTS DIFFERENCES OF OPINION

Friday, February 17, 2012
For the most part, Governor Dayton’s State Address toned down the predictable partisan rhetoric we’ve been hearing from him over the past few weeks. Claims that we’re “unfit to lead” and “wrong-doers” aren’t exactly helpful when it comes to moving Minnesota forward, and hopefully the Governor now realizes that. There’s no doubt we’re going to disagree on certain topics, but we can do so respectfully and without name calling. Like the Legislature, the Governor is focusing on jobs this session. Not surprisingly, we differ on how they should be created. Governor Dayton highlighted a $775 million borrowing and spending bill, and a Vikings stadium as specifics to bring jobs back to the state. Two problems: First, these jobs only benefit one sector of our economy – construction. Second, the jobs are temporary. In my opinion, our focus needs to be on long-term, permanent private sector jobs. If you want to restore confidence in our economy, you need to become more competitive in the marketplace and give our business owners some relief in taxes and regulation. This won’t happen through another government stimulus proposal. Minnesota has come a long way since Governor Dayton’s last State of the State speech, and he would have a hard time arguing that the decisions the Legislature made last year were detrimental to the future of this state. Let’s look at the numbers. We’ve turned a $5.1 billion deficit into a nearly $1 billion surplus. That’s positive. We’ve reduced unemployment from 7.5% to 5.7% in one year. That’s positive. We’ve positively impacted the job creation environment, helping 70,000 formerly unemployed Minnesotans get a job in the past year. Governor Dayton joined us in reforming government last year, and I would urge him to do it again this year. Look at the positives; it’s clear that the reforms that a Republican-led Legislature and a DFL Governor enacted last year have put Minnesota back on a path of success. The Legislature isn’t going to rest on its laurels. Lawmakers will continue to pass legislation this session that will further improve our economy and increase government efficiency, and we encourage Governor Dayton to focus on creating a healthier Minnesota now – and not to worry about the name calling and the November election. There can be no doubt that the state of our state is much better than it was at this time last year, and we can thank our reform efforts for that.