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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Duane Quam (R)

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Capitol Update from Rep. Duane Quam

Friday, March 1, 2013

Hello from the State Capitol,

Here’s an update on the biggest items I’ve been busy working on.

Budget Forecast

Minnesota’s projected budget deficit for 2014-2015 is now $627 million, a small fraction of the original estimate of $4.4 billion two years ago. We saw today the impact of the Republican fiscal policies from 2011 have had on Minnesota’s economy and our overall budget situation. Just two years ago, Republican majorities in St. Paul took on the difficult task of balancing the state’s massive budget deficit while not impeding the economic growth necessary to refill state revenue accounts. The 2011 legislature erased a $5 billion hole for fiscal years 2012-2013 and turned it into an eventual $2.8 billion surplus which was announced today. Minnesota has refilled its cash flow and rainy day fund accounts, and is once again on the right path thanks to sound management of the state’s finances and a commitment to keeping taxes low. Our policies have delivered steady, consistent improvements to the budget outlook.

I am also proud to report that another $290 million from the updated budget will be directed to buy down the K-12 school shift. All in all, the Republican budget has paid back the entire school shift enacted in 2011 and is now being directed towards the DFL school borrowing that occurred in 2010. Two years ago the shift was 30 percent, and by the end of this budget, it will be down to 13.5 percent.

LEA Award

Thank you to the Minnesota Legislative Evaluation Assembly (LEA) for awarding me “2012 Outstanding Legislator” at their annual banquet.


Stadium Funding Falls Short

You may have heard recent reports that e-pulltab gambling funding for the new Viking’s stadium is falling short, very short. While it is still too early to write-off the model of electronic gambling in bars to pay the state’s portion of the project, some at the Capitol are beginning to offer alternative funding measures in case it falls through. Only 130 sites were offering games as of Feb. 1 after an initial projection of 900 sites by that time. Officials also downgraded the expected daily tax revenue from those sites from $206 to $100. In all, budget officials now expect $46 million less in gambling tax revenue by 2015 than was originally projected.

The bonds issued for the stadium project are backed by Minnesota’s general fund, which means taxpayers will be on the hook if funding falls through. That is one of the reasons that I did not support the stadium bill that passed. I’ll continue to monitor the stadium funding situation this session.

Capitol Visitors

Thanks to all of you that have visited me in St. Paul. In the last couple weeks, I’ve met with many groups and individuals, including:

  • Steve Kortz of the Rochester Family YMCA regarding the sales tax proposal and the impact on non-profits.
  • Olmsted Co. Farm Bureau
  • Constituent Mike Rysavy of the Nursing Leadership Perspectives Program (NLPP) at Mayo Clinic in Rochester
  • Constituent Rick Kane of Pine Island Telephone Co.


Duane Quam