We recently received our fourth consecutive positive economic forecast from Minnesota Management & Budget. 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. I spoke with the Marshall Independent about this yesterday and called on Gov. Mark Dayton to change his widely-criticized tax-heavy approach to his proposed budget.
We saw the impact 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. Minnesota 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, leaving a balance of $801 million remaining. 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.
Tax Bill Heard in House
Governor Dayton’s budget proposal was heard in the House Taxes Committee on Wednesday night. As you may know, the plan calls for new taxes on businesses and families through an expanded sales tax, a new transit tax, and higher income taxes. Many of you have expressed concern over this plan. Small-business owners were among the first to testify, telling the committee that the business-to-business tax provision in the proposal would force them to raise prices on consumers, cut jobs, or close their doors. Debate on the Governor’s tax and spend plan will continue in the coming weeks.
With the recent news that Minnesota’s economy is making a remarkable turnaround, it makes no sense to raise anyone’s taxes. Prioritized spending and forcing government to live within its means triggered this improvement, yet legislative leaders stand ready to unnecessarily raise taxes and expand the size of state government. The only question that remains is which taxes will be targeted, and how much will you pay?
New SMSU President
I want to congratulate Southwest Minnesota State University President-elect Connie Gores on being selected the ninth permanent president of SMSU. On Tuesday, the Board of Trustees of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system appointed Gores and she will begin her work in July. I’ve had the chance to meet with her and know she will be a great leader for Southwest State. I look forward to working with her for the future of SMSU and welcome her to the Marshall community.
Minnesota Health Insurance Exchange
Looking forward, next Monday the full House of Representatives will debate HF5, the bill creating the expansive and powerful Minnesota Health Insurance Exchange. At a cost of $200 million, this exchange officially brings Obamacare to Minnesota and offers no guarantees for improving health care quality or lowering costs. I will have more details early next week when the House takes action on this measure.
Please feel free to contact me with any thoughts or concerns you may have. I can be reached at 651-296-5374 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rep. Chris Swedzinski