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

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Legislative Update (3-6-15)

Friday, March 6, 2015

Dear Neighbor,

The first week of March has come to a close and I am looking forward to bringing you up-to-date on what’s happening in St. Paul.

February Budget Forecast

The Minnesota Management and Budget Office (MMB) gave legislators an updated look at the state’s budget outlook last week. MMB’s report revealed that the state is looking at a projected budget surplus of nearly $1.9 billion for the 2016-2017 budget years.

It is important to remember that the state has this surplus thanks to hard working Minnesotans, not the government.

According to MMB documents, a sizable portion of the surplus is due in part to lower gas prices. Given this, it may surprise you to learn that Governor Dayton remained steadfast in his support of a new gas tax.

The fact that the surplus is so large lends credence to the argument that the $2.1 billion in tax increases that were passed in 2013 by Governor Dayton and the Democrat majority were indeed unnecessary and frankly any discussion on imposing a new gas tax on Minnesota families should be over given the state’s $1.9 billion surplus.

As we continue to take a closer look at the February forecast numbers, we need to make sure that we find ways to ensure that Minnesota’s economy can continue to improve at a sustainable rate. I am hopeful that we will be able to prioritize this surplus on giving Minnesota families much needed tax relief and funding for roads and bridges as well as our rural nursing homes.

Improving Student Learning by Empowering Teachers and Schools

On Thursday, the House debated and passed House File 2. HF 2 gives school districts more flexibility to hire and retain teachers and return decision-making to local principals, superintendents, and school boards.

House File 2 addresses these goals in the following ways:

  • Increases quality of teaching by focusing on merit in teacher retention policies, and limiting exposure of students to ineffective teaching. Seniority will still factor into staff retention decisions, but it will no longer be the only factor.
  • Strengthens and identifies standards on new teacher licensure to ensure a firm foundation of academic skills.
  • Increases access to quality teachers through out of state teacher license recognition, encouraging regional licensure reciprocity, streamlining alternative pathways to teaching, and reinstating other licensure options.
  • Empowers school districts to tap community experts to fill unmet needs to maintain or expand academic opportunities for Minnesota students such as carpentry or shop classes.
This legislation is about continually improving our education system with the goal of ensuring that every child receives a world class education. The greatest factor impacting student achievement, aside from parental involvement, is an effective teacher. House File 2 will help our schools make student-focused decisions and offer more flexibility to our locally elected officials to ensure that Minnesota remains a leader in preparing our students for rich and rewarding futures.

Staying in Touch

As always, do not hesitate to contact me if you ever have a question or comment about a piece of legislation or a state agency. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-9918 or via email at rep.steve.green@house.mn.

Have a great weekend,

Steve

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