In spite of a $1.65 billion surplus, the 2017 Minnesota legislature went into overtime. Governor Dayton called legislators into Special Session on Tuesday after reaching an agreement on the framework to complete the state budget. Unfortunately, the Republican majority took several days to cross the finish line.
When the regular legislative session ended at midnightMonday, 70% of the major budget bills were unresolved including education, health and human services, and state government finance. A proposed package of tax legislation also stalled, as did a bonding bill to address infrastructure needs statewide.
In our special session, the remainder of the budget bills were passed. We attained our goal of balancing the budget, but the bills contained controversial provisions that don’t match Minnesota values. Republicans chose to prioritize tax cuts for big tobacco, corporations and the wealthy, instead of investing in education and a better economy for all Minnesotans.
Republicans are in control of the House and the Senate, and they are charged with governing, but months into the legislative process there became a point when it was clear our work would not be completed in time. There is a general theme throughout this session under this year’s current leadership that reflects what’s happening in Washington, D.C.: unwillingness to compromise and consistent blame. As a result, an unnecessary special session was needed due to poor time management.
Minnesotans expect the legislature to get its work done on time, especially in a time of projected surplus. The failure to finish on time demonstrates the inability of the current Minnesota House and Senate Majorities to lead.
I’m pleased our work is finally finished today. But I wish we could have passed a budget that improves opportunity for all Minnesotans by investing in what has made our community, state and economy strong.
Save the date: Capitol Grand Opening
After four years and a $310 million restoration, the Minnesota State Capitol is now open to the public. Our beautiful Capitol has been returned to its former glory and is ready for the next 100 years.
To invite Minnesotans back to the People’s House, there will be a Grand Opening Celebration on August 11, 12, and 13. The celebration will have something for everyone – fireworks, concerts, demonstrations by the artisans that worked on the restoration, behind the scenes tours, and much more. With featured events to entertain Minnesotans of all ages from all corners of the state, the Grand Opening weekend will be educational, interactive and fun. Most of the events are free or offered at a very low cost.
Please mark your calendars and plan to celebrate the People’s House this August.
Please contact me with any questions or concerns.