Dear Friends and Neighbors,
With session now concluding its second week, here is an update from the Capitol in St. Paul.
State Budget Forecast
In Wednesday’s economic forecast, Minnesota Management & Budget announced a $329 million budget surplus for the remainder of the 2018-19 biennium. This surplus is an over half-billion improvement from the $188 million budget deficit projected by the agency in November. This forecast showcases Minnesota’s thriving economy, which has been strengthened by Republican-led tax cuts at the state and federal level. It also shows that there is no evidence of the overly negative numbers predicted by Democrats following the passage of our historic tax bill last session. I look forward to building on this momentum in the months ahead by advocating for more money to be returned to Minnesota’s hardworking taxpayers that created this surplus.
House Republicans introduced a pair of important bills this week aimed at responsibly fixing the broken MNLARS system that so many Minnesotans have encountered complications with. In the wake of Governor Dayton’s administration recently requesting $10 million to continue fixing the system, the first bill would allow the Governor to use $10 million in existing state agency funding for these purposes. By using funds already in state government, this commonsense approach protects Minnesota’s taxpayers from footing the bill for this disaster once again. The other bill would direct the Commissioner of Public Safety to examine using a private sector company to overhaul MNLARS, instead of again relying on the same government agency that has repeatedly failed to provide real solutions.
This administration still has not provided the legislature with comprehensive documentation on how the money it’s requesting would be spent fixing ongoing problems. We are unwilling to force taxpayers to write another blank check without strong assurances of accountability and a detailed roadmap of solutions. Simply stated, Minnesotans deserve a working DMV system. We will continue to work on taxpayers’ behalf to ensure the agency provides strong assurances and detailed plans before we blindly provide additional funding.
Yesterday, the legislature hosted the Second Annual Opioid Awareness Day at the Capitol. The aim of the day’s events was to raise awareness of the further action required to fight Minnesota’s continuing opioid crisis and reduce the devastating effects caused by these drugs. More can be done in the legislature to combat this growing problem, and I am committed to working with fellow lawmakers as meaningful solutions are pursued this session.
As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of assistance to you or your family on a matter of state government. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-4346 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a great weekend.