Prayers, please for Gov. Mark Dayton as he works through some health issues. We wish him the best and are encouraged that he has quickly recovered from the fainting incident during the State of the State address.
The governor submitted his budget proposal for the next biennium this week. He proposes a 10-percent increase in spending. That would move us from the current $41.5 billion of spending to about $45.8 billion for the next biennium.
I will get into budget details in future updates after we receive and analyze the February Budget and Economic Forecast which is the next step in developing the state’s next two-year budget. Yesterday, we passed and the governor signed legislation that provides a 25-percent premium reduction for Minnesotans who do not qualify for the MNsure tax credits on the individual health insurance market.
We also included important reforms that will start to move us back toward more affordable health care. We preserved continuity of care for patients undergoing life-critical treatments and made other important reforms. This is a start, but much work remains.
I introduced several bills this week, including implementation of the local use sales tax that was passed by voter referendum for the Garrison, Kathio, West Mille Lacs Lake Sanitary district; a proposal to send the sales taxes currently collected on auto repairs and parts to the highway user fund; a bill to support the Northwoods Mille Lacs-Malmo East Loop ATV trail; a bill to support the Cuyuna County State Recreation Area and a proposal that would significantly reduce the burden of the state general tax on area small businesses.
On Tuesday evening I was honored to attend the Minnesota Farm Bureau County President’s Dinner and had a great visit with Rich and Eileen Leino, Bill Sexten and John Chute representing the Crow Wing County and Aitkin-Carlton County Farm Bureau chapters.
I finished up this week with a 7 a.m. breakfast gathering with the Brainerd Lakes Chamber at Madden’s Resort for a legislative review session. We had an excellent meeting examining the many needs of our community.
Have a safe weekend.