I wanted to check in with a quick update from St. Paul. We’re in the final few weeks of session, and some important bills are making their way to the House floor.
As we get closer to the end of session, discussing a long-term, sustainable plan to fund roads and bridges will come to the forefront of our debate. You’ll hear Democrats argue we need “sustainable funding”, but they actually mean “raise the gas tax on all Minnesotans”. We have existing revenue streams that could be used to invest in roads and bridges around the state, and don’t need to put a 16 cent per gallon tax on gas to do so.
I support the 2015 Republican plan to invest $7 billion in the next decade without increases taxes. This plan would fix over 15,000 lane miles of road, and 330 bridges statewide. To me, that seems like a smart investment for our state.
There’s no question we need to fix our roads and bridges, yet some Democrats continue to push for a light rail train extension that costs in excess of $1 billion. Instead of another costly train in the Twin Cities, we could repave six lanes of every interstate in Minnesota, and keep Metro Transit buses running for the next four years. We owe it to our residents to prioritize road and bridge funding without hurting family budgets.
Aging Care Legislation
Our state is facing a growing aging population, and we must stay in front of this wave. Next year, 60,000 Minnesotans will turn 65, and by 2020, we'll have more seniors in our state than K-12 students. There's no question we're facing an aging population who need improvements to health care, housing, transportation and career help.
House Republicans proposed a number of senior care bills including repealing the tax on Social Security and helping the Department of Health plan for this change in demographics. I recently sent a letter to the Rochester Post-Bulletin you can read here.
St. Paul Visits
It’s been great meeting with folks from our area in my office. Representatives from SELCO, SEIU, and the Nurse Licensure Compact stopped by my office in St. Paul.
I was also fortunate to spend time with students in the Minnesota House High School Page Program this week. This is an amazing way for high school juniors to gain firsthand knowledge of our legislature.
The picture above is from the pages' first day this week, and the below picture is from their last. It’s a weeklong program for high school juniors interested in government. Pages assist staff, meet lawmakers, and become an important part of the legislative process during their week in St. Paul. If you know a student who will be a junior next year, I encourage you to click here to find out more. I’d love to see more students from Olmsted County take advantage of this opportunity.
If you can’t make it to the Twin Cities, please call or email with any thoughts or suggestions. I’d love to hear from you!
Have a great weekend,