Dear Friends and Neighbors,
December arrived in full force with a snowy and windy week! I hope you all still got out to enjoy the many community holiday events and parades and also had a chance to support our local Main Street businesses on Small Business Saturday! In this update, I want to start with plenty of good news from our district and then update you on the DHS situation and the recent budget surplus announcement.
FIRST - CONGRATS TO LOCAL HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETES:
The Cannon Falls 2019 Bomber Football team is Class 3A, Section 4 Champs!
Red Wing swimmer Cecelia De Jong, broke the school record for the 100 butterfly with a time of 55.97 seconds at the Class A state meet. Teegan Beyers and Grace O'Brien also qualified to swim at state.
The Red Wing 200-yard medley relay team also won their second straight Section 1A Championship. As a former high school swimmer I have a special appreciation for their accomplishments - WOW!
Red Wing seniors Hailey Ehlers and Elle Thorson also signed letters of intent. Ehlers will play softball at Binghampton University in New York and Thorson will run track at NDSU in Fargo.
CONGRATULATIONS TO AREA TEACHERS:
Congratulations to Stephanie Bowen and Nicollette Hernke for being named Teachers of the Year in Cannon Falls!
AND - TURNING 100:
Cannon Falls resident Sonia Peterson who recently celebrated her 100th birthday! Happy Birthday to Sonia!
DHS COMMISONER TAKES CENTER STAGE AT HOUSE HEARING
At long last, the Minnesota House Health and Human Services Finance Division held a hearing this week with the new commissioner of the Department of Human Services to ask questions about the continued chaos that has been occurring in the agency over the past several months.
For weeks we have heard numerous stories of misappropriated taxpayer dollars (totaling in the tens of millions) and agency whistleblowers who were retaliated against after sharing the problems they found within the department.
A number of you have contacted me wondering when this DHS dysfunction is going to end, and I brought up your concerns directly to the commissioner. To watch, click here.
This hearing was just the start of a very long conversation that needs to be had in determining how to end the costly and unnecessary department dysfunction at DHS.
BUDGET UPDATE: $1.3 BILLION SURPLUS
On Thursday, Minnesota’s economic experts say they estimate the state will have a $1.3 billion budget surplus to allocate for the remainder of this budget cycle.
Worth noting, Minnesota only needed $259 million to fully-fund the state's budget reserve - or what we commonly call the “rainy day fund.” State law requires up to one-third of any surplus go to the budget reserve until it is fully funded.
The $1.3 billion that remains is what’s left after the budget reserve money is shipped to reserves.
With yet another significant surplus, it’s clear to me that any potential tax hike the governor or House leadership may have wanted must be taken off the table. Republican-led tax cuts in Minnesota and in the federal government are creating economic growth and increasing revenue. With this news, I’ll be pushing for further tax cuts, as this money belongs to you, not the government.
STAYING IN TOUCH
As always, if you have questions or concerns regarding any issue, please contact me. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-296-8635.