I hope this email finds you well, and you are able to take advantage of this wonderful weather with your friends and family. Here at the State Capitol, the pace is picking up as we head toward adjournment on May 22, and I wanted to give you an update.
Negotiations on an agreement for a two-year state budget between Gov. Dayton and the House and Senate majorities appeared to be on track earlier this week. In a spirit of compromise, the Governor had issued a series of proposals trying to move more toward the middle. Unfortunately, rather than returning a compromise offer of their own, the legislative majority chose to move ahead with votes on their own, very partisan budget bills. It is extremely disappointing that rather than doing the hard work to find common ground, they chose to walk away from the table.
They took this step knowing full well that Gov. Dayton would veto these measures, which contain such harmful items such as a cut to pre-K education, a lack of pay increase for home health care workers, cuts to transit service, rollbacks of environmental protections and more. All of this comes when we have a $1.65 billion budget surplus.
Right now, this plan has stalled for the time being. The composition of the Minnesota Senate is split with 34 Republicans and 33 DFLers. One of the Republican Senators is currently away from the Capitol with a family emergency. Because 34 votes are required to pass a bill, the Senate Majority has chosen to not proceed with action on these bills. The fact they don’t believe they can count on a single member of the minority party voting for one of these bills just highlights their partisan nature.
As we move forward, I’ll be standing with Gov. Dayton in pushing for a two-year budget that is in line with values of our state and community. I simply don’t see how, in a time of surplus, taking steps like underfunding education helps any family find a better future. By doing the hard work to compromise, we ensure we have world class schools, quality higher education at a cost in reach of young people and their families, a transportation system that will accommodate our region’s needs, and accessible and affordable health care for all, we can create opportunity and prosperity for all Minnesotans. I’m committed to this, and I hope my colleagues on the other side of the aisle can be as well.
I hope you will keep reaching out with your feedback. It’s helpful that I know what’s on the mind of community members, so any comments and other input you may have is very important to me.
It’s an honor to represent you.