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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Erin Koegel (DFL)

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Legislative Update - May 19, 2017

Friday, May 19, 2017

Dear Neighbors,

Monday at midnight is the deadline for the Legislature to adjourn for the year, and a great deal of work remains before us. Other than funding for state agriculture programs, legislative leaders in the House and Senate majorities and Gov. Mark Dayton have yet to agree on a two-year state budget.

In an effort to end the impasse, Wednesday night Gov. Dayton put forth what could have been the linchpin to bring the session to conclusion: an offer to meet the legislative leaders half way. After including critical funding for our courts system and needed investments in cybersecurity protection, the Governor proposed that the surplus would be split right in half. The Governor would target his half toward values such as education, health care, and public safety, while GOP legislative leaders would be able to target their half toward tax cuts and road funding, their top two priorities. For Gov. Dayton, this represents a significant compromise, moving more than $1.5 billion away from his initial budget proposal.

With such a short time remaining, it only makes sense to meet right in the middle. This proposal would enable meaningful investments in our schools, job creation efforts, health care, and other fundamental responsibilities we have. Unfortunately, the legislative leaders responded by barely moving away from their prior position, and moreover, insisted on including many controversial policy provisions that Gov. Dayton had already said should be left out, and considered separate from the budget.

While not much, there is definitely time left to finish this important work. In our community, we all value quality education, affordable college, safe communities, and the opportunity for families to prosper in a thriving economy. As we put together a state budget, it’s critical that these values are put front and center. The specifics of how we deliver these will certainly require more compromise, but I’m hopeful we can not only get this done, but get it done by midnight on Monday. This can only happen though if politics are set aside, and everyone truly comes to the table with the idea of collaboration.

Thank you for your continued engagement about issues important to you and your family, and I hope you will keep in touch with questions and comments in these final days and hours.

Sincerely,

Erin Koegel

State Representative

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