I hope this message finds you and yours well and enjoying the holiday season. This is a special time of year for joy, gratitude, and hope for what’s ahead in the coming year. Despite the challenges we face, I’m confident that by continuing to work together, we can find common ground to deliver the results Minnesotans are counting on for safe and thriving communities.
I wish you and your family a happy holiday filled with love, peace, and good health.
New Economic Forecast
Earlier this month, the Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB) Agency announced a new economic forecast which showed a projected $7.7 billion positive balance for the current biennium. This estimated projection demonstrates strong economic recovery due to increasing incomes, higher consumer spending, and lower unemployment.
Despite the significant surplus, we know many Minnesotans including frontline workers, small business owners, and students, are still struggling. This new, historic forecast is a significant opportunity to make strategic investments that can help us bounce back and continue to grow our economy.
I’ll be headed into the 2022 session with a pragmatic, fiscally-sound approach in how these funds are allocated. It’s important for us to carefully consider how we can address critical needs our families are facing now, and how we can get the best return on each dollar to secure a bright future for Minnesota long-term. In a divided state legislature, compromise will be key.
One area I’m hopeful we can find common ground on with the Senate is enacting policy that makes it possible for Minnesotans to earn Paid Family and Medical Leave. The Pioneer Press has an excellent article clarifying questions around the plan, how it would work, and what it would mean for employers and Minnesotans who currently cannot access time off to care for themselves or a loved one without sacrificing a paycheck.
Unemployment Rates are Down in Minnesota
Recent data from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development shows that job growth continues in Minnesota, outpacing the nation as our state unemployment rate ticks down to 3.3%. Minnesota gained 8,600 jobs in November and the private sector has regained 77% the jobs lost since 2020.
Thanks to the DEED-administered Minnesota Job Creation Fund (JCF), Qorvo Biotechnologies of Plymouth is expanding its biotechnology project development and operation with plans to increase the existing footprint by 13,500 square feet. This will help support the growth of its Qorvo Omnia™ Diagnostic Test Platform and COVID Antigen Test, recently authorized by the FDA. The JCF award is $175,000, and 54 new jobs are anticipated to be created as a result.
Plymouth has long been home to innovation in entrepreneurship, and I’m grateful this project in particular will contribute to the science-driven solutions Minnesotans are counting on in combating the pandemic.
Local Efforts to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Three of Minnesota's first electric school buses have joined Osseo area schools to aid the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency in gathering data and information on the buses' performance. This is a significant opportunity to reduce air pollution and combat the climate crisis. Our students, community, and environment benefit from clean air and safe, green modes of transportation. In case you missed it, CCX has a good segment on the features of the buses and the overall project.
Stay Safe this Holiday Season
With the Omicron variant on the rise, and hospitals nearing capacity, testing for, and getting vaccinated against COVID-19 remains a critical component to our collective goal to slow the spread and alleviate pressure on our health care workers. Let's do what we can to keep each other safe and healthy during the holidays.
Keep in Touch
Again, my best wishes for a happy and healthy holiday. Please take care and have a happy new year! Contact me anytime with questions, ideas about how to utilize the budget surplus, or to let me know how I can be of assistance. Your input drives my work for our Plymouth community in St. Paul.