This week, Governor Mark Dayton unveiled his budget proposal which he is hoping to have passed by the legislature this year. The House and Senate will be hearing more details about the proposed budget plans over the next few weeks when state agencies come to testify about his budget recommendations before committees.
As for now, I believe there are a few important highlights in his budget proposal I should share with you.
First, it seems the governor wants more of the same when it comes to taxing and spending increases. Last biennium, he raised billions in new taxes and grew government spending more than three times faster than our economy.
This time around, his budget recommendations include more than $900 million in tax increases and would grow our general fund budget from $39.3 billion to a substantial $42.2 billion for FY2016-17.
More important still is that there are a number of misplaced priorities in his budget recommendations including more money for MNsure and for the wasteful Senate Office Building now being built next to the Capitol.
It’s great that he is focusing a significant portion of his budget investing in areas like education, but I believe state government can prioritize spending on the important things without taking more from taxpayers.
Flood Disaster Relief Bill Passes House
On Monday, the House suspended rules to pass a flood disaster relief bill, giving the 47 counties, including Washington County, who requested funding to help pay for repairs from last summer’s heavy flooding, the monetary assistance they need.
The $17 million relief bill will include matching dollars from several federal government agencies. What’s more, the legislature was able to use allocated but unspent dollars from previous disaster relief bills in 2011 and 2012 to help fund this legislation. That’s great news for Minnesota taxpayers and counties that needed aid to cover repairs!
If you have any ideas for legislation or input on what’s happening at the Capitol, I welcome you to contact me this session. I am here to serve you!
As always, thank you for the honor and privilege of being your state representative.