ST. PAUL, MINN. – Minnesota’s February budget forecast showed the biggest surplus the state has seen in 15 years. The Minnesota Management and Budget Office reported a positive balance of $1.233 billion for FY 2014-2015. This is an improvement of $408 million from the November budget forecast. Senator John Hoffman who represents the communities of Champlin, Brooklyn Park and Coon Rapids, is pleased with the positive economic news.
“Minnesota’s economy is continually showing signs of growth. The honestly balanced budget passed by the legislature last year has created the stability and confidence necessary for our state to succeed,” said Sen. Hoffman.
The budget surplus puts this legislature in a positive position and gives it some flexibility to pass legislation that is accompanied with price tags. The 5% Campaign is gaining momentum across the state, and Sen. Hoffman has made passing it a priority this session. The 5% Campaign calls for a pay increase of 5% for home and community-based health care workers who care for persons with developmental disabilities, and haven’t had a wage increase in nearly seven years.
“I have thrown my support behind the 5% Campaign to raise the wages of workers caring for some of the most vulnerable among us. Their job comes with challenges and great rewards, and we need to support these workers and ensure they can make a living wage,” said Sen. Hoffman.
Under the theme of the ‘Unsession’ Sen. Hoffman is also carrying a Department of Human Services (DHS) bill that among other things will repeal or change state statutes referencing laws and rules pertaining to people with disabilities. Much of the language used in these statutes is out-of-date and inappropriate. The bill is aimed at making DHS more efficient and streamlined, and bringing statutes up to date.
Sen. Hoffman also counts several bonding projects in the Northwest suburbs among his priorities this session. The Bottineau LRT is among the largest bonding requests at $18 million. Other projects include the Elm Creek Dam at the Mill Pond, improvements for area technical and community colleges, and funding to begin improvements on the Highway 10 corridor.
“I look forward to securing long-term prosperity for the state by improving the lives of Minnesotans through 5% Campaign legislation, modernizing DHS language, and helping pass a comprehensive bonding bill,” said Sen. Hoffman.