The primary responsibility for legislators this session is to pass the state’s next two-year budget. With only six weeks left in the 2019 Legislative Session, we’ve only passed a handful of bills, leaving most of the work of passing a two-year budget, tax conformity, bonding, and a number of important policy bills for the remaining weeks before adjournment on May 20.
It’s imperative to remember that our budget surplus is temporary, with the state’s long-term fiscal outlook projecting slower growth and future budget deficits. Spending measures passed this year should be considered a one-time investment rather than long-term or ongoing spending. That said, we need to invest our limited taxpayer dollars wisely.
As a leader on the higher education committee, I was pleased with the Governor’s and House’s recommendations for higher education. Their budgets put students first by making college more affordable, reducing debt, and improving health and safety on campus. The Senate budget put forth by legislative leaders falls short of requests by the University of Minnesota and MinnState and does not provide proper investments to make sure our students can afford higher education.
As I visit with people in our communities, I hear their priorities focusing on working families, small businesses, farmers, high-quality education, affordable and accessible health care, and investments in state infrastructure projects. Minnesotans want to keep our property taxes down and local governments strong to provide services we all rely on. Minnesotans want us to make bipartisan decisions to strengthen our economy and make our communities thrive.
In the remaining weeks of the 2019 legislative session, I am hopeful bipartisan solutions can be identified and supported through the budget process. We face challenges in the weeks ahead. As legislators and Minnesotans, we need to address our needs and values. We will be considering the following initiatives in the coming weeks.
Can we make decisions to be good environmental stewards for future generations?
Can we provide equal educational opportunities for all students in Minnesota?
Can we provide affordable and accessible health care for all?
Can we provide safety for our school children?
Can we provide affordable higher education for all in a career path which strengthens Minnesota’s economy?
Can we provide affordable housing?
Can we support and honor our veterans?
Can we provide affordable child care programs for working families and single parents?
Can we address the opioid epidemic?
Can we address the needs of those with medical conditions requiring costly prescriptions?
Can we support and grow small business owners?
Can we assist farm families with their struggles?
Can we address our most pressing infrastructure needs?
Can we support our correctional and law enforcement officers who are working under difficult conditions?
Can we support paid family leave?
Can we join together to support gun safety provisions?
Can we provide a living wage for working families?
Can we ensure our elections are safe and secure?
As we move into the last six weeks of session, I am committed to work with bipartisan colleagues in the Senate to invest in Minnesota shared values moving beyond partisan politics and remembering we serve all Minnesotans. I look forward to hearing from you on these and other issues of importance to you and all Minnesotans. If you would like more information on the status of the budget or if you have an issue that you think I may be able to help you with, please contact me by phone at 651-296-4120 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also mail letters or pay me a visit in the Minnesota Senate Building, Room 2233, right across the street from the Capitol.