The annual state fair poll, conducted at the Minnesota Senate booth, is an informal and non-partisan survey of the issues discussed in prior legislative sessions and of potential topics for discussion in 2018. I always find the results interesting and informative. Even though the results are not scientific, there were more than 5,300 Minnesotans who took the poll – with more than 44 percent respondents living in the suburbs, 36 percent in the cities, and 17 percent in outstate Minnesota.
Transportation, congestion, and how to pay for fixing our roads and bridges is always a volatile topic at the legislature. This year the poll question related to including toll roads in the Department of Transportation’s long-term strategy to reduce congestion and raise revenue for transportation. With the highest percentage of participants, more than 71 percent believe Minnesota should not look to toll roads as a solution to our transportation problems.
Almost 62 percent of respondents said the immunization exemption, based on personal or religious beliefs, should be eliminated for children enrolled in public schools. The increase of disease outbreaks, once thought eradicated, has created tension between public health and safety and parental rights.
In 2017, Minnesota lawmakers passed a law that provided $327 million of one-time money to provide assistance to Minnesotans facing high premiums in the individual health insurance market. More than 46 percent of participants said Minnesota should continue to provide funding to help lower individual health insurance premiums. In addition, another 31 percent said we should continue to provide subsidies, but with income limitations.
Minnesota is recognized for its talented workforce, but today companies of all sizes and types across the state are increasingly struggling to find skilled workers. Minnesotans were also asked what the best use of state dollars is to meet future workforce needs in Minnesota. The results were: 36 percent participants support increasing spending for high-school and dual-enrollment career and technical education; 29 percent support providing full or partial scholarships for high school graduates pursuing an associate’s degree or professional certificate; and more than 20 percent support providing incentives to private employers that offer apprenticeships.
If you would like additional information on the non-partisan state fair poll or any other issue I can help you with, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SenatorJerryNewton/ You can also reach me by phone at 651-296-2556.