Legislative Update – January 29, 2013

Last Tuesday, Governor Dayton released his budget proposal for the 2014-2015 biennium. The Governor’s budget recommendations serve a starting point for our work this session to resolve our $1.1 billion deficit and balance our state budget with a focus on a stronger economic future. I wanted to provide you with some of the proposals in the governor’s budget along with some context.

Based on my conversations with you over the past year I believe we need to balance the budget with a focus on more opportunities for middle class families, investments in education, property tax relief, and a truly balance our budget without gimmicks.

Minnesota’s future economic competitiveness will hinge on the success of kids in Minnesota classrooms today. But for the past decade our schools have seen cuts that have swelled class sizes and tuition has skyrocketed at our college and universities. Governor Dayton’s budget includes $118 million in new K-12 funding, including $52 in new money for every student, $92 million in early learning, $40 million for optional all-day Kindergarten, and $240 million in new higher education funding.

More money in the pockets of middle class homeowners will help drive job creation and economic growth across the state, but property taxes have nearly doubled over the past ten years. The Governor’s budget includes $1.4 billion in direct property tax relief through a $500 property tax rebate, and increases aid to local governments and counties by $120 million.

The budget proposal also invests $86.5 million in economic development programs to help Minnesota businesses export their products to other countries, and move goods more efficiently. These initiatives would help create thousands of new jobs all across Minnesota.

The Governor’s budget also reforms our tax system in several ways, including reforms to business taxes to level the playing field for small businesses. The Governor’s budget reduces the corporate income tax rate, while closing unfair loopholes – such as the loophole that allows corporations to shelter profits overseas.

It’s important to remember that this is just the first step in the budget process. The legislature will receive an economic forecast in February that will provide more information and guidance. In the meantime, we will examine the governor’s proposals, listen closely to Minnesotans, and work together on a budget that will put Minnesota on a path to progress.

Throughout the legislative session, feel free to contact me with any questions, comments, or concerns on any legislative issue. I can be reached by phone at (651) 296-6206 or by email at rep.mary.sawatzky@house.mn. You can also follow me on Twitter for updates. Thank you for the honor of serving you in the Minnesota House of Representatives.