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TAG | Rep. Selcer
Posted by SD48 DFL Communications Team in News
Unfortunately, legislative leaders and Governor Dayton were not able to reach a budget compromise on time and there will be a special session. Currently, legislative leaders Daudt and Bakk are meeting with the Governor to negotiate a final agreement. I am extremely disappointed that the legislature did not finish on time. I am hopeful that a bipartisan agreement is struck soon so that a brief special session may take place to resolve any unfinished business.
During the special session, I will not be taking per diem and I will urge my colleagues to follow suit. The people of Minnesota expect the legislature to finish its work on time and with a $2 billion surplus, there is little reason to need a special session.
Vacancies in State Boards, Councils & Committees
I want to pass along information on vacancies in State Boards, Councils & Committees that I recently received from the Secretary of State’s office. These are great avenues for citizen involvement in our government and I encourage you to get involved! (more…)
As we finish up our work in St. Paul, I certainly hope that more progress can be made for our students. As you may recall, our schools faced deep budget cuts during the last decade, when we had a budget deficit for 8 out of the last 10 years. In 2013, the budget was balanced into the future and we now have a projected $1.9 billion surplus. Yet, the proposed House Majority education budget increases school funding by just .6 percent —a number that school officials have warned will cause hundreds of teacher layoffs in the metro area and increase class sizes.
With a significant budget surplus, we must strike a better balance between investing in education, transportation and other priorities to strengthen our economy, and providing a suitable business and tax environment. I am extremely disappointed that the House majority is insisting on providing permanent tax relief to owners of the biggest corporations in our state — many of whom don’t even live in Minnesota — at the expense of our students and their future.
With time running out before the Legislature adjourns May 18, I hope that our legislative leaders will find more compromise to ensure that our students are made a priority for the next two years. For my part, I will continue working to ensure that we can strike a bipartisan balance that ensures our schools remain strong and that our students have world-class opportunities.
Rep. Yvonne Selcer, HD48A
Eden Prairie News, May 15, 2015
I hope you all had the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful weather this past weekend. Before taking the weekend break, we continued to hear important omnibus bills here at the Capitol, including the tax and legacy funding bills, which are summarized for you below.
Omnibus Tax Bill
Recently, the House voted on the Majority tax bill, which funds the priorities of our state. The proposal included permanent tax breaks for the owners of the largest corporations and businesses in Minnesota—many of whom don’t live in the state. To read the recent StarTribune article on out of state and country interests who would benefit from these tax breaks, click here.
The tax relief in the bill provided to working Minnesotans is temporary, and would only amount to about $50-70 per (more…)
We have been hearing many budget bills on the House floor recently, and will continue to pass pieces of the budget this week. I want to provide you with a brief update of each piece of legislation.
With a $2 billion surplus, investing in education should be one of our top priorities. Unfortunately, the House majority has brought forward an education budget that increasing education funding by less than a 1 percent. We have heard from districts across the metro that class sizes will grow and teachers will be laid off as a result. I spoke about this issue Saturday on the House floor, when the bill was passed. To watch my speech and hear more, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COlcg_BRHKw.
Civic and business leaders agree that Minnesota is a great place to live and work because we have one the best educational systems. But it won’t stay that way if we can’t provide schools funding at times when the economy is strong, especially after years of cuts and budget shifts. It is my hope that a more reasonable and sustainable proposal comes back from conference committee. I am happy to report that there are some good provisions in the education bill, such as increased investment in early childhood education and concurrent enrollment opportunities for our high school students so they can earn post-secondary credits while in high school. Hopefully we can build on these bipartisan investments in conference committee.
The legislature was able to work productively this session in the area of public safety and crime prevention. The resulting bill includes $250,000 to combat terrorism in Minnesota, stemming from the recent ISIL recruit arrests. The bill also includes additional resources to combat human trafficking and child abuse. I supported this bipartisan bill.
State Government Finance
The state government bill was passed on Friday, which unfortunately shifts millions out of pension funds, creates unfunded burdens and eliminates limits on campaign spending and contributions from PACs and lobbyists. This provision is especially troubling to me, as I believe we need more disclosure and less outside spending in our elections.
Environment & Natural Resources
On Friday, we also passed the environment and natural resources bill. I voted against this proposal because I felt that it threatened Minnesota’s clean water and breathable air, as well as the accounting shifts and gimmicks included. The environment bill shifts nearly $60 million out of the fund we use to clean up closed landfills, takes money from the school trust, and gives up on fighting aquatic invasive species by cutting millions from prevention efforts. I have concerns about the funding shifts in this bill and the troubling trend of this accounting in the House majority’s budget.
Monday, the House passed the higher education on a nearly party line vote. This bill reverses the tuition freeze currently in place for all Minnesota students at public colleges and universities and will increase the costs of higher education for students and parents. There is absolutely no funding included to help our University of MN students with skyrocketing tuition. With a budget surplus, I think we should prioritize student debt and tuition relief for students and their families.
Unfortunately, the transportation bill raids some funds the Minnesota Department of Transportation holds in reserves for emergencies, such as harsh winters or natural disasters. There is also a great deal of shifting of funds and borrowing used to fund various transportation needs. We need to have a serious discussion about which additional funding streams we may want to dedicate out of the general fund to transportation, and how we will handle that additional strain on the general fund, which funds education and health care, during the next inevitable economic downturn. I have serious concerns with this funding and voted against the proposal.
Jobs & Energy
Last Thursday, the jobs and energy bill was passed. Provisions within the bill will stop us from repaying loans we took out under Governor Pawlenty. We should be using our budget surplus to invest and ensure sound budgeting into the future. I voted against this proposal.
Health & Human Services
The health and human services bill will cut state health funding by $1.152 billion and eliminate MinnesotaCare, which will cause 100,000 low-income, working Minnesotans to lose their health insurance. The bill includes many accounting shifts and gimmicks, including $300 million in savings that our House nonpartisan research staff has said will only amount to an estimated $17 million. For these reasons, I voted against the bill.
I voted against many of these budget bills due to insufficient, unstable funding and budgetary tricks and gimmicks. With a surplus, we should be making strategic investments to ensure a prosperous economic future for businesses and families. While there were some good provisions in these pieces of legislation, I am hopeful that the final budget proposal includes more balance and sound budgeting and will garner bipartisan support.
As always, please contact me anytime with your input. I can be reached by phone at (651) 296-3964 or by email at email@example.com. Thank you for the honor of representing you at the State Capitol.
E-12 education · environment and natural resources · HD48A · health and human services · higher education · House District 48A · jobs and energy · Public Safety · Rep. Selcer · state government finance · transportation · Yvonne Selcer