* Letters to the Editor *
A highly educated work force is Minnesota’s number one resource. It is essential that we continue to invest in our colleges and universities to keep them the best in the country. Second-best colleges turn out mediocre graduates. And meanwhile, our most talented students will go to other states for their education.
Please urge our legislators not to short change the students. Last year on the recommendation of Gov. Dayton, the Legislature passed legislation to freeze tuition in Minnesota’s colleges and universities. Yearly tuition hikes had pushed the cost of higher education beyond the means of many sutdents. This year the Legislature is recommending that the tuition freeze only apply to two-year institutions. Students who need to attend four-year colleges will again face escalating tuition. Most of these students will graduate with devastating debts. It’s not fair!
Businesses will leave our state without an educated workforce. Cutting funds for higher education is shortsighted indeed. Keeping tution reasonable is also important. We need all students who desire to attend college to be able to afford it, and not to end up at graduation with enormous debts either. We must keep the tuition freeze for all state colleges and universities.
Remind our legislators today to make Minnesota’s colleges and universities a top priority in the budget.
Eden Prairie News, April 30, 2015
higher education · tuition freeze
The 2015 legislative session is over halfway complete, but there’s still much work to do to balance Minnesota’s budget and make strategic investments to move our economy forward. Minnesota’s budget situation has greatly improved compared to a few years ago when we faced a budget deficit, and right now there is a lot of debate about what to do with the state’s projected $1.9 billion budget surplus. Much of the surplus will be absorbed by inflationary costs, and one third of any surplus is dedicated to go to the state’s budget reserves to prevent future deficits.
Thanks to the input I’ve received from many in our community, I am advocating for balanced investments in education, transportation and tax relief. I also support putting additional money into the budget reserves for future downturns. Any investments that we make should have the goal of strengthening Minnesota’s economy and need to be reasonable and fiscally prudent.
Two areas of investment pertinent to our economic success are education and transportation. I have serious concerns about the way the House majority is financing both their education and transportation proposals. The recently proposed House budget takes transportation funding out of the general fund, pitting the needs of our schools against the need to invest in our infrastructure. I support investing in our early learners, reducing class sizes and aiding parents and students with a continued college tuition freeze at state colleges and universities. The lack of school funding in the current proposal is also alarming to me, as many schools could see increased class sizes and reductions in student services.
If we pass the House budget as proposed, it is likely we could again face a budget deficit, or the unfortunate budgeting that resulted in borrowing money from schools and having our state’s credit rating lowered due to the use of shifts and gimmicks. It is absolutely crucial that at this time of economic growth, we keep our state on stable financial footing and ensure that our proposals are balanced. I will continue advocating for a balanced proposal that makes strategic investments in education, transportation and tax relief that helps to grow our economy.
The Legislature is constitutionally set to adjourn on May 18. Until then, it is crucial that you share your views and priorities with me. I hope to hear from you about what is important to you as we work to balance the state budget and continue moving Minnesota forward.
Rep. Yvonne Selcer
House District 48A
Eden Prairie News, April 9, 2015
2015 House GOP budget · Rep. Selcer · Yvonne Selcer
Last year’s successful implementation of all-day kindergarten has advanced Minnesota children’s learning and achievement opportunities. Working parents have also been able to save $2,000-$15,000 a year in child-care costs. Educators and parents agree on the already positive results.
With the state’s expected $1.9 billion budget surplus Gov. Dayton is proposing continued learning preparation for 4-year-olds with access to free, full-day pre-kindergarten. Educators, community leaders and employers have in studies shown their support for the importance of early childhood education. The best future for our children and communities begins with the best equal education beginnings.
I urge both houses of our Legislature to keep this essential and long-overdue program in the budget.
Eden Prairie News, April 2, 2015
free pre-indergarten · Gov. Dayton · Mark Dayton
I find it interesting that in the debate over the wages of tipped employees, the pool of money that constitutes what each customer decides to voluntarily tip on each transaction, over which restaurant owners have no control, is treated as if it were the owners’ pool of money to analyze for business costs. I find it inappropriate that voluntary contributions above the listed price are being used as justification for lowering wages and that some restaurant owners are trying to enlist the state’s help to save on labor expenses that every business has to account for (“GOP targets minimum wage,” March 24). I think that the focus should be on costs that owners are directly responsible for and that their business acumen should be used to maximize efficiency in other ways instead of taking the shortcut of having the government do it on the backs of employees.
StarTribune, March 27, 2015
tip penalty · tip theft
A majority of Minnesota’s roads are more than 50 years old, and in the next three years 1 in 5 will pass its useful life. Forty percent of our bridges are 40 years old or older and in the next 10 years, most will be past their useful life.
Gov. Mark Dayton has a plan to fix Minnesota’s deteriorating roads and bridges. This is great news for drivers tired of dodging pot holes and feeling bridges shake beneath their cars and businesses that lose money when their shipments are stuck in traffic and products are late to market.
Gov. Dayton’s plan is good news for Eden Prairie. The governor’s proposal includes funding to upgrade the following bridges: Prairie Center Drive over 494; Highway 212 over Purgatory Creek; and Valley View Road over 494. The proposal also funds much-needed roadwork on Highway 7.
In contrast, the Republican majority in the Minnesota House of Representatives has floated a funding proposal that would fix approximately one bridge in the state, nowhere near the true need of repairs that need to be done.
I hope Sen. David Hann will support our communities and support Gov. Dayton’s plan.
Eden Prairie News, March 6, 2015
crumbling infrastructure · David Hann · Gov. Dayton · Mark Dayton · Sen. Hann
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