Archived Story

It’s the right time to invest in Minnesota

Published 5:58pm Saturday, May 4, 2013

Column: Capital Comments, by Shannon Savick

As the end of session approaches, we’re getting into the final steps of passing our budget.

During this part of the process, the House and Senate both select members to put on conference committees. Those committees then decide how to craft the final versions of the budget bills that will be sent to Gov. Mark Dayton to be signed into law.

Shannon Savick
Shannon Savick

In many cases, the House and Senate did not have many differences from one another in their bills, so the conference committees don’t have much work to be done. There are a few areas where we’ll need significant work done, however.

Our higher education bill, bonding bill and taxes bill all differ significantly from the Senate’s bills. This means some significant changes may take place that would impact our local communities. But our priorities of investing in our schools, creating jobs and helping local communities lower their property taxes are largely the same as the priorities in the Senate. Basically, we’re all heading to the same place, but we might have different ways of how to get there.

After all, let’s not forget how much work it took to get us to this point. Right off the bat we had to deal with a $627 million budget deficit that was left over from the previous session on top of $854 million still owed to our schools.

On top of paying off that $1.4 million in debt that hadn’t been addressed by the previous legislators, we knew we needed to invest in jobs and education while trying to provide property tax relief for families across the state.

It’s been a tough road. We’re asking the wealthiest Minnesotans (those making more than $400,000 a year) to pay their fair share, and we’re cutting corporate tax loopholes for big companies can just keep their money overseas.

But all the while, we were working to make sure we could make those investments that Minnesota needs so badly. After cuts to the jobs budget last session, we’re investing $46 million into new economic development. After a decade of cuts to education, we’re investing more than $700 million to help students develop the skills they need to grow our economy.

This is the right time to make those investments. We need to strengthen our economy and add some living wage jobs in our area. I’m confident that our budget will do just that.

 

Shannon Savick, DFL-Wells, is the state representative for House District 27A.