Sviggum: Some good came from session

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 31, 2003

Clad in casual blue button-up shirts, Rep. Dan Dorman, R-Albert Lea, and Speaker of the House Steve Sviggum, R-Kenyon, visited Albert Lea Friday in a post-session tour of the state.

&uot;This is probably the most difficult of all of the sessions I’ve been a part of,&uot; Sviggum said. &uot;Especially because of the deficit we had to deal with.&uot;

Thursday night, the House and Senate both passed budgets that brought an end to the marathon session.

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Sviggum said although they were working with a deficit, legislators were able to do some good things.

He said they were able to help group homes for the developmentally disabled and that the state was able to increase grant money for college students.

He also mentioned changes in the welfare system, the introduction of JOBZ tax-free zones, and the repeal of the Profile of Learning as big steps for the state.

&uot;You always have regrets,&uot; Sviggum said. &uot;But my overall feeling is that we did the best we could do for Minnesotans by solving a $4.5 billion deficit.&uot;

Dorman disagreed.

&uot;I think the speaker and I agree to disagree on this,&uot; he said. &uot;He’s got a job to represent the caucus. I have a job to represent the needs of my constituents.&uot;

Dorman had offered an alternative plan to the one that passed the House. One of his proposals would have allowed slot machines at Canterbury Park racetrack to increase state revenue. He had also earlier proposed a bill that would change transports levy funds and property tax aid reimbursements so that suburbs who receive them would get cuts and more local-government aid, which flows to rural areas, would be spared. Dorman had felt the bill wold spread the pain more evenly throughout the state.

Sviggum said that next year, if the economy swings back, his first priority will be funding for education.

&uot;Give me a good November forecast and I’ll take a look at education,&uot; he said.