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Capitol Update 8 - 2013

Capitol Update 8 - 2013

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Published by Terri Bonoff
We had a good week in St. Paul, with the February forecast news being the highlight.
We had a good week in St. Paul, with the February forecast news being the highlight.

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Published by: Terri Bonoff on Mar 01, 2013
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Capitol Update #8 
March 1, 2013
We had a good week in St. Paul, with the February forecast newsbeing the highlight (video). Tuesday, a Joint Senate and House HigherEducation committee met to pass on recommendations for the Board of Regents. Wednesday, Representative John Benson and I hosted a townhall in Minnetonka. Thanks to all who came and shared their thoughts.
February Forecast:
MinnesotaManagement and Budget 
released their annual FebruaryForecast. This thoroughcalculation of Minnesota’seconomic activity revealed aprojected budget deficit of $627 million dollars, downfrom $1.1 billion that had beenprojected just this past November. This is news to becelebrated; business hasimproved in Minnesota, andunlike your local weatherman, this forecast is likely to be accurate.Nearly $290 million will go towards paying back our schools leavingonly $250 million remaining of the aid shift. With this payment, we are
For all February Forecast documents, visit:http://www.mmb.state.mn.us/forecast-documents-feb13
back to an 85/15 payment schedule, very close to the required 90/10.This good news leaves the question, “now what?” The Governorwill have the opportunity to propose a supplemental budget. We’ll hearhow he addresses this information and what changes he will propose tohis earlier budget. This positive news allows us to take a fresh look at our approach to this year’s budget. We do not need to have a strategy toplug a hole; rather, we can lay the groundwork for future growth andeconomic stability. We can use this as an opportunity to enact significant tax reform that will facilitate economic vitality in Minnesotafor years to come.In this week’s Capitol Update survey (see bottom), I ask youropinion on a possible approach.the Higher Education and WorkforceDevelopment Committee. Follow the work of theCommittee on Twitter@HiEdWorkforce.
Board of Regents Selection:
As is custom, Tuesday night a joint hearing of the Senate andHouse Higher Education committees was held to give recommendationsfor the Board of Regents candidates. My counterpart in the House,
Representative Gene Pelowski Jr.
, and I co-chaired this hearing, whichturned out to be a greater challenge than anticipated. This was evident from the outset. The first group of candidates that came before the joint committee was vying for the spot representing the 5
CongressionalDistrict. It is customary for the joint committee to accept therecommendation of the 5
district members, who had met the previousweek and selected Peggy Lucas; there was not consensus regarding thischoice. For much of the time there was a tie between Dennis Nguyenand Peggy Lucas. There was debate among the committee members; infact, it took five rounds of roll call votes before we finally put forth Ms.Lucas. In addition to Peggy Lucas, the joint committee recommendedAbdul Omari for the student Regent position, as well as Dean Johnsonand Linda Cohen for the two at-large positions, all extremely qualifiedcandidates as were all the candidates put forward by the RegentsCouncil Advisory Committee. The next step in this winding process is forthe full House and Senate bodies to meet and officially select thecandidates who will join the Board of Regents, the governing board forthe University of Minnesota. This meeting will be held next Wednesday,March 6
. I will let you know how it turns out in next week’s CapitolUpdate. If it goes anything like our joint hearing, expect some surprises.
Town Hall:
Wednesday night concluded the first round of Town Hall meetingsthat I participated in for 2013. I was joined by Representative JohnBenson as we provided updates from St. Paul and addressed commentsand concerns from the near 50 attendees. Thank you to all who came.The conversation ranged from gun control to invasive species, and whilethere may have been differences of opinion (sometimes extremeopposite viewpoints), I appreciate the respectful tone that prevailed.Even though we didn’t agree on everything, I noticed many commonthemes from both town hall gatherings. Chief among these themes wasthe opposition to Governor Dayton’s proposed business-to-business tax.I heard from many business owners and service industry professionals

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