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Progress for Minnesota
For the past decade we have seen partisan gridlock at the State Capitol which has led to
irresponsible budgeting that protected the wealthiest few at the expense of the middle
class—and the only thing to show for it has been recurring budget defcits.
So when Minnesotans elected a DFL Governor, and DFL majorities in the House and
Senate, people asked what they could expect this legislative session. Our answer was
Over the past two years, Governor Dayton and DFL legislators have put middle-class
Minnesotans, students, and our seniors ahead of wealthy special interests. And now,
Minnesota has momentum:
3 Our economy is growing. More jobs are being created. New businesses are
opening and expanding. Unemployment is at a 6-year low. And we’ve recovered
all of the jobs lost during the recession.
3 Our state budget is balanced without the games or gimmicks of the past and
we have paid back our schools. We created a $1.2 billion surplus and have a
structurally balanced budget for the frst time in a decade.
3 Our historic education investments are paying of. We have funded all-day
kindergarten and frozen tuition for college students.
3 We cut taxes for middle-class Minnesotans. Property taxes are dropping
statewide for the frst time in a decade and the 2014 legislature cut taxes for more
than 2 million Minnesotans.
Minnesota has momentum, but there is more work to be done in the future.
The best way to build on our progress is to continue growing our economy from the
middle-out. That means continuing to fght for our families, students, workers, seniors
and our local communities instead of wealthy special interests and the gridlock politics
of the past.
Minnesota economy is growing and Minnesota has gained all of the jobs lost since the recession. The legislature
built on that progress with common sense action to grow our economy from the middle-out and throughout the
state: increase in the minimum wage, passing the Women’s Economic Security Act, broadband infrastructure,
proven economic development strategies for small businesses, and a strategic bonding bill that passed with
broad bipartisan support.
Making Hard Work Pay: We raised Minnesota’s minimum wage in stages to $9.50 for large business
and $7.75 for small businesses by August 2016. More than 350,000 Minnesotans will get a raise. No
one who works hard and puts in 40 hours a week should have to live in poverty.
Ensuring Women’s Economic Security: When you dig underneath the frst layer of economic
challenges facing Minnesotans, it’s clear that the people struggling to stay or step-in to the middle
class are disproportionately women. To address these issues, we enacted the Women’s Economic
Security Act, which aims to close the gender pay gap, strengthen workplace protections and
fexibility for pregnant mothers, and expand employment opportunities for women in high-wage,
high-demand professions. When women have equal opportunities to succeed, it means stronger
families, stronger communities, and a brighter economic future for our state.
Investing in Critical Infrastructure: Minnesota has a backlog of important infrastructure necessary
for our long-term economic growth. We passed a bipartisan statewide bonding bill that invests
in Minnesota’s infrastructure, including higher education, transportation, housing, economic
development, clean water and wastewater systems.
Growing a Greater Minnesota: While Minnesota’s economy has continued to grow, Greater
Minnesota has not shared in that recovery. We focused on makes critical investments to grow our
economy in Greater Minnesota, such as broadband infrastructure, economic development resources,
and farm-to-food shelf legislation.
Atracting and Retaining Businesses: By investing $30 million in the Minnesota Investment Fund,
we were able to provide more competitive loans that will bring new businesses to Minnesota, help
existing businesses expand, and create thousands of new jobs for Minnesotans.
Making Minnesota Globally Competitive: By making new investments in global trade, we will
fnally have the resources to help expand Minnesota exports and connect our state’s small businesses
with new trade partners in foreign markets—which will support thousands of jobs here in Minnesota.
Cuting Taxes for All Minnesota Employers: We cut unemployment insurance taxes by $346.5
million, saving Minnesota employers more money to invest in their businesses and our economy.
Plan for More Progress to Grow Our Economy:
Minnesota has recovered all of the jobs lost during the recession, but there is more we can do to
expand middle class economic prosperity and to create jobs. We have put a down-payment on
broadband infrastructure, but we should continue to look at further investments to help businesses
grow throughout Minnesota. And we should continue to build on the Women’s Economic Security
Act because equal pay for equal work is a principle worth fghting for in Minnesota.
STANDING UP FOR WORKERS AND
SMALL BUSINESSES TO GROW OUR ECONOMY
The 2013 legislature made historic investments in education for all of our learners. The legislature paid back the
debt owed to our schools, invested in all-day K, made the state’s frst commitment to early learning scholarships,
and froze tuition for college students. The 2014 legislature built on that progress with more resources for all
schools, an expansion of Pre-K learning, and reforms to reduce college loan debt.
New Funding for E-12 Education: Invested $525 million in Minnesota’s E-12 education system,
providing needed funding for schools to reduce class sizes and boost student achievement.
Paying Back Our Schools: The previous legislature borrowed $2.4 billion from our K-12 schools. To
make our schools whole again, our budget paid back the IOU in full.
All Day Kindergarten for Every Student: Every child will now have access to free, all-day
Kindergarten. This new measure will narrow our state’s achievement gap and help prepare every
child for success in school and life.
Early Childhood Scholarships: Thousands more young learners will gain access to high-quality early
learning in preschool and child care. This initiative will deliver a 16 to 1 return on investment, and
prepare our kids for success in school and life.
Tuition Relief for Minnesota Students: Recent budgets have slashed higher education funding, leaving
students to pick up the tab for skyrocketing tuition and burying families in debt. We invested $250 million
in higher education and directed those resources to tuition and debt relief for middle class students.
Plan for More Progress for Our Kids:
The legislature made huge strides in education this session, but there is more work ahead because
a world-class education is the ticket to a world-class economic future. We need to ensure all 3 and 4
year olds have access to quality early education and continue to address the problem of rising student
debt for our college students.
Over the past decade, middle class Minnesotans have been squeezed in order to protect the wealthiest
Minnesotans. This legislature reverses that trend and we cut taxes—for nearly two million Minnesotans
through tax conformity and $178 million in direct property tax relief. Now, Minnesotans will pay less in
property taxes for the frst time in a decade. And we paid for our stable budget by asking the wealthiest 2% of
Minnesotans big corporations to pay their fair share.
Tax Cuts for Middle-Class Minnesotans: In the 2014 Session, we enacted tax cuts for more than
two-million middle-class Minnesotans—married couples, adopting families, working families,
STANDING UP FOR OUR KIDS TO
BUILD THE WORLD’S BEST WORKFORCE
STANDING UP FOR FAIRER TAXES
FOR MIDDLE-CLASS MINNESOTANS
homeowners, college students and parents through federal conformity.
First property tax reduction in a decade: Property taxes have more than doubled over the last
decade, with increases falling hardest on the middle class, seniors, and small businesses. The
legislature delivered $178 million in direct relief to homeowners, renters, and farmers. Thanks to that
direct relief, property taxes are going down statewide for the frst time in a decade—homeowners in
particular are seeing a $161 million decrease in property taxes (after direct relief).
Asking the Richest 2% to Pay Their Fair Share: For many years, the wealthiest 2% of Minnesotans
(who earn an average $617,000 per year) and corporations have seen no tax increases, while our
budget defcits were balanced on the backs of property tax payers, schools and our seniors. We
changed course toward priorities in-line with the views of Minnesotans. We asked the wealthiest
Minnesotans to pay just 2% more in income taxes and we closed corporate tax loopholes in order
to balance our defcit and make needed investments in education, job creation and middle-class
property tax relief.
Closing Corporate Tax Loopholes: For years, corporate tax loopholes have given some large
businesses an unfair advantage, sheltering them from paying some state taxes. We closed those
loopholes, providing over $400 million to invest in beter education and job creation.
Making caregivers a priority: Republicans made the wrong choice in 2011 when they cut programs
and workers who care for our seniors and disabled Minnesotans. We took a diferent approach,
passing a 5 percent increase for both nursing homes and home-and-community based long-term
care providers. With years of cuts behind us, we’re fnally moving in the right direction and making
progress when it comes to funding for our nursing home and long-term care providers.
Propane Assistance: In the frst week of session, we increased assistance to Minnesotans struggling to
pay their heating costs during our terribly-cold winter.
Innovative mental health for children and adults: Access to quality mental health care can be some
of the most benefcial and cost-saving care that we can provide for children and adults in need. We
are funding cost-preventive mental health initiatives for adults and children, such as expanding
school-based mental health services and mental health crisis response services.
Making health care more afordable for families: Despite MNsure’s technical problems, more than
200,000 Minnesotans have obtained high-quality, afordable health insurance, many of them for the
frst time in their lives—and at the lowest rates in the nation. We’re not going back to the days of
denials for pre-existing conditions or having your coverage dropped when you get sick.
Plan for More Progress for Our Seniors:
We should seek to make improvement to MNsure, not repeal it as Republicans have pledged to do.
We should not allow politicians to take away health care from Minnesotans or deny coverage to
Minnesotans with pre-existing conditions.
STANDING UP FOR SENIORS AND
MINNESOTA’S MOST VULNERABLE
A decade of deep budget cuts and dishonest shifts and gimmicks have caused Minnesota to lurch from one
budget crisis to the next, limiting our ability to adequately fund education and crucial priorities. We put an
end to roller-coaster defcits with a fair and balanced budget that produced a strong $1.2 billion budget surplus
and delivered key investments for a stronger middle class. For the frst time in a decade, Minnesota’s budget is
structurally balanced into the future.
Paid Back Our Schools: The previous legislature borrowed over $2 billion for our schools. This
legislature put in place a budget that paid all of that debt back to schools.
Turning a Defcit into a Surplus: Due to the growing economy and honest budget, this legislature
turned a budget defcit into a $1.2 billion surplus.
Puting middle-class frst with budget surplus: The legislature put middle-class Minnesotans frst
with the $1.2 billion surplus, providing $550 million in tax cuts to more than 2 million Minnesotans.
Keeping our budget sturdy into the future: The legislature added $150 million to our budget reserve
and has a $600 million expected surplus into the future. This is the frst structurally balanced budget
in more than a decade.
STANDING UP FOR A FAIR BUDGET THAT
PUTS MIDDLE-CLASS MINNESOTA FIRST
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