Update from Rep Denny McNamara (57B)

Representative Denny McNamara (R) District 57B

Representative Denny McNamara (R) District 57B

By Rep. Denny McNamara, 3/1/2012

Hello from St. Paul,

There’s great news to report from the State Capitol this week, as state economists project a $323 million budget surplus for the State of Minnesota. This is on top of the $876 million budget surplus that was projected at the end of November, meaning we have seen Minnesota’s economy improve by roughly $1.2 billion since last summer.

This is proof once again that if you spend sensibly and don’t raise taxes, the economy can and will improve.

Apparently, Minnesota employers have taken notice that lawmakers will not be raiding their wallets in order to continue the growth of state government. Our reform policies have helped unemployment numbers drop from 7.5 percent to 5.7 percent in one year, and our state unemployment rates are well below the national average, showing we are headed in the right direction. Plus revenue collections are up, as income and sales tax collection projections have jumped $71 million in just three months.

Facing a $5.1 billion deficit last year, we could have taken the easy route and accepted Governor Dayton’s tax increase proposal that even the Department of Revenue noted would raise taxes on Minnesotans of every income level. Instead we reduced spending , reformed government, and refused state tax hikes – and that $5.1 billion deficit has now become a $1.2 billion surplus in just one year.

Everyone should understand the latest $323 million surplus is not available to be spent. State law requires the first $5 million of it to be sent to budget reserves (bringing budget reserves back up to $653 million) and the remaining $318 million will be used to pay back the school shifts that have been enacted by the current and previous legislative majorities and governors.

We still have much more work to accomplish before we can declare Minnesota’s economy fully healed. But I believe a $6 billion turnaround in one year is a good start, and hopefully lawmakers can build on this positive economic momentum in the weeks ahead.

In other news, many of you heard about Minnesota’s new legislative districts. In late February, a special panel of five state judges released its redistricting plan for the Minnesota Legislature, which was necessary due to population changes from the 2010 census. For many of us who live in the current House District 57B, we will become part of the new House District 54B beginning in January.

Personally, I’m glad this new House district stayed mostly the same. There is no effect at all for those of you living in Dakota County, but there were some smaller changes in Washington County and in Cottage Grove, plus the new district also drops St. Mary’s Point.

As for other happenings at the Capitol, as Chair of the House Environment Committee, I have been very busy working on issues that will improve our land, air, and waterways. One of the hottest topics of discussion centers on stopping the spread of invasive carp species. We are currently looking at placing a deterrent at Lock and Dam #2 on the Mississippi River as a means of protection. I’ll have more information on this as things move forward in the coming weeks.

It’s really becoming busy these days at the Capitol. We’re down to the last couple months of session so things are beginning to move quickly. Please email or call with any thoughts or concerns you have on any legislative issue. I can be reached at rep.denny.mcnamara@house.mn, or by phone at 437-2597.

Keep in touch,

Representative Denny McNamara
Dist. 57B
Chair of the Committee on Environment, Energy
and Natural Resources Policy and Finance
375 State Office Building
100 Rev.Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St. Paul, Mn. 55155-1298
Phone (651) 296-3135

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