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Putting Minnesota’s Kids on the Path to Success

Posted on April 23, 2013 at 10:00 AM
Categories: Budget, Education

Blog-Rally_for_MN-future Minnesotans came out to the "Pep Rally for Minnesota's Future."

This weekend, Governor Dayton joined House Speaker Paul Thissen, House Majority Leader Erin Murphy and education advocates to rally for Minnesota’s future. The cafeteria at St. Paul Central High Schools was filled with Minnesotans who came out to show their support for investing in education at all levels.

Jason Bolt, a father of five daughters, spoke about the importance of providing funding for All Day Kindergarten. His youngest daughter is currently in all-day Kindergarten, his oldest a freshman in college. He sees providing funding for all-day Kindergarten as a way to close the achievement gap, noting that he can see a night and day difference between his two youngest daughters who have benefited from all-day Kindergarten to his oldest daughters who only attended half-day Kindergarten.

“I believe that every single child in Minnesota deserves the right to go to Kindergarten all day to get that educational experience that they need.” Said Bolt, adding that middle class parents should not have to pay $3,500-$4,000 a year to have their kids go to school.


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Governor Dayton to hold town hall meetings in Moorhead, St. Cloud

Posted on March 21, 2013 at 4:13 PM
Categories: Education, Budget

blog_duluth_mtg.jpg

Last night in Duluth, nearly 200 Minnesotans gathered at a town hall meeting hosted by Governor Mark Dayton. It was the first in a series of the Governor’s ‘Meetings with Mark’ – an effort to engage Minnesotans in personal conversations about his proposed investments in education, job creation, and improving the lives of middle-class families. Two more Meetings with Mark have been scheduled for next week in Moorhead and St. Cloud at the following times and locations:


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Governor Dayton Hits the Road to Make the Case for Budget for Better Minnesota

Posted on March 18, 2013 at 10:31 AM
Categories: Budget, Greater Minnesota


ST. PAUL, MN – Governor Dayton is bringing his proposed ‘Budget for a Better Minnesota’ to the people of Minnesota. In an effort to engage Minnesotans in personal conversations about his proposed investments in education, job creation, and improving the lives of middle-class families, the governor will be hosting ‘Meetings with Mark’ in communities around the state, starting with a town hall meeting in Duluth on Wednesday, March 20th, at the Public Safety Building, 2030 North Arlington Avenue.

‘Meetings with Mark’ will give Minnesotans the opportunity to weigh-in on the state’s ongoing budget conversation – offering their ideas, questions, and concerns about the state’s education system, our economy, and our shared future. Governor Dayton welcomes all viewpoints and invites all Minnesotans to join him in conversation about the budget challenges facing our state and the investments we need to make in order to build a Better Minnesota. All ‘Meetings with Mark’ are free and open to the public and press.

Last week, Governor Dayton provided the details of his Budget for a Better Minnesota, delivering a fair and balanced budget that will responsibly resolve the state’s deficit and make crucial investments in Minnesota’s future. The Governor’s proposal focuses on improving the lives of Minnesotans by making major investments in education, job creation, and a stronger middle class. Those investments include $640 million in new funding for education, $86.5 million for job creation and economic development, and $120 million in aid to local governments that will help provide property tax relief to Minnesota homeowners, renters, and businesses.

Additional information about future ‘Meetings with Mark’ will be provided in the coming days. More information about the governor’s Budget for a Better Minnesota is available online at http://mn.gov/governor/budget. You can also follow the conversation on Twitter at #BetterMN.

WHO: Governor Mark Dayton

WHAT: ‘Meeting with Mark’ to discuss the state budget

WHEN: Wednesday, March 20 6:00pm

WHERE: Duluth Public Safety Building, 2030 North Arlington Avenue, Duluth, MN 55811


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A Fair and Responsible Budget that Invests in the Middle Class

Posted on March 14, 2013 at 11:00 AM
Categories: Budget, Jobs, Education

Governor Dayton Budget Proposal

A Fair and Responsible Budget that Invests in the Middle Class

Today, Governor Dayton released a revised budget plan today that responsibly resolves the state’s budget deficit and makes crucial investments in Minnesota’s future. The Governor’s proposal focuses on improving the lives of Minnesotans by making major investments in education, job creation, and a stronger middle class.

First, Governor Dayton’s budget makes $640 million of long-overdue investments in education. The Governor’s budget would provide access to high-quality early education for 10,000 young children, fund all-day Kindergarten for 46,000 kids, and increase school funding for every district in the state. His budget would also deliver the largest increase in direct student aid in 25 years, along with needed investments in the MnSCU system and the University of Minnesota to train our workforce for the jobs of the future.

The Governor’s budget also makes needed investments in job creation. Minnesotans need a strong economy we can depend on for good jobs, living wages, and a strong middle class. That is why Governor Dayton’s budget invests $86.5 million in proven economic development initiatives that will create thousands of jobs and leverage nearly $1.5 billion in additional private investment in Minnesota’s economy.

Governor Dayton’s budget plan would also provide property tax relief to Minnesota families and businesses. His budget would increase funding for the renter’s credit, fully-fund the homeowner’s property tax refund program, and increase aid to local governments by $120 million.

These new investments are made possible by asking the wealthiest 2 percent of Minnesotans to pay their fair share in taxes and closing unfair corporate tax loopholes enjoyed by just a handful of corporations.

According to the Department of Revenue’s most recent tax incidence study, most low- and middle-income earners in Minnesota pay about 20 percent more as a share of their income in state and local taxes than the wealthiest Minnesotans.  In order to address that disparity, honestly resolve our state’s budget deficit, and make long overdue investments in education and job creation, the governor’s budget asks the wealthiest 2 percent of Minnesotans to pay their fair share of income taxes.

Finally, the governor’s budget delivers on his commitment to a Better Government for a Better Minnesota – ensuring Minnesotans get better public services for a better price. His budget delivers $5.1 billion in cost savings and reductions over four years through reform and responsible fiscal management.

For more information about Governor Dayton’s Budget for a Better Minnesota, visit http://mn.gov/governor/budget and follow the conversation on Twitter at #BetterMN.

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A letter from Commissioner Lucinda Jesson: Why MinnesotaCare Matters

Posted on March 07, 2013 at 10:48 AM
Categories: Health, Budget

Commissioner JessonAlmost 100 years ago, a nun of the Order of St. Benedict began selling tickets to lumberjacks in the camps of northern Minnesota. Those tickets entitled the holder to full care for a year at any of the five St. Mary’s hospitals. This person of faith began one of our country’s first hospital prepayment plans, and, together with the Mayo brothers, launched Minnesota on the path to become the nation’s most innovative state for health care.

In more recent history, Democrats and Republicans worked together to start MinnesotaCare, which made health insurance available to low-income, working families. MinnesotaCare’s bipartisan creation became a model for other states, and ultimately for the federal government.

Now, 20 years after its creation, MinnesotaCare needs improvement, to make it more streamlined and affordable. But, unexpectedly, we first must ensure that this nation-leading program continues to exist.

Federal health reform means that changes are coming. The new federal model expands Medicaid for the very poor. But absent action taken at the state level to provide for something better, people making more than $15,000 a year will now largely be given a federal subsidy to buy coverage through a health insurance exchange. This would include many people currently on MinnesotaCare.

For most states, this new model is a major step forward. And while the Medicaid expansion will bring progress for Minnesota, too, a wholesale switch from MinnesotaCare would be a step backward for vulnerable, low-income people. MinnesotaCare provides more-affordable care than the high-deductible health plans that many working families would access through the federal model.

That is why we again have Minnesota Republicans and Democrats coming together to fight for the future of MinnesotaCare. Last week, U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken joined U.S. Reps. Betty McCollum, Keith Ellison, Tim Walz, Collin Peterson, Erik Paulsen, Rick Nolan and John Kline to send a letter to the Obama administration requesting federal partnership to preserve and improve MinnesotaCare. A similar bipartisan letter from state legislative leadership was issued in late January.



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Skip’s Story: Why Special Education Matters

Posted on March 06, 2013 at 9:11 AM
Categories: Education, Budget

Skip's StorySkip Bruber is young man with multiple disabilities, including cerebral palsy and visual impairments. Growing up, Skip received special education services from St. Paul Public Schools starting when he was two years old and continued receiving support throughout his high school career.

The special education interventions and support services Skip received allowed him to graduate from high school. He went on to attend Augsburg College, where he recently received his bachelor’s degree and graduated with a 3.0 GPA.

Skip is currently receiving additional job skills training in order to find a position in which he can put his education and advanced skills in writing to use. According to his mother Elizabeth, Skip’s access to special education services means that rather than being defined by his disabilities, he faces a bright future that is allowing him to meet his full potential and live a rich and productive life.

Helping Thousands of Minnesotans Like Skip

Every child deserves the opportunities and support to succeed in school, regardless of his or her abilities. That is why Governor Dayton’s budget would invest $125 million in special education, making significant reforms and taking important steps to fix the state’s broken special education funding formula.

Increased funding proposed in the governor’s budget plan would provide an additional $180 per student, per year, for every school district in the state. This 13%increase in special education funding would be directed to the districts that need help the most. This new investment would finally begin to address the state’s long-underfunded commitment to special education.

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Minnesota Investment Fund: Why Supporting Job Creation Matters

Posted on March 05, 2013 at 1:32 PM
Categories: Jobs, Budget

Governor Dayton joins Gerdau employees and officials at a groundbreaking ceremony

In 2012, Gerdau Long Steel broke ground on a renovation project at its St. Paul plant. The renovation, made possible in part by a $249,000 MIF loan, will create a state-of-the-art facility for casting steel. This project helped create 40 new jobs.

The Minnesota Investment Fund (MIF) helps Minnesota compete with other states and nations for new high-tech and manufacturing jobs. MIF helps encourage local firms that have options outside the state to expand here, and provides incentives for firms outside Minnesota to locate in our state. Over the last 8 years alone, the program has funded 53 projects, creating thousands of jobs and leveraging $587 million in private economic development.

Governor Dayton has proposed investing $30 million in MIF to enhance Minnesota’s competitiveness, create thousands of new jobs, and leverage an estimated $990 million in private investment in Minnesota’s economy.

Polaris Industries in Wyoming, MN
MIF Loan: $400,000 Est. New Jobs: 115-350

Polaris Industries, the Medina-based maker of all-terrain vehicles, snowmobiles, and motorcycles, broke ground in September 2012 on a 144,000 square foot expansion project at its research and development facility in Wyoming, Minnesota. The project, made possible in part by a $400,000 MIF loan, will double the size of the facility and create capacity for up to 350 more jobs. Polaris has committed to creating 115 permanent jobs within two years.

Gerdau Long Steel in St. Paul, MN
MIF Loan: $249,000 Est. New Jobs: 40

In 2012, Gerdau Long Steel broke ground on a renovation project at its St. Paul plant. The renovation, made possible in part
by a $249,000 MIF loan, will create a state-of-the-art facility for casting steel. This project helped create 40 new jobs.


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Mayor Tabke's Story: Why Transit Matters

Posted on March 04, 2013 at 11:17 AM
Categories: Budget, Transportation, Economy

Shakopee Mayor TabkeGovernor Dayton understands that in order to achieve a world-class economy, we must prioritize investments in our metro area transit system.

That is why the governor’s budget includes a commitment to a multi-modal transit system that will give Minnesota a competitive edge for growing business and jobs, drawing new talent, and serving the transit needs of a growing and aging population. In support of Governor Dayton’s increased transit funding is Shakopee Mayor Brad Tabke.

Governor Dayton:

I write to express the support of the Shakopee City Council for your proposal to increase the sales tax for transit purposes by 1/4 cent in the seven-county Metropolitan Area. On Tuesday, February 19, the City Council and I voted to support this proposal. We share your belief that the development of a complete and competitive transit system in the Region is key to its long-term economic competitiveness and vitality. The development of a complete and multi-modal transit system in the Twin Cities Region will also be of great benefit to the Region’s workers and residents. The $200 million per year your proposal is expected to generate is essential to completing important rail, LRT, and BRT projects in the Region, as well as assuring that areas like Scott County can continue to expand local and express bus service that will help to best utilize the investments in regional roadways. In Shakopee, we have been committed to the beneficial expansion of transit options that serve our residents and businesses. Most recently, this has been expressed in the partnership between the cities of Shakopee and Prior Lake, and Scott County. This partnership led to the creation of the BlueXpress in July of 2007, a commuter service which has continued to experience among the greatest rates of growth of any regional bus service provider (9% increase in 2012). We look forward to working with you, your office, and the Legislature on the implementation of this important proposal.

Brad Tabke Mayor, City of Shakopee


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Infographic: Minnesota Investment Fund

Posted on March 01, 2013 at 12:28 PM
Categories: Budget, Jobs, Economy

Governor Dayton's budget calls for $30 million in ongoing funding for MIF to provide crucial incentives to companies expanding in or relocating operations to Minnesota. In the past 8 years MIF has used $7 million in public funds to stimulate $587 million in private development. Funded at Governor Dayton's proposed level, MIF would attract an estimated $990 million in private investment.

How MIF works


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Today in the Budget

Posted on February 26, 2013 at 12:08 PM
Categories: Transportation, Health, Budget

MN Mayors, Commissioners, and Metropolitan Council Chair Haigh

Today, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, and Metropolitan Council Chair Sue Haigh were joined by a group of mayors and county commissioners at a Capitol news conference urging legislators to support Governor Mark Dayton’s proposal to increase Minnesota’s investment in transit.
 
Joining Rybak, Coleman, and Haigh were Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin, Eagan Mayor Mike Maguire, West St. Paul Mayor John Zanmiller, Shakopee Mayor Brad Tabke, Savage Mayor Janet Williams, and Golden Valley Mayor Shep Harris. In their words, Governor Dayton’s transit plan: "would create a 21st century transit system in Minnesota, which is critical for job creation, economic prosperity and our ability to be globally competitive."
 
This afternoon, Office of Higher Education Director Larry Pogemiller will meet with college students in Winona to discuss student debt, and Governor Dayton’s plan to increase higher education funding – including $80 million in direct financial aid to students. The governor’s proposed investment in the Minnesota State Grant Program would help make college more affordable students like Rahel Theodros. Under the governor’s plan, Rahel would receive an additional $1,200 in direct student aid. More information about Rahel’s story is attached and below.
 
Later today, Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson will visit with hospital administrators and medical professionals in St. Cloud. Commissioner Jesson will discuss health care investments in Governor Dayton’s budget proposal, and other strategies to reform Minnesota’s health care system.
 
 
In the News
 
Winona Daily News
William Mann: Budget proposal helps make college possible for some
 
As the president of Saint Mary’s University, one of the three institutions of higher education that call Winona home, I am compelled to speak for our students and families and commend Gov. Mark Dayton for making quality, affordable college education a priority in his most recent budget proposal.
 
Particularly meaningful among the priorities he has laid out is a 25 percent increase in funding for the Minnesota State Grant program. The state grant is a need-based state award which offers low- and middle-class students at Minnesota colleges or universities an annually renewable grant for tuition, books or living expenses while attending college. The program benefits students attending both public and private institutions of higher education.
 
The proposed increase to the state grant would help even more low- and middle-class families pay for college. According to the state Minnesota Office of Higher Education, current grant recipients would see their grants increase by an average of $300 per year. And 5,000 additional students would become eligible to receive grants. Many of these newly eligible recipients come from middle-class families that earn $50,000 or more per year and are ineligible for the federal Pell Grant.


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