Today, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman submitted a commentary to the Star Tribune, strongly supporting Governor Dayton’s proposed investments in aid to local governments and $1.4 billion in direct property tax relief to homeowners. Mayor Coleman’s commentary is provided in the attached document. The governor has proposed a $120 million increase in aid to cities and counties, and a $500 property tax rebate for every Minnesota homeowner. More details on the governor’s property tax relief plan are detailed below.
At a news conference this morning, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis, Richfield Mayor Debbie Goettel, Circle Pines Mayor Dave Bartholomay, and other Minnesota mayors urged legislators to pass Governor Dayton’s plan to stabilize local government aid and deliver property tax relief to Minnesota homeowners and businesses.
Over the last ten years, property taxes have gone up 86 percent, placing a huge burden on the middle class. The governor’s plan would deliver $1.4 billion in direct property tax relief to homeowners, increase aid to cities and counties by $120 million over the next two years. Businesses would also benefit from Governor Dayton’s plan. His budget freezes state property taxes for all businesses and cuts state business property taxes by 3.6 percent, or over $120 million through 2017. More information about these measures is outlined below.
Today in Duluth, DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben and Duluth Mayor Don Ness held a news conference to discuss Governor Dayton’s proposed $30 million investment in the Minnesota Investment Fund (MIF).
MIF is one of the state’s key job creation tools. It helps encourage Minnesota firms that have options outside of the state to expand here, and provides incentives for businesses outside Minnesota to locate in our state. In recent years, MIF sustained an 86 percent budget cut which severely limited its impact in creating and retaining Minnesota jobs. The governor’s proposed reinvestment in the program will help create tens of thousands of jobs and leverage an estimated $990 million in private investment. More information about MIF is included below.
For additional details about the Governor’s budget, visit http://mn.gov/governor/budget/toolkit and follow the conversation on Twitter at #BetterMN.
In the News
Wadena Pioneer Journal
Minnesota expands health care for poor
Another 35,000 poor Minnesotans will get health care under a bill Gov. Mark Dayton signed Tuesday. The bill expands Medical Assistance, the state’s Medicaid program. The federally funded expansion would save $129 million in the next two-year budget, supporters say.
“Minnesotans who will be covered by this legislation desperately need better-quality health care,” Dayton said. “Instead of taking their health crises to emergency rooms, thousands of low-income children, families and individuals will be able to see doctors sooner and live healthier lives.”
State Rep. Tom Huntley added: “This legislation allows us to cover more Minnesotans with health insurance and at the same time get more bang for our buck for Minnesota taxpayers.”
The senior citizen advocacy group AARP praised the action. “We represent thousands of consumers who have either gone without health care for years because they didn’t qualify for coverage or have lost their health insurance during the economic downturn; they will benefit greatly from this expansion,” AARP Minnesota Director Michele Kimball said.
Nearly 400,000 veterans call Minnesota home. Their commitment to service and their personal sacrifices have earned them the right to education, opportunities, and benefits.
Governor Dayton’s budget seeks to underscore the service these men and women have given to our country and our state through GI Bill expansion, increased veteran services funding to secure benefits, Honor Guard preservation, and Health Care IT infrastructure improvements to raise the quality of care for our veterans to the highest degree.
The men and women of our armed forced have invaluable skills, skills the state of Minnesota looks to preserve and foster. The funds allocated in the budget invest in our veterans, help create a better Minnesota, and help veterans succeed.
» $1 Million to Expand the Minnesota GI Bill. The Governor’s budget expands the Minnesota GI Bill program to all generations of veterans, not just those serving on or after 9/11. This expansion will ensure all Minnesota veterans have access to the education and training they need to get good paying jobs.
» $1 Million for County Veteran Service Office Grants. The Governor’s budget provides increased grant funding for County Veteran Services Offices, which help veterans and their families obtain benefits and services earned through military service.
» $5 Million for Health Care IT Improvement. The Governor’s budget invests in IT infrastructure upgrades at the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs. This investment will allow the department to achieve industry standards in delivering high-quality health care to Minnesota veterans and ensure their safety.
» $400,000 for Honor Guards. The Governor’s budget includes $400,000 in permanent funding for the Honor Guard Program, which supports veterans and their families by providing military burial honors earned through their service and sacrifice. Governor Dayton is committed to ensuring all veterans who request funeral honors receive them.
» $200,000 for the Gold Star Program. The Governor’s budget includes $200,000 in permanent funding for the Gold Star Program, which supports the families of those service members who lost their lives in combat as they heal from their loss.
» $425,000 for new State Veterans Cemetery in Fillmore County. The Governor’s budget includes start-up and ongoing funding for a new state veterans cemetery in Fillmore County, opening in 2015. This State Veterans Cemetery will provide burial space for nearly 40,000 veterans. Governor Dayton believes every veteran deserves a dignified final resting place.
Two years into his administration, Governor Mark Dayton remains committed to building a better Government for a Better Minnesota.
One important aspect of continuing this progress is improving the value, efficiency, and accountability of state government. Building a better government for Minnesota requires new thinking, and changing the way the state conducts its business. Governor Dayton is focused on using every tax dollar wisely to deliver valuable services that improve the lives of Minnesotans. This includes using new technology to improve efficiency and reduce waste, controlling cost increases, and eliminating programs that don’t work.
The Autism Help App assists individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and other disabilities to communicate and regulate in emergency situations.
Two years into his administration, Governor Mark Dayton is making important progress toward building a Better Minnesota by working to provide sustainable options to safely move people, goods, services, and information.
The success of Minnesota’s economy depends on a transportation system that safely and efficiently gets people and goods where they need to be. Our roadways, bridges, and rail systems are continuously improving thanks to Governor Dayton’s strong leadership. In addition to strong physical infrastructure, Minnesota citizens and businesses need affordable access to the high-tech infrastructure that drives our global economy, including high-speed internet in every corner of our state.
The Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities (DDC) at the Minnesota Department of Administration has developed a free award winning mobile device application that helps individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) communicate in emergency situations.
Using a proven 5-point, color-coded scale, the Application can be customized for an individual or family. In an emergency situation, a parent’s calming voice can explain what to do. For example, in the case of a fire, the App shows a picture of a safe meeting place and the parent’s voice instructs the individual to go there. The 5-Point Scale was created by Kari Dunn Buron and Mitzi Beth Curtis of Hamline University, which is a nationally known and accepted system, widely used in public schools.
This mobile tool is designed to be simple and user friendly. To date, more than 16,300 people have downloaded this App.
Two years into his administration, Governor Mark Dayton is continuing his efforts to build a Better Minnesota. The Dayton Administration is taking note of what has been accomplished so far while still considering the work that is yet to be done.
One important component of building a Better Minnesota is supporting a clean and healthy environment. Minnesota is the Land of 10,000 lakes and a state where people care about the health and integrity of our natural resources. A healthy environment is central to the quality of life that all Minnesotans enjoy, and a crucial component in the success of our economy. Governor Dayton is committed to protecting and improving our natural resources, and leaving a legacy of clean water, cleaner air, and better parks and trails for future generations of Minnesotans.
For years, the Minnesota River has been considered one of the most polluted rivers in the state. But collaborative efforts across agencies have made important progress toward improving the health of the river.
Recent testing from the Pollution Control Agency showed marked improvements in dissolved oxygen, phosphorus, and chlorophyll levels. That means conditions have improved to support the health of fish and aquatic species populations in the river.
More work must be done to reduce sediment, bacteria, nutrients, and other contaminants in the river. But the work of over 40 wastewater treatment plants and other clean up efforts have put the Minnesota River on the path to recovery.
On February 1, Governor Mark Dayton and Department of Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius, visited the North St. Paul-Maplewood Oakdale ISD 622, to celebrate February as “I Love to Read” Month. The Governor and Commissioner, along with Read It, enjoyed story time with the Kindergartners and third graders.
Two years into his administration, Governor Mark Dayton is making important progress toward building a Better Minnesota. Measuring that progress by the improvements Minnesotans have seen in their lives, families, communities, and economy, the Dayton Administration is taking inventory of what has been accomplished thus far, and considering the work that still remains to be done.
One crucial measure of that progress is ensuring Minnesotans have the education and skills they need to achieve their goals. Building a better Minnesota starts with giving our children and workforce a world-class education, and the skills they need to succeed in a global economy.
That is why Governor Dayton is strongly committed to providing more funding for K-12 classrooms and early childhood education, increasing per pupil spending, and making college more affordable for Minnesotans. Governor Dayton is also focused on helping working Minnesotans access the education and workforce training they need to compete and succeed in today’s economy.
In 2011, Governor Dayton invested more than $55 million in early literacy. The Department of Education worked with every school district to develop local literacy plans that outline how curriculum, instruction, and assessments will be used to improve third grade reading scores.
Early results of this key investment are promising: In 2012, student in grades 3-8 made substantial overall gains in reading, with notable progress among American Indian and Hispanic students.
Employment Resource Team from the National Guard, with the help of the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), traveled to Kuwait in March 2012 in order to provide workshops and job search assistance for 1,080 soldiers from 10 different states
Two years into his administration, Governor Dayton continues to make crucial progress towards building a Better Minnesota. Measuring that progress by the improvements Minnesotans have seen in their lives, families, communities, and economy, the Dayton Administration is taking inventory of what has been accomplished over the last two years and considering the work ahead.
One important measure of that progress is improving the condition of Minnesota’s economy. Governor Dayton is focused on getting Minnesotans back to work by creating opportunities for all Minnesotans. A successful economy requires strong business growth, a skilled workforce and employment opportunities for everyone.
Helping Minnesota veterans find employment opportunity has been a high priority for Governor Dayton. So when an employment survey of Minnesota National Guard soldiers serving in Kuwait showed that over 900 soldiers (28%) would not have a job when they returned from combat, the Dayton Administration took action.
Following the survey, an Employment Resource Team from the National Guard, with the help of the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), traveled to Kuwait in March 2012 in order to provide workshops and job search assistance for 1,080 soldiers from 10 different states. Those efforts delivered results for hundreds of military families who may otherwise have faced the prolonged challenges of unemployment.
Of the 2,700 Minnesota soldiers returning from Kuwait last spring, only 78 are still unemployed – a 90% improvement in only four months.