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      Today in the Budget

      Posted on February 14, 2013 at 11:36 AM

      Today in the News

      Click to enlarge Minnesota Daily 
      Higher education grants may get boost

      Higher education backers are excited that the governor’s budget proposal could substantially increase state grant funding for lower-income students. Gov. Mark Dayton’s biennial budget proposal provides $80 million for the Minnesota State Grant Program — a need-based financial assistance program used by a quarter of undergraduates at the University of Minnesota.

      The proposed increase in student aid is the largest in more than 25 years, said Larry Pogemiller, director of the Minnesota Office of Higher Education.

      “We’ve slipped behind in higher education, and now we are in a catch-up mode,” said Rep. Lyndon Carlson Sr., DFL-Crystal. “The governor is trying to get us there as rapidly as he can with his proposal.”

      Minnesota has the third-highest postgraduate student debt rate in the country, according to the Institute for College Access and Success.

       WJON – AM1240 
      Gov. Dayton Addresses Issues at CSB

      Governor Mark Dayton defended his budget proposal at a public forum last night. The governor said we have, “a rare opportunity to lead,” in front of a large crowd at the College of St. Benedict.

      Dayton covered a range of issues that include taxes, marriage equality and gun control. The governor called for an increase in taxes on wealthy Minnesotans to provide new revenue for the state. He said, “If people are doing better, they should want to pay more taxes.” Dayton says everyone needs to chip in and pay their fair share.

      The governor also made a pitch for an increase in higher education spending. He said Minnesota needs to, “put money where our values are.”

      Austin Daily Herald 
      Minimum wage hike gathers steam

      Gov. Mark Dayton, House Speaker Paul Thissen and Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk all say it is time for Minnesota to lift the minimum wage, which now stands at $6.15 — one of only four states with a wage less than the federal minimum.

      “We want work to pay,” Dayton said Wednesday. “It’s long overdue.”

      House Rep. Melissa Hortman, DFL-Brooklyn Park, and Sen. David Tomassoni, DFL-Chisholm, on Wednesday introduced a bill that would raise the state’s minimum wage to $9.50 an hour and index it to inflation. That bill has drawn the support of House Majority Leader Erin Murphy, DFL-St. Paul, and a host of other DFL committee chairs, though critics say the bill could threaten a still-fragile economic recovery by making workers unaffordable.

      Hortman said the increase is needed. “The more you raise the minimum wage, the more people you raise out of poverty,” she said. Supporters say that as many as half a million Minnesota jobs pay less than $9.50 an hour.

      About 93,000 Minnesotans, or about 6 percent of the state’s hourly workers, now earn at or below the current minimum wage according to a 2012 report from the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry. Those making the minimum or less tend to be young, female and from outside the state’s biggest cities, the report said.

      Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP)  

      Today, Governor Dayton will be delivering Valentine’s greetings to kids and visiting with families at Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis. The governor’s budget would help improve the lives and health of children by investing $40 million in the Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP). This investment would improve the health of Minnesotans of all ages, reduce youth tobacco use and childhood obesity, and drive down health care costs for all Minnesotans. More information about the governor’s proposed investment in the SHIP initiative is outlined below.

      Obesity and tobacco use cost our state nearly $6 billion every year. Governor Dayton’s budget invests $40 million in the Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) to reduce health care costs, fight chronic disease, and help people live healthier lives.

      Background: The Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP)
      The SHIP program partners with communities, businesses, schools, and health care providers to reduce key risk factors that contribute to chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. These efforts help improve people’s health and reduce health care costs in Minnesota.

      Investing $40 Million in Health Improvement
      Governor Dayton’s budget invests $40 million SHIP, helping communities, workplaces, and schools fight obesity and chronic disease. Making healthy choices easier for people will help address the key risk factors of poor nutrition, physical inactivity, and tobacco use and exposure – improving the overall health of Minnesotans and reducing health care costs. [Read more about SHIP]

      A Major Investment in Education 

      Thi morning, state Sen. Chuck Wiger and state Rep. Paul Marquart introduced legislation that would implement Governor Dayton’s proposed $344 million of new investments in education. The governor put forward a comprehensive vision for education in his budget, targeting investments aimed at ensuring every student is successful. It includes better and fairer funding for special education, English language learners, early education, and all-day Kindergarten – creating an education system that opens opportunities for every child to thrive and succeed. Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius released a statement today about the legislation, saying:

      “I want to thank Senator Wiger and Representative Marquart for carrying these bills and for their leadership to work with Governor Dayton to forge a world-class education system Minnesota can be proud of.”
      care costs for all Minnesotans. More information about the governor’s proposed investment in the SHIP initiative is outlined below.

      Governor Dayton’s budget makes major investments in education. The Governor’s budget follows through on his promise to increase support for education every year he is Governor: no excuses, no exceptions. It also makes crucial investments in higher education to give our workforce the knowledge and skills to compete in a 21st Century global economy. [Read more about education investments]