State Representative Jim Davnie
March 5, 2010
Minnesota had a good week. On top of experiencing plenty of sunshine our local economy also showed a bright spot. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) issued a report which showed our state added 15,600 jobs in January. This dropped our unemployment rate from 7.4 to 7.3 percent. It might seem small but these days any little bit helps.
But we should remember how often Winter storms back in March when considering unemployment. We need to watch job growth and hope that like our good weather- it isn’t a fluke. There is also the deficit to consider. Global Insight, the state’s outside budget wonks, released their forecast Monday for Minnesota and found that it looks better than it did at the beginning of session. But the fact remains that we have to trim $994 million from our budget. That’s an additional 3% reduction after last year’s 15% cut to state spending.
If we look out into the near future, the numbers become even more staggering. In the next biennium we face a $5.789 billion deficit, up from previous projections. That assumes that we don’t pay back the K-12 payment shift of $1.7 billion and that GAMC is completely eliminated.
These two reports sum up the focus of this session; creating jobs, balancing the state budget, and looking out for Minnesotans hurt in the economic downturn.
That has been the House’s mantra from the opening gavel of session. The Legislature presented an unusually early bonding bill for a reason. Economists of all stripes agree that we face a long recovery. In Minnesota we’ve seen our fair share of late springs. With that in mind, the bonding bill was passed to accelerate the economic thaw and get people back to work. Our bill would provide 21,000 public and private sector jobs directly, take advantage of construction bids that are coming in around 30-40 percent lower, and create a ripple effect throughout the state.
But the Governor doesn’t agree with our approach. We are currently in negotiations with his office over how to get the price tag down. Our bill clocks in just under a billion dollars, within his department’s borrowing guidelines, but the Governor would like to see something in the $600 million dollar range. We are also moving on a comprehensive job package to boost growth.
As a representative my job is to listen to your views and ideas. With that in mind I urge you to follow this link to my website to fill out a constituent survey. You will find it in the bar on the right side of the page under the Feedback heading. Your help is greatly appreciated:
State Representative District 62A