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Legislative Update - December 20, 2019
First of all, I’d like to wish everyone a happy holiday season! No matter how you celebrate, I hope that you’re able to enjoy the holidays and spend some quality time with family and friends.
As 2019 comes to a close, I wanted to provide an update on what I’ve been working on lately and share some information that may be helpful.
Local School Closures
Last week, the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School Board voted to close three schools due to declining enrollment. Sioux Trail Elementary School, Metcalf Middle School, and Marion W. Savage Elementary will close at the end of the school year, and students will be moved to new schools next year. More information is available here
This situation has been difficult for everyone concerned. My heart goes out to all of the impacted students, parents, teachers, and staff. In the past several months, I’ve met with the superintendent, school board members, and many community members to discuss the financial difficulties that schools in our area are facing. I’ll continue working with local elected officials and my colleagues at the Legislature to secure the funding that Minnesota students deserve.
Southwest Light Rail Construction
In mid-December, I went on a tour of some of the 15 construction sites for the Southwest Light Rail project. We started at the Southwest Bus Station and went along the line to the end, which is located near Target Field in Minneapolis. I was particularly interested in the equipment being used for digging near buildings in Minneapolis. A special piece of equipment was brought in from Japan to use in this area because the underground wall was going to be so close to the buildings. With this equipment, there is no noise or feeling of ground movement even when you stand fairly close. You can see the blades moving and dirt accumulating at the top of the hole, but that is all. My understanding is that this is the first time this equipment has been used in Minnesota.
Once the Southwest Light Rail project is completed, Minnesotans will have better access to the many businesses and cultural resources located along the route. It’s a great example of the power of successful community partnerships.
Budget Forecast Shows Positive Balance
Earlier this month, state budget officials released a new economic forecast that shows a positive balance of $1.3 billion for 2020-2021. This indicates Minnesota is in a strong financial position but may face challenges in the future. When inflation and other factors are taken into consideration, the forecast suggests our state could see budget deficits that undermine our ability to provide world-class schools, safe roads, and high-quality health care for Minnesotans. When the Legislature reconvenes in February, we need to remain careful and continue investing in these core values.
You can read more about the budget forecast here
. Please feel free to let me know what budgetary values are important to you and your loved ones.
Best wishes for a safe and enjoyable holiday season and a Happy New Year!