Sen. Ingebrigtsen offers update on legislative sessionState Senator Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, provided the following update of his work at the Legislature, which has been in session for five weeks:
State Senator Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, provided the following update of his work at the Legislature, which has been in session for five weeks:
In the past month, the Legislature made great strides toward reforming state government and improving Minnesota’s job climate. I have worked with business and industry leaders around the state, taken the first step toward balancing the budget, and passed reforms that will improve our delivery of government services. Here is an update on this week’s actions.
FIRST STEP BUDGET BILL PASSED
The Minnesota Senate took nearly a $1 billion step toward balancing a projected $6.2 billion state budget deficit Thursday. The Senate passed Senate File 60, which addresses spending problems by making one-time reductions from 2010 permanent and prevents state agencies from misusing funds at the end of the year. The bill is fiscally responsible, sets clear priorities and makes government live within its means. I am pleased that we are able to keep our word to the people of Minnesota and start taking the necessary steps to get our state back to living within its means. This bill is the first step in a line of many to reduce the massive deficit left before us.
GOV. DAYTON REQUESTS BILLION IN BONDING
This week Governor Mark Dayton announced his intention for a $1 billion bonding bill, spending $531 million on designated projects and offering $469 million for lawmakers to designate. While a borrowing bill is not inherently bad, Dayton’s off-year request is extremely irresponsible in light of a current $6.2 billion state budget deficit. I believe bonding should only be used for emergency repairs of state-owned facilities and flood relief or necessary prevention activities, not for indefinite “stimulus” projects. Rather than spending money for a new baseball stadium in St. Paul and a basketball arena in Minneapolis, we need to be fiscally responsible and spend on what we need not what we want. We need to focus on getting folks back to work, not racking up the state’s credit card.
ALTERNATIVE TEACHER LICENSING
With strong bipartisan support, the Senate passed a plan to create an alternative pathway into the classroom for well-qualified candidates. Alternative licensure is a tool that can attract well-educated professionals into our teaching ranks. It allows diverse and dedicated people to teach our children with real business and professional experiences in the classroom.
NUCLEAR ENERGY FOR OUR FUTURE
This week, the Minnesota Senate gave bipartisan approval to a bill that will lift the nuclear moratorium in Minnesota. With a vote of 50-14, the Senate passed a bill to repeal the nuclear power prohibition. Nuclear energy is clean, inexpensive, and lowers our dependence on foreign oil and gas. It is important for Minnesota to have all options on the table when it comes to planning its energy needs for the future. Lifting the ban allows nuclear energy to be at least part of the discussion. This bill is a path to energy independence offering certainty for businesses and job creators as they plan for tomorrow and work to keep existing jobs.