Rep. Erin Koegel (37A) – Legislative Update
Last Tuesday was Disability Day at the Capitol, which gave those Minnesotans with disabilities and their caregivers an opportunity to share stories with legislators. Specifically, they were advocating for increased wages for those who work in home and community based settings to reduce turnover among those in these positions and make sure adequate care is able to be provided. These folks work incredibly hard, and I’m committed to making sure they can continue to enable all Minnesotans to live with dignity.
This week, the Republican Majority introduced their budget targets for the next two years for each of the finance committees in the Minnesota House. These determine how much is able to be invested in areas such as education, health care, and transportation as well as how much of the state budget taxes the form of tax cuts, and which ones.
Many details have yet to emerge, but form what we’re seeing thus far, there is much to be concerned about in this budget, with inadequate investments in our students and an enormous cut to health care in favor of massive tax giveaways to corporate interests. We should be budgeting fairly, responsibly, and with a focus on working families. Not only does this budget plan not make the necessary investments in areas that have made us so successful, like education, but it leaves very little for the state’s rainy day fund, to give us a level of comfort in the case of a future downturn.
Another major letdown is in the area of transportation, where I was hoping we’d finally see robust investments to update our roads, bridges, and transit systems. Unfortunately, this budget shifts money and makes transportation compete with vital state needs such as education and health care, while putting a significant amount on the state’s credit card. This simply isn’t sustainable for our state’s economic wellbeing.
This year, I’m hopeful we can set aside the politics and pass a comprehensive bill containing investments in transportation with a long-term vision toward growing our region and giving Minnesotans more opportunity to prosper.
As your State Representative, I’m committed to getting as much input from the community I have the opportunity to serve as possible. Toward this goal, I invite you to take my 2017 Legislative Survey on a variety of issues either already discussed at the Legislature this year or likely to be.
I appreciate you taking a few moments to share your opinions on these topics. You can take the survey online here. Throughout the session, I hope you will continue to give me feedback on your priorities and the issues that matter to you. Feel free to give me a call or send me an email anytime. It’s an honor to serve you at the State Capitol.