Letter: GOP budget plan scales back government growthSenate Republicans announced budget targets this week as part of a forthcoming plan to solve the state’s projected budget deficit
By: Dist. 22 Sen. Doug Magnus, R-Slayton, Worthington Daily Globe
Senate Republicans announced budget targets this week as part of a forthcoming plan to solve the state’s projected budget deficit. The overall budget spending level is set at roughly $34 billion for the 2012-13 biennial budget, protecting funding levels for education, health and human services and public safety. The plan recognizes the core constitutional requirements of state government, but scales back automatic government growth and spending.
Moving forward, Senate committees will continue to hear bills in a timely manner in order to meet the earliest committee deadlines in recent history. March 25 is the final date for finance committees and divisions to report appropriations (budget) bills.
Unemployment extension signed: A Senate Republican initiative passed unanimously which permits unemployed adult children of business owners to collect unemployment benefits under the same eligibility rules as other unemployed employees.
Coal moratorium seeks to ensure future power: In separate committees in the Senate and House, lawmakers overwhelmingly voted this week to allow the state’s utilities to buy electricity made from coal. If the measure becomes law, it would open the door for Minnesota companies to sell energy generated at a new North Dakota plant. A current state moratorium on new use of electricity produced by coal is under court challenge and sponsors say the restriction puts the state at an unacceptable risk when considering a reliable supply of electricity in the future.
Radio show now available online: Past episodes of the Senate Republican Majority Caucus weekly radio program, “Inside the Senate,” are now available online at: http://www.insidethemnsenate.com/. Hosted by Senator Mike Parry of Waseca, “Inside the Senate” features Senate Republicans as guests to discuss legislative initiatives, session updates and other news of the Legislature. Listeners are able to submit questions and comments to the show via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The program is aired Friday mornings at 10:00 AM on KOWZ News Talk AM-1170 of Owatonna, although more stations are being added on a continual basis.
Coming up next week: With new budget targets announced this week, Senate committees will work within their divisions, focusing on the top priority of solving the budget deficit and meeting the aggressive deadlines Republican leadership has set: March 25 for budget bills.
Committees will also hear bills that consider Minnesota’s health care spending to comply with federal health care law, prohibiting certain cell procedures likened to cloning, and job training programs.
The Local Government & Elections Committee will begin week-long hearings on bills requiring a photo ID to vote, and the Senate Taxes Committee will hear a bill that proposes an “I’m not taxed enough already” check-off on tax returns.