consultants are sandburs

Thursday, January 31, 2013

As a subscriber to Speaker Thissen's email updates, I believe a recent item from Thissen deserves mention.

Thissen, and his legislative service history, here.

His current page for the current legislative session, here.

Thissen's email subscription link, here.

From that current page, his news/press releases, the most recent, "Legislative leaders, bipartisan group of legislators call for flexibility to preserve MinnesotaCare," here. Crabgrass readers are urged to read that item.

The most recent emailing, because it is not online via a link, is quoted now, in its entirety:

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We have an obligation and a shared responsibility to govern well and move our state forward together.

Our state is facing a number of challenges. Incredibly, we’ve faced a state budget deficit in eight of the last ten years, and this year is no different. After years of gimmicks, cuts, and borrowing, we must now tackle a $1 billion deficit — and we owe our schools another billion more.

It’s clear that this slash, burn, and borrow form of budgeting hasn’t left our state on stable footing. Tuition is skyrocketing at our colleges and universities, class sizes are growing in our K-12 schools, property taxes are steadily increasing for families, farmers, seniors and small businesses, and too many Minnesotans remain out of work or underemployed.

We need to take bold action to put our state on a path to long-term economic prosperity. It is time for a new approach--one that is fair, responsible and does not place the burden for solving our budget issues on the backs of middle-class families. We are committed to a budget that will promote our economic competitiveness, provide greater economic security for the middle class, and create pathways into it for those struggling in these tough economic times.

First 5 bills introduced in the Minnesota House

The House DFL Caucus recently unveiled House Files 1-5, bills representing many of our top priorities this year.

HF 1 would pay back what was borrowed from our schools in the previous budget so that we can fairly balance our budget and make sure money that was going to pay off loans is staying in the classroom. A high-quality education is the ticket to economic opportunity for our kids and our state’s future, but over the past decade previous legislatures have borrowed from our K-12 schools to balance our state budget.

HF 2 creates the Homestead Credit Refund to provide direct property tax relief to middle class Minnesota homeowners and renters, many who have been squeezed in recent years. The Homestead Credit refund would expand the existing Homeowner Property Tax Refund that about 360,000 Minnesotans receive every year. It would provide an additional $100 million in property tax relief to Minnesota homeowners and would increase the Renter’s Credit.

HF 3 would increase funding for the Minnesota Investment Fund, one of the state’s primary tools to encourage businesses to set up shop in Minnesota. The program has a proven track record of job creation with an excellent return on investment.

HF 4 would expand funding for the Minnesota Trade Office to promote Minnesota’s competitiveness globally. Expanding funding the Trade Office could help us expand economic opportunities to small and medium-sized Minnesota businesses.

HF 5 would set up a health exchange to make it easier and more affordable for Minnesotans and small businesses to purchase health insurance. Minnesota families are projected to save over $1 billion by using the exchange to purchase insurance — with the average family saving $500 and a lower-income family saving approximately $1,800. Roughly 300,000 uninsured Minnesotans will gain coverage through the exchange by 2016.

Governor Dayton’s Budget

Last week Governor Dayton unveiled his budget proposal. I applaud Governor Dayton for putting forward a budget that makes tough decisions and doesn’t use short-term gimmicks, that invests in our schools, and provides property tax relief for middle class Minnesotans. This is just a start. Over the next several weeks, we will begin taking an in-depth look at the governor’s budget. Once the February forecast is released, budget work will begin moving forward.

We understand there is tough work ahead. We are committed to working together to address our state's challenges with a focus on the priorities we all share: balancing the state's budget responsibly and expanding economic opportunity for all Minnesotans. That is how we will move our state forward.

I want to hear from you

As always, I welcome your comments, questions, concerns and feedback. You can reach me by phone at 651-296-5375, by email at, or you can visit or send mail to my office, 463 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Saint Paul, Minnesota 55155. Thank you for the honor of representing you at the Capitol.

Paul Thissen

Actual bill text can be accessed, here, with the bill count up to 213 at the time that page was accessed today, to provide its link.

For readers in Ramsey, with a new city council session starting and new people on the council, there is a question of whether, to use Thissen's terminology, "[a] slash, burn, and borrow form of budgeting hasn’t left our [... city] on stable footing."

Plus, there is the added Ramsey question of what role a city should continue to have, given its recent history, in land ownership and development, and in the choosing and/or hiring and use of consultants, re same.

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