MN Prepares For Legislative Session

With the start of the 2012 legislative session just days away, Governor Mark Dayton and House and Senate leaders from the DFL and the GOP answer questions from reporters. Click on the above player to watch the session.

Earlier in the day, Minnesota Republican lawmakers revealed their plan for state government reform.
Click here to watch a replay of the Republican government reform news conference and read the Republican Party press release on government reform and a reply from the DFL

Replay of MN Republican government reform news conference:

Watch live streaming video from theuptake2 at livestream.com

Press release from the Minnesota Republican party:

SAINT PAUL – (July 19, 2012) – Republicans in the Minnesota Legislature today unveiled their priorities for the 2012 legislative session. Focused on creating a competitive business climate to foster private sector job growth, high performing education and a smaller, cost-effective government, Reform 2.0 will modernize outdated, rigid public systems that have failed to respond to the evolving needs of Minnesota’s economy and citizens.

“Tax and spend stimulus packages that create more government spending will not provide for long-term growth and stability in our state’s private sector economy or state budget,” said Minnesota Speaker of the House Kurt Zellers (R-Maple Grove). “Restoring confidence in Minnesota’s economy, improving education and health care, and transforming government services begins with reform. When we met with business owners and citizens across this state, they were not looking for a government handout. The Reform 2.0 agenda is based on what we heard from them. This is not a Republican agenda. It is Minnesota’s agenda.”

Republicans said government needs a new way of thinking to address both the short-term and long-term structural needs of Minnesota’s economy and budget.

“Government redesign is not only about making government more efficient and working better, it is about providing the right services to the right people. We’ve received a lot of ideas from citizens about how government reform can spur job growth in their communities and we’ve identified principles to help us achieve that goal,” said Senate Majority Leader David Senjem (R-Rochester).

In crafting the Reform 2.0 agenda, Republicans traveled to dozens of cities for public meetings with business owners, local government leaders, and interested citizens to gather input on how to reform state and local government. They drove thousands of miles and listened to hundreds of people who shared their ideas on what government can and should do better.

“We received an unprecedented amount of feedback in developing an agenda that reflects the ideas of Minnesotans and the challenges they face every day in dealing with obsolete systems and entrenched burdensome practices,” said House Majority Leader Matt Dean. “These are noncontroversial, common sense reforms that will move Minnesota in the right direction for a growing economy supported by an efficient and effective government.”

Republican leaders said many of the bills have been introduced and more will be available once the legislative session begins in January.

“We have central reform principles that we believe will result in a better business climate. First, reforms will look at the cost and quality of education, health care and energy. Second, we will pursue a growth-friendly tax structure to encourage job creation and economic prosperity. Thirdly, reforms will address regulatory and permitting obstacles for job creators,” said Senator Michelle Benson (R-Ham Lake). “Our priority is private sector job growth — we want to promote innovation, investment and entrepreneurship to bring out the best about Minnesota to build long-term prosperity.”

The Reform 2.0 Web site (www.reform2.mn) will serve as a clearinghouse for all information related to the initiatives being proposed and tracking their legislative progress this session.

Response from DFL
Republican “reform” does nothing to help middle class Minnesotans

Minority Leader Paul Thissen released the following statement in response to the Republican “reform” agenda that was announced at a press conference this morning.

“DFL legislators are focused on creating jobs and strengthening our state’s economy. The best way to do that is to prioritize the things that are important to middle class families, not special interests or rich corporations.

We should work together to improve efficiencies and reduce red tape for our small businesses. But responding to the real challenges facing middle class Minnesotans should be our top priority. There is nothing in this plan to help middle class families get ahead – and some things that will hurt them. Reduced wages and job cuts for middle class workers are not a recipe for broad economic success.

The Republican agenda does nothing about higher property taxes; ignores families, seniors, renters and farmers who are paying more due to the elimination of the homestead credit; is oblivious to the escalating cost of tuition for students; and silent on the record debt created last session when we borrowed billions from Minnesota schools.

DFL legislators look forward to working hard this session to build a broad and prosperous economic future for Minnesota, led by a strong middle class.