On Tuesday March 3rd, the February forecast was released. Rather than spin the numbers, I invite you to review the forecast at www.mmb.state.mn.us/doc.fu/09/complete-feb09.pdf
The forecast captures what Minnesotans are experiencing and I suspect that you will not be surprised by what you read. As you already know, we are facing a fierce challenge- one that requires an extraordinary response which begins with a clear understanding the problem we are facing.
Town Hall Meetings
I am inspired by the more than seven thousand Minnesotans who attended one of Town Hall meetings held across the state in the past couple of weeks. Members of the House and Senate, republicans and democrats together attended the meetings.
Minnesotans shared a litany of perspectives and concerns about the budget and cuts. Across the state, Minnesotans asked us to be fair as we balance the budget. They asked that we not target one part of the budget over others. There was a predictably wide divide between those opposed to new taxes and those asking for new revenue solve some of the deficit.
Thanks to everyone who attended, testified or sent testimony to me. Thanks also to the excellent work by the House and Senate staff who organized all of the logistics.
The Work Ahead
With the forecast complete, committees will begin to process the bills that will serve as the foundation for the House budget proposal. On Friday we recieved the 380 page bill which represents the Governor's 'Version One' (pre-federal stimulus) budget proposal for Health and Human Services. Though we have had proposed budget pages, we cannot begin to act on proposals till they are in bill form, ready for hearing.
Posted on Sunday, March 8, 2009 by Erin Murphy,