Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Joint House/Senate Education Finance Committees Hearing.  You are getting this live (but thankfully I am typing so it is edited to some extent) from the Joint House/Senate Education Finance Committees.  Commissioner Brenda Cassellius and Dr. Tom Melcher are presenting a powerpoint outlining the major portions of the Governor's recommendations.  The testimony is covering the waterfront and the questions are hitting on the obvious items of interest, both in terms of what is present in the recommendations and what is absent.  Representative Joe McDonald (R-Delano) expressed his concern--a concern shared by SEE--that the increased equalization recommended by the Governor's Education Finance Reform Working Group is not present in the recommendations.  A questions concerning the recommendation to roll the extended time revenue directly into the compensatory formula and give the district more flexibility in the distribution of that revenue was raised by Representative Sondra Erickson (R-Princeton).  Representatives Duane Quam (R-Byron) and Jerry Hertaus (R-Greenfield) have also raised concerns about the absence of recommendations that would narrow the gap between high and low property wealth districts.

It's been a spirited discussion at which the concerns I expressed yesterday were raised by committee members.  Thank you to those legislators who voiced those concerns.  We have our work cut out for us if we are going to alleviate the disparities in revenue and property tax burden that exist in Minnesota.

I'll be back tonight with more impressions.

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