Wednesday, March 09, 2016

State of the State Address.  The Governor gave his annual State of the State Address.  With the Capitol pretty much out of commission, the Governor gave the speech at the University of Minnesota's McNamara Alumni Center.  In a 40+ minute speech, Governor Dayton outlined some very broad goals that highlighted his priorities.  Among them were a healthy bonding bill, a commitment to early childhood education (didn't say if or how it was different from the universal 4-year-old program he proposed last year), and a transportation package that wouldn't raid the general fund.  Underlying the Governor's speech was the anxiety that the $300 dip in the forecasted budget surplus may mean going forward.  Above all, I sensed the Governor urging caution and wanting to avoid either on-going spending or huge tax cuts that would put the state back into a deficit situation in 2017.  The Governor will be releasing his supplemental budget next week and there will be a lot more in terms of details at that time.

It will be interesting to see how both houses of the Legislature react to this speech.  There doesn't seem to be any appetite for more spending beyond the transportation, tax, and bonding bills in the House and the Senate will likely be avoiding on-going spending commitments as well.  That leaves the one-time money as the pool that most everyone will be seeking to swim in.

State of the State Speech Link:  State of the State Address

Education Meetings Tomorrow.  There's a full slate of education-related hearings tomorrow along with floor sessions.  Items on the docket include the Office of the Legislative Auditor's report on Teacher Licensure, which will be heard both in the House Education Finance Committee and the Senate Education Finance Division.

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