The following is a press release that was sent to media outlets throughout the state today:
With passage of the Senate tax bill Thursday, the priorities of the House, Senate and Governor are in clear focus.
The Minnesota House has developed a rural agenda that includes funding for broadband expansion, an increase in local government aid (LGA), and creation of a pilot job training program. By contrast, the Senate passed a tax bill and supplemental budget that is completely silent on key priorities for Greater Minnesota.
Likewise, these issues were absent from the Governor’s supplemental budget, though Governor Dayton recently said he is “willing to agree” to new funding for broadband.
“We are looking for more than a willingness to agree. We expect leadership from the Governor on broadband and other issues that are important to Greater Minnesota,” said Randy Wilson, mayor of Glencoe and president of the CGMC. “So far this session the Minnesota House has been the one arm of state government to lead with a rural agenda.”
With significant surpluses available, now is the time for the Legislature and Governor to continue its commitment to the LGA program and invest in 21st century infrastructure such as broadband for unserved and underserved areas of the state.
“The 2014 session has seen a flurry of activity on tax relief, minimum wage, anti-bullying legislation and a new Senate Office Building,” said Wilson. “With session quickly coming to a close, we call on the Governor and Senate to join with the House to advance initiatives that will strengthen Greater Minnesota communities.”