In the first year of the biennium, to resolve the budget impasse, Governor Dayton and the GOP legislature agreed to education to help balance the budget. In essence, we borrowed money from our school districts. Some school districts will now have to borrow money for operating expenses. I voted against this bill. While there is an expectation that some of the shift will be paid back, I remain skeptical given the projected deficit in the next biennium. Hopefully, with an improved economy and a reconstituted legislature, we can make the hard budget choices, and fix the structural deficit where we continue to be victims of boom and bust economic cycles. Investing in a 21st century education system is critical to our future.
I am a co-author of the New Minnesota Miracle that I believe we need to begin phasing in. Reestablishing the link of the State paying for our schools is the right thing to do and reduces local property taxes. At one time we were featured on the front of Time Magazine as the "state that works". We can be that state again with bold leadership and commitment to education at all levels.
While I remain concerned about the continued budget cuts at University of Minnesota and MnSCU, I was pleased that in our Capital Investment bill we bonded nearly $200 million for new buildings and infrastructure improvements at our colleges and universities.
We all should all be concerned with increasing tuition levels that our students pay because the State continues to reduce appropriations to higher education. Our colleges and universities are the economic engine of our economy and it is would wrong to place impediments to getting an education because of misplaced budget priorities.
Finally, I was pleased that Early Childhood Education Programs were not cut during this biennium.