OCTOBER 26, 2007
LEGISLATIVE GROUP APPROVES ADDITIONAL MONEY
Members of the Transportation Contingent Appropriation Group have approved an
additional $60-million in state road construction spending by the Minnesota
Department of Transportation (MnDOT). The department will continue to provide
lawmakers with updates on its projected cash flow at monthly public meetings.
"This additional appropriation means there is no legitimate reason for MnDOT to
delay scheduled road construction projects," said Margaret Anderson Kelliher,
Speaker of the Minnesota House of Representatives. "The department has given us
a monthly cash flow analysis that shows the additional $60-million dollars will
keep projects on schedule until the entire legislature returns in February."
Governor Carol Molnau, who also serves as the commissioner of MnDOT, said the
department would delay projects and defer maintenance if it did not receive
additional budget authority. She also indicated a delay in the arrival of
federal funds to replace the 35W bridge had added to MnDOT's budget pressure.
The department has signed a $233-million contract with Flatiron Constructors to
replace the bridge, which collapsed in August.
is important for MnDOT to be very clear and transparent about its needs at this
critical time for our state," said Speaker Kelliher. "Minnesotans continue to
have a lot of questions about the leadership at the department. The legislature
must provide the necessary oversight and shine a light into MnDOT."
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PAWLENTY'S RECORD ON JOBS A FAILURE
Minnesota’s unemployment rate is again higher than the national
average, marking an unusual trend for the state. For at least four decades,
Minnesota’s unemployment rate has run one to two percentage points below the
are the Land of 10,000 Lakes, and we were the land of plentiful jobs, but since
Tim Pawlenty took over, a dangerous and disturbing pattern has affected our job
market," said Rep. Tom Rukavina. "Instead of the North Star State, we’re
becoming the No Jobs State."
According to figures released by the Department of Economic Development,
Minnesota’s unemployment rate stands at 4.9%, compared to a national rate of
4.7%. Since Pawlenty was elected in 2002, Minnesota has gradually lost ground to
the rest of the nation in the job creation category. Rukavina believes that the
days of Minnesota leading the nation with the lowest unemployment rates are
gone, maybe permanently.
“Tim Pawlenty claimed earlier this summer that Minnesota was ‘open for
business.’ The Governor should put up a new sign that says ‘Open for business,
but applicants need not apply’,” said Rukavina.
Long time State Economist Tom Stinson previously indicated that these
unemployment trends are “vexing and disturbing.” Rukavina added, “While our
highly regarded State Economist raises warning signs like this, our Governor in
last year’s election told the people of Minnesota that our job market was “red
hot.” Clearly, someone is not telling the truth, and I’ll tell you now that that
person is not Tom Stinson.”
Rukavina also cited the Governor's veto last session of the tax bill, bonding
bill, and transportation bill, which together would have created thousands of
jobs, as evidence of Pawlenty's poor record.
"With every stroke of his veto pen, Pawlenty signed away thousands of
opportunities for Minnesotans who need jobs," said Rukavina. "With a record like
that, its no surprise that Pawlenty has the worst jobs record of any Minnesota
Governor in the last four decades."
needs to acknowledge the failed policies of the past," said Rukavina. "We need
to come up with new and inventive ways to put people to work and move our state
forward once again."
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DFL Leader Margaret Anderson Kelliher
Jobs, health care and education! These are
the priorities that Minnesotans tell us they want the legislature to be focused
on. These are the priorities of the House DFL Caucus.
We encourage every Minnesotan to share with
us your views on how the currently proposed budget cuts will effect local
families and impact communities.
We strongly believe that the more people get involved, the more creative will be
solutions found to address necessary priorities and govern Minnesota fairly.
Please contact us with your opinions on state and local economic issues.
Call, write, or send us e-mail:
Minnesota House of Representatives
267 State Office Building
St. Paul MN 55155
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