AP NEWS
Click to copy
Click to copy

Mike Goggin: Here’s what I’ve been working on in St. Paul

Staff WriterMarch 3, 2019

Southeast Minnesota was battered pretty hard by snowstorms for much of February. I hope everyone made it through OK. To all the plow drivers, emergency responders, and National Guardsmen who kept our roads safe and clear, I just want to say thank you. It’s a difficult job, but I know we are in good hands.

Like the snow that never seemed to stop, work at the capitol has not slowed down either. Now that we are two months into session, I wanted to give you a quick update on the status of some of the bills I’m working on.

Budget forecast and Gov. Walz budget proposal: On Feb. 28 we received the annual February revenue forecast. It showed Minnesota has a surplus, but also contained some warning signs we must be careful of, like slower economic growth, smaller income tax revenues, and stagnant job growth. Gov. Walz recently announced plans for a budget that dramatically increases spending and raises a variety of taxes, including the gas tax, tab fees, and a tax on sick people. With much slower economic growth on the horizon, it’s not the time for excessive spending increases or tax hikes on those who can least afford them.

Promoting healthy, locally grown food in schools: My ‘Farm to School’ bill promotes feeding children more healthy, locally grown food in school. Local foods are fresh and taste better, and kids who get to eat local are much more interested in eating healthy. It’s also great for our local economy: farmers participating in these programs gain access to new, stable markets to supplement their incomes and help them maintain their livelihoods. According to the National Farm to School Network, every dollar invested in farm to school programs generates $2.16 to the local economy. This bill has passed the Senate Agriculture Policy Committee and now awaits a hearing in the Senate Agriculture Finance Committee.

Encouraging the hiring of disabled and unemployed veterans: I come from a family of veterans, so taking care of the brave men and women who have served this country is a very personal issue for me. I have a bill that would encourage employers to hire more disabled and unemployed veterans by offering tax credits for each qualifying veteran hired. Everyone wins under my bill — disabled and unemployed veterans get a chance to show what they can do; employers get dedicated, hardworking employees; and Minnesota gets another contributing member of society. This bill has been approved by the Senate Veterans Committee and awaits a hearing in the Taxes Committee.

Helping Veterans find a new career in the trades: I’m proud to carry ‘Helmets to Hardhats’ legislation again this year, which is aimed at helping veterans find a new career in the skilled trades. It is a win-win-win situation — veterans win, businesses win, and the state of Minnesota wins. Helmets to Hardhats helped 70 veterans in 2017, the first year of the program. In 2018, Helmets to Hardhats helped more than 300 veterans, and about 20 new veterans enter the program every month. The bill was heard in the Jobs Committee and was laid over for consideration in their budget bill later in session.

If you have any questions about any of these issues, please don’t hesitate to contact me at 651-296-5612 or sen.mike.goggin@senate.mn. It is a privilege to serve as your state senator.

All contents © copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.