How the Legislature prioritized K-12 Education (8/25/2017)

>> Click here to join Tony’s legislative update email list <<

By Rep. Tony Jurgens, 8/25/2017

Hello from the State Capitol,

The arrival of September means residents can expect a number of changes: leaves changing color, football on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, and students heading back to school.

With parents beginning to think about their child’s classes and classroom expenses, I thought now would be a great time to remind residents how the Legislature prioritized K-12 Education last session.

Some people believe that bipartisanship no longer occurs at the Capitol, but that is truly not the case. Last session a Republican-led Legislature and Governor Dayton agreed to a historic education funding proposal designed to give schools and teachers the resources they need to succeed.

Some of the agreement areas: $1.3 billion in new revenue will be allocated to schools across Minnesota, and there’s a two percent increase to the per pupil funding formula over each of the next two years. Locally, our K-12 funding proposal means South Washington County schools will receive $7.703 million in funding increases, while Hastings will collect $1.825 million in new revenue.

The legislature also implemented meaningful reforms during the 2017 session, including an investment in proven early education programming like pre-K scholarships and school readiness.

All of us want to see our children receive a world-class education, and providing needed resources to our school districts is certainly one of the ways we can help achieve that goal.

I’d also like to remind parents about Minnesota’s tax credit programs for education expenses, so be sure to save your school supply receipts this year.

Qualifying items include writing utensils, textbooks, and musical instrument rentals, while things like school lunches, uniforms, and backpacks do not. Full details about the education credit, and what can and cannot be claimed, are found on the Department of Revenue’s website: http://www.revenue.state.mn.us.

Here’s wishing the best of luck to all of the students, parents, and teachers in South Washington County and Hastings schools. Have a wonderful school year.

Many of you will be heading to the State Fair before school begins, and if you are, I encourage you to visit with me at the House of Representatives booth.

I will be talking with fairgoers from 2:00 – 4:00 PM on Saturday, August 26, and 10:00 AM – 12 Noon on Friday, September 1. The House of Representatives booth is located in the Education Building on Cosgrove Street, just north of Dan Patch Ave.

Please stop by the House of Representatives booth and vote in the annual House opinion poll and chat about whatever’s on your mind. I hope to see you there!

In other news, on Tuesday I was pleased to help celebrate a groundbreaking for the expansion of Norris Square Senior Living in Cottage Grove.

Also, as a member of the House Capital Investment Committee, we have begun our tour of the state to visit communities that are seeking bonding proceeds for their construction projects. This gives members a good opportunity to see specifically what the projects are and ask questions, as next session we will be crafting a capital investment bill that will include some or many of these proposals.

Last week we traveled to northern Minnesota, which included a stop at Itasca State park, home of the Mississippi River headwaters.

A tour of southern Minnesota is also planned in the coming weeks.

Have a good weekend,
Tony

Representative Tony Jurgens
523 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55155
651-296-3135
rep.tony.jurgens@house.mn

>> Click here to join Tony’s legislative update email list <<

Attend the Minnesota State Capitol Grand Opening (8/7/2017)

>> Click here to join Tony’s legislative update email list <<

By Rep. Tony Jurgens, 8/7/2017

Hello from St. Paul,

With a four year restoration and renovation now completed, I’d like to invite you to attend the Minnesota State Capitol Grand Opening Celebration August 11-13 in Saint Paul.

Our state Capitol is such a unique and special place, and much of the work that’s taken place is truly breathtaking. If you haven’t visited the State Capitol in a while I strongly suggest coming to St. Paul to take part in a weekend’s worth of festivities and marvel at the restoration work that should keep this wonderful building open for another 100 years.

Events over the weekend include a ribbon cutting, tours, hotdish panels, live performances, a kid zone, fireworks, an ice cream social, a craft beer garden, and much more. Full information on the schedule, ticketed events, transportation and Capitol renovations can be found at mn.gov/admin/capitol-grand-opening.

I’ll be attending numerous events as well as holding office hours during all three days of the celebration for any residents who are visiting and would like to speak with me while they’re here. Just stop by my office in the State Office Building – located just across the street from the Capitol building – in Room 523 from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

I look forward to seeing you at the Capitol!

On July 31 the Minnesota Department of Commerce released preliminary rates for the 2018 individual insurance market, revealing that Republican-led reforms could end the four year trend of double-digit premium increases since the implementation of Obamacare and MNsure in Minnesota. The individual market serves Minnesotans who do not receive health insurance through their employer or the government.

If approved by the federal government, the Minnesota Premium Security Plan will result in premium decreases for tens of thousands of Minnesotans. In contrast, average rates increased by double digits every year since 2014, including nearly 60 percent for 2017. As a result of the reinsurance program, all current insurers will continue serving the individual market next year. In addition to the reinsurance program, we successfully pushed for consumer protections that will provide access to better networks of hospitals and doctors.

According to the Minnesota Department of Commerce, rates could have risen by 25 percent or more without these reforms. Final rates for the 2018 individual market are expected to be released in October 2017.

My top priority as your state representative this year was to approve legislation that would lower health insurance costs for Minnesotans who were struggling to pay for it. House Republicans made it their top priority as well and now we’re seeing the results as our new laws look to be lowering costs and preserving choice.

In other news, I recently visited with the Hastings City Council in order to give an update on the accomplishments of the legislative session. I also was able to visit several National Night Out/Night to Unite events in both Cottage Grove and Hastings, including a gathering at Presbyterian Homes and White Pine.

It’s always good to see so many people taking time to come out and visit with their neighbors and help keep their neighborhoods vibrant and safe.

Talk to you soon,
Tony

Representative Tony Jurgens
523 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55155
651-296-3135
rep.tony.jurgens@house.mn

>> Click here to join Tony’s legislative update email list <<