Gov. Tim Walz recently released a two-year budget proposal that reflects the message he carried throughout his campaign: We are One Minnesota and no matter where they live, everyone should have access to opportunities to build a better life for their families. We see this as Walz’s budget focuses on three key areas – education, health care and community prosperity.
In general, Minnesota is noted for quality schools, well-trained teachers and engaged parents. But this isn’t true for every student. Walz proposes to increase funding to K-12 education so more students have the resources they need to reach their potential. In this global economy, Minnesota needs an educated workforce to stay competitive. In an era of “full employment,” some businesses struggle to find workers, especially in rural communities. Short-changing our children’s education now will curtail our state’s future prosperity for all.
As he traveled the state talking with people, Walz heard one message loud and clear: Too many Minnesotans are living without health care insurance and fear they are one illness or accident away from bankruptcy. The Governor’s budget tackles this concern head on by increasing access to affordable health care. His budget includes funding to bring down the cost of MinnesotaCare, create a program similar to MinnesotaCare that would include dental and vision benefits and bring down the price of prescription drugs. These efforts are especially important for farmers, small business owners and entrepreneurs who are vital to our state’s economy and need affordable health care for their families.
For years lawmakers have heard from state officials, business owners and concerned citizens about how deteriorating roads and bridges impact our communities. From businesses getting goods to markets to families who want to safely get where they are going, Minnesota can no longer kick this can down the road. Walz has shown leadership in proposing a gas tax increase. People who drive on our roads and bridges have the opportunity to take part in improving them and will see direct results from the investment they make.
Legislators will now prepare their budgets. It is my hope that lawmakers will include the Governor’s proposals as they determine how much to invest in education, who will have access to health care and if our aging infrastructure is updated. Walz has set out a roadmap to build strong families and communities from Ada to Albert Lea. It is my hope that legislators from both political parties will join the Governor on this journey and play a part in building a brighter future for One Minnesota.