The latest Minnesota legislative session adjourned late Monday evening, and State District 23A Representative Peggy Bennett, a Republican from Albert Lea stated to KAUS News in a session recap that a definite plus from the session was the passage of a $1.5 billion bonding bill, which included $2 million in state funding for the first phase of the city of Albert Lea’s new wastewater treatment plant project, and $9 million for the Shell Rock River Watershed District for sediment removal and cleanup of Fountain Lake…

Representative Bennett went on to state that part of an agreement between the House and Senate on a bonding bill also involved an additional $300 million in funding for the state’s nursing homes…

Representative Bennett stated that a definite downside to the session, in her view, is the just-signed, two-year, $72 billion state budget, which she stated is far too large, considering a record $17 billion budget surplus…

Democrats respond that many needs have gone unmet, including transportation and children.  Governor Tim Walz and top cabinet officials say the just-signed budget will not throw the state into deficit if the economy goes bad.  Management and Budget Commissioner Jim Schowalter stated that the state’s “structural” surplus is expected to continue on the long-term horizon, and in addition, he added that the state has very solid reserves.  Democrats say the new budget has the largest tax cuts in Minnesota history.  Republicans say there are also the largest tax increases in other areas.

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