Thank you, Chisago County residents for electing me, Bob Barrett, as your state representative in November 2010.
Prior to last year Minnesota families were saddled with a $6.2 billion state budget deficit that had increased every year since 2007. We were sinking under the weight of big government. That ship is no longer sinking and we now have a $1.2 billion dollar surplus. With this money we have returned $430 million to schools and replenished the state’s budget reserves. We did this without a job-killing tax increase that is the cornerstone of the Democratic agenda this November. Over 50 bills were vetoed by Governor Dayton this session including; tax relief, licensing and regulatory reform, returning $600 million back to schools and a Voter ID bill supported by 75 percent of Minnesota.
Despite this, private sector jobs have been created. In the last 15 months, the state’s unemployment rate has fallen from 7.1 percent to 5.6 percent. Last fall the state’s unemployment rate dropped farther and faster than at any time since 1976.
Just two years ago, Chisago County’s unemployment rate was over 11 percent. April 2012 unemployment is at 6.8 percent.
The comparisons between Minnesota solutions over the last two years and those attempted at the federal level are revealing. Nationally, our unemployment rate has been above 8 percent for 39 consecutive months — after being below 8 percent every month since 1984 (a span of 300 months). This is despite spending $5 trillion of borrowed money during those 39 months increasing our children’s debt to an incredible $15.7 trillion.
Last year we increased K-12 school funding while eliminating the $6.2 billion deficit without job-killing tax increases demanded by Democrats. In addition, a state mandate was repealed so that existing school funds can be used more effectively. Each school district in Minnesota is able to retain six to eight more teachers because of this law change. We made reforms related to school trust lands so schools will see greater returns on these resources. For the first time, a concrete and affordable plan has been drafted to help lower funded districts. I am proud to author this bill (created based on local Legislative Action Group feedback) and will continue the work towards passage next session.
Laws targeting welfare fraud were enacted. My synthetic drug bill passed the house (117-6) and signed into law making it more difficult to sell these harmful drugs to our children.
As we are seeing at the federal level, bigger government isn’t working. In Minnesota holding the line on government spending, reforming how government works and saying no to job-killing tax increases is. The comparisons between the two visions for our country could not be more clear when rhetoric is eliminated and the facts are revealed. Go to www.vote4bob.com.