Governor Mark Dayton and Bruce Dovey, Price Industries, senior vice president
Brutal winters, bird-sized mosquitoes, and a love of hockey. Minnesota and Manitoba have more than a few things in common. And shortly, we will share one more: Price Industries. Today, the company announced plans to build a new design center in Maple Grove, Minnesota. The design center expected to open in 2014 will employ 40 people. In addition to housing research and development operations, the new facility will serve as the Winnipeg-based company’s U.S. headquarters.
Governor Mark Dayton worked closely with Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development and Price Industries to make this project happen.
The principal credit for Minnesota’s terrific budget forecast belongs to the people of Minnesota. We proved again that we have the best business innovators and the most productive workers anywhere. By working hard and working together, we turned a $6 billion deficit predicted just 3 years ago, into a projected surplus of $1.086 billion over the next 18 months.
The financial experts, who prepared this forecast, made it clear that these surpluses are being generated by our state’s exceptionally strong economic growth. Minnesota’s economic recovery leads most states and the nation. 122,000 more people are working in Minnesota today than when I became governor in January 2011. The growth in our total state economy last year was the 5th best in the nation.
Department of Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson (back left) and the pharmaceutical safety team
Today, 78 state employees from 15 state agencies were recognized for outstanding achievements that have reformed state government and saved taxpayer dollars. In the Governor’s ongoing effort to build a Better Government for a Better Minnesota, state agencies have worked hard finding innovative ways to deliver better services to Minnesotans while eliminating wasteful spending, improving efficiencies, and strengthening measures of accountability.
The Governor’s Continuous Improvement Awards celebrate individual and organizational achievements that have increased the productivity and efficiency of state government services, while improving the delivery and responsiveness of customer service. Twenty-eight teams from across the administration were nominated for this year’s awards, with six receiving recognition at today’s award ceremony for their extraordinary achievements.
Today’s budget forecast closes chapter on years of irresponsible borrowing from Minnesota students
After years of irresponsible borrowing, all of the $2.8 billion that was borrowed from Minnesota schools has been repaid due to the budget surpluses generated by Minnesota’s growing economy. A new economic forecast released today by the Minnesota Department of Management and Budget (MMB) shows that the additional $1.086 billion surplus projected for the current biennium will permit the immediate repayment of the final $246 million, still owed our schools. Changes made last session by the Legislature and Governor Dayton accelerated that repayment by mandating in law that any additional surplus would go immediately to the schools.
Today’s announcement comes after Minnesota added 13,400 jobs since August and over 122,000 jobs since January 2011 – regaining all of the jobs that were lost in the Great Recession. Minnesota was recently ranked eighth in the “Forbes 2013 List of the Best States for Business,” and had, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, the fifth-fastest growing state economy in the nation last year.
The Governor was joined by Minnesota Turkey Growers Association President John Zimmerman, Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson, and Colleen Moriarty of Hunger Solutions Minnesota for the occasion. The event marks a time-honored tradition, going back more than two decades, of Minnesota’s Governor kicking off Thanksgiving week in Minnesota.
At the event, Zimmerman announced the donation of approximately 10,000 pounds of turkey to Hunger Solutions Minnesota, which will be distributed to food shelves and food banks across the state. That amount of turkey will feed over 12,500 people.
This morning Governor Dayton kicked off Thanksgiving Week with the help of a feathered friend. The Governor was joined by a Minnesota-raised turkey, Minnesota Turkey Growers Association President John Zimmerman, Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson, and Colleen Moriarty of Hunger Solutions Minnesota for the occasion.
The Minnesota-raised turkey that took part in today’s festivities comes from a distinguished family – President Obama is pardoning his brother later this week. The turkeys were raised in Badger, Minnesota by John Burkel, Chairman of the National Turkey Federation, and his family.
Minnesota has more independent turkey farmers than any other state with roughly 600 farms. Many of these farmers are fourth and fifth generation turkey farmers – highlighting the long-standing tradition Minnesota has in turkey farming.
Nearly 400,000 military veterans call Minnesota home. We are proud to have them. Our veterans have bravely answered the call to service. From the Battle of Gettysburg to Iraq and Afghanistan, Minnesotans have fought to protect our country and our freedoms. Many of Minnesota’s veterans don’t stop serving when they leave the military either.
In 2013, Governor Mark Dayton signed new legislation to help our veterans make the transition. The new reform makes it easier for active duty service members to transition into jobs on the police force. The bill allows military service members to take a police officer reciprocity exam while they are on active duty. Previously, service members were only allowed to take the reciprocity exam after they were honorably discharged. This change allows men and women in the Armed Forces to move into civilian service without a long delay in employment.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than half of all Americans live with a preventable chronic disease, and many such diseases are related to obesity, poor nutrition, and physical exercise. A recent study found Minnesotans could save more than $4 billion during the next ten years, if our average Body Mass Index decreased by five percent. And right now, unhealthy lifestyles come with a price – costing Minnesotans nearly $6 billion in yearly medical costs.
Continuing the effort to improve the health of Minnesotans, and reduce health care costs through low-cost, preventive measures, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has awarded more than $21.2 million in Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) grants to counties and cities across Minnesota. The grants will be used by communities – in partnership with local businesses, schools, and local governments – to implement projects and programs that will promote exercise and physical activity, improve nutrition, and decrease tobacco use. “The Statewide Health Improvement Program helps win the fight against both chronic diseases and rising health care costs,” said Governor Mark Dayton. “By supporting preventive health measures and encouraging Minnesotans to make healthy choices, our state can realize significant health care savings and help people of all ages live healthier, more fulfilling lives.”
The new grant awards announced this week come after Governor Mark Dayton and the Minnesota Legislature restored funding for the SHIP initiative during the 2013 Legislative Session. Funding for the program had been cut by nearly 70 percent, forcing the Health Department to offer the grants in only about half of the state. But the new state budget signed into law this spring increased SHIP funding by $20 million, restoring the opportunity for communities statewide to participate in the program. This additional funding allowed 25 more counties to receive SHIP funding.