Gov. Mark Dayton issued his State of the State Address last night and a few things stood out in my mind.
First, the governor talked about how transportation is underfunded, yet I have not seen much of a push from the majority to increase it. It seems as if they are on different pages.
The governor also trumpeted MNsure as a success, even though it has had a very rough start. It perplexed me that he made a point of noting that “only” 8 percent of our citizens are uninsured. The problem is that actually is a higher percentage of uninsureds than we had previous to bringing Obamacare to Minnesota. Through the creation of MNsure, some 280,000 Minnesotans were forced off health plans they chose with doctors they liked. Now, just this week, MNsure announced that once again it would be delaying its enrollment deadline for some Minnesotans who qualify.
Dayton also mentioned same-sex marriage in a peculiar way, saying “Here in Minnesota, we greatly enhanced the well-being of many of our citizens by passing into law last year’s marriage equality legislation.” It just struck me as an interesting choice of words to use same-sex marriage as a tool to improve our “well-being.”
On the education front, the governor talked about having increased early childhood education scholarships to $46 million last year. One issue I have with this is the current system favors children in the metro area. We need to implement a statewide approach to the application process so we have greater access to funds in parts of the state like ours.
On another note, I mentioned in the column I submitted to area newspapers this week that we seem to be stuck in a weather pattern again this spring that’s not conducive to getting much outside work done.
According to the calendar, this week should be prime corn planting time, but little if any will get done because of the weather system that’s stalled overhead. Late planting usually means a wetter harvest and more crop-drying. No one wants to experience another round of propane shortages and sky-high prices like we saw last year. And if producers can’t secure enough propane at moderate prices to dry what might be another wet crop, they may forgo planting corn and switch to other crops, such as soybeans.
The next few weeks will be critical as we look for clearing skies and warmer temperatures. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that Mother Nature lightens up on us.