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Sen. Torrey Westrom: Strong February forecase is good news and redefining marriage

The February forecast released Thursday, Feb. 28 shows a projected fiscal year 2014-15 budget deficit of $627 million. This is an improvement of $463 million from the November budget forecast that showed a project budget deficit of $1.1 billion.

This is great news for Minnesota and taxpayers. It proves that a responsible approach to government spending and living within your means works. Under Republican leadership the past few years, the legislature was able to manage and improve Minnesota’s financial outlook by growing our economy and jobs without raising taxes. Unemployment has dropped from 7 percent to 5.5 percent, and 55,000 new jobs were created in Minnesota last year.

Governor Dayton’s plan to raise $3.7 billion by taxing incomes, business to business services, and everyday items like clothing, haircuts, and new taxes on small businesses is unreasonable to close a $627 million deficit. We will continue to work together at the legislature to put Minnesota’s economy on a forward path and not saddle families and future generations with the DFL’s “all tax” budget proposal that primarily looks to more taxes to balance the budget.

Same sex marriage also dominated discussions – on Thursday, Feb. 27, proponents of same-sex marriage introduced their bill that will allow same-sex marriage in Minnesota. Current Minnesota law defines marriage between a man and a woman. I have long supported this law and affirm traditional marriage and families as the best design for raising children. Anything that attempts to undermine this sacred institution is something I do not support.

Representative Paul Anderson (Glenwood) and I will host a series of town hall meetings in a number of District 12B locations March 8th and 9th. The meetings are free to attend and will take place in an informal setting. Attendees will have an opportunity to discuss a wide variety of legislative issues, from the state budget to gun control, health care, new taxes and more.

March 8 schedule:

• Sauk Centre: 1 to 2 p.m., Jitters Java Café, 403 Main St. S.

March 9 schedule:

• Glenwood: 9 to 10 a.m., Lakeside Ballroom, 180 S. Lakeshore Drive

• Melrose: 10:45 to 11:30 a.m., City Center, 225 1st. St. N.E.

• Freeport: 1 to 1:45 p.m., Charlie’s Café, 115 Main St. E.

• Albany: 2:15 to 3 p.m., Hillcrest Family Restaurant, 1004, Shamrock Lane

I would like to thank everyone that came to the town hall meetings on Feb. 22. It was a great turnout and I appreciated all your input! Also, please take time to complete my online survey if you didn’t get a chance to take my survey at the town all meetings: