2014 session brought funding to PR, county
By Anna Erickson
House majority leader
Erin Murphy, DFL-St. Paul, stopped in Park Rapids to talk with the Enterprise about progress made for the state and, in particular, Park Rapids and Hubbard County.
“People are excited about education and we’ve made some progress in that area,” she said.
According to Murphy, during this session, the state paid back all the money borrowed from local schools by the previous legislature, increased funding for Park Rapids Area Schools by more than $900,000, including funding for all-day kindergarten for every child beginning this fall and froze tuition for students at all state college and universities while increasing financial aid.
“I think the story is really about what we delivered,” Murphy said. “We had a lot of bipartisan support to get things done.”
The legislature approved some taxpayer relief.
Murphy said 1,070 homeowners in Hubbard County will receive a bigger property tax refund. Statewide, $140 million was invested in property tax relief in 2013.
Since January 2013, Hubbard County’s unemployment rate fell from 10.9 percent to 7.7 percent, Murphy said.
“We really focused on jobs and the economy these last couple years,” she said. “I’m sensing a real optimism across the state.”
Other highlights for Park Rapids and Hubbard County include:
The Park Rapids Upper Mississippi Center for the Arts received $2.5 million in the bonding bill.
The state invested $20 million in high-speed internet development. This money will be used to work on infrastructure in underserved areas of the state.
The state increased funding for the Northwest Minnesota Initiative Foundation, which specializes in early childhood and entrepreneur development.
Murphy said many of the bills that passed had bipartisan support, which was good to see.
“We’ve been very lucky to be working together and I hope for more of that,” she said.