Last week, State Sen. Jeremy Miller (R-Winona) received his committee assignments for the 2013 legislative session.

Miller, who was elected to his second term in the Minnesota Senate in November, will serve as the top Republican member on the Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee.

He will also serve on the Finance Committee, the Transportation and Public Safety Committee and the Capital Investment Committee.

"I am pleased with my assignments. I look forward to working on transportation, public safety, budget and bonding policies. I am particularly honored to serve as the Ranking Republican Member on the Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee. Higher education and workforce development issues are important to our district, and I'm eager to continue my work in this policy area," commented Miller.

Miller and his colleagues in the Legislature have their work cut out for them when the 2013 legislative session begins on Jan. 8.

Although the state budget forecast released in December unveiled a total positive balance of over $2.5 billion for the current biennium, it also projected a $1.1 billion deficit for the 2014-15 biennium.

Balancing the state's budget for the next two-year budget calendar is expected to be the primary focus this year at the State Capitol.

"During the last biennium, we took a $6.2 billion deficit and turned it into a $2.5 billion positive balance by making our government more effective and efficient. We filled the budget reserves and the cash flow account.

"The surplus also allowed us to pay back the entire amount shifted from schools to help balance the 2012-13 budget and half of the shift incurred under former legislative majorities," Miller stated.

"While negative economic favors continue to affect our state, we need to redouble our efforts to better our business climate to encourage entrepreneurs, give confidence to existing businesses to expand, and welcome new companies into the state.

"We are prepared to look for efficiencies in the budget to live within the state's existing means," Miller continued.

"My main concern is that we solve the state's budget problems without a disproportionate impact on any single group or interest and without balancing the budget on the backs hard working Minnesota families and businesses."

Miller was re-elected in November to the newly reconfigured Senate District 28, which includes Fillmore, Houston and Winona counties. Miller welcomes comments and questions and can be reached by telephone at (651) 296-5649, by mail at 135 State Office Building, St. Paul, MN 55155, or via e-mail at sen.jeremy.miller@senate.mn.