After speech, Dayton must act

Daily Editorial Board

Gov. Mark Dayton delivered his fifth annual State of the State address on Thursday, offering a mix of accomplishments, goals and ambitions for Minnesota as a whole. But his plans for higher education across the state were particularly encouraging.
 
One focus of his speech discussed his desire to continue tuition freezes and “support needed increases in the state’s financial aid programs for Minnesota students.” 
 
And, by improving the University of Minnesota’s Medical School and veterinary research programs while offering millions of dollars for system-wide upgrades, Dayton claims that Minnesotan education will stay competitive. 
 
This comes just days after the governor recommended appropriating $100 million to the University in his bonding bill proposal, a wise use of the state’s massive budget surplus. 
 
While this proposal may not pass in the Legislature, we are pleased to hear that Dayton is doing everything in his power to ensure the University receives adequate financial support. 
 
But it’s not only about money. In his speech, Dayton mentioned his ambition to bridge Minnesota’s skills gap by increasing collaboration between business leaders, lawmakers and educators — rightly pointing out that there is no guarantee that the state will stay successful unless we continue preparing for the future by educating the next workforce with the skills they will need. 
 
We were pleased to hear the broad scope of Dayton’s plans for Minnesota and especially for higher education in general. Hopefully, he will deliver on his proposals so that Minnesota can continue to progress.