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For Immediate Release
March 17, 2020

Contact: Donald McFarland
Phone: 651-236-0494

Saint Paul, MN - "We made some hard choices last night and there will be more tough choices in the days to come. I am glad we are making our choices based on the best data, science, and math we have available. Because this is unprecedented, we need to have the courage to let our choices evolve as the situation evolves,” said Auditor Blaha.

On Monday, March 16th, Auditor Blaha joined the Minnesota Executive Council in unanimously extending the Governor's executive orders declaring a state of peace time emergency; closing schools to plan for a safe educational environment; protect residents of veterans homes; temporary closure of bars, restaurants, and other places of public accommodation; and provide immediate relief to employers and unemployed workers.

Auditor Blaha continued her statement, "The math teacher in me has to take a moment and acknowledge how this can feel. I know the rate of change of this situation can feel intense. The math of contagious illness is exponential, and exponential growth is hard for human brains to grasp. Exponential change starts slow then it leaps forward. Even if we can predict it, we need to act quicker than feels normal to flatten the curve. This is why temporarily closing our state's restaurants, bars, and other places of public amusement makes sense."

"Because many of our responses to the pandemic will cause real economic difficulties for many Minnesotans, we need to provide relief whenever possible. Extending the executive order increasing access to unemployment benefits for those impacted by our response was a key part of the decision to extend the closures."

"Regarding the decisions about schools, I understand why we didn’t close schools last week. But over the weekend, I could see educators were ready to figure out how to handle the closure. I could see that students and their families were willing to meet the challenge of the closure. I could see that the community was ready to support them. It was wise that Governor Walz, Lt. Governor Flanagan, and Commissioner of Education Ricker capitalized on that moment. Because of this action, we have a rare luxury in education - time to plan. Will it feel like enough? No, it never does. But, I believe our students will have better outcomes because of this approach."

"We also considered our veterans' well-being. There are 572 veterans in our Veterans Affairs Veteran Homes and they need our support. These are particularly tough choices to make, but they make sense. Those who fought for us deserve to be provided quality care. I am glad the order goes as far as needed, but doesn’t overreact and separate people at the end of life from their loved ones."

"We are taking the kind of action that communicates the seriousness of the situation, while providing concrete actions to flatten the curve and ease fears. I know that together, Minnesotans will rise to the occasion."

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The Office of the State Auditor is the constitutional office that oversees nearly $40 billion in local government finances for Minnesota taxpayers. The Office of the State Auditor helps to ensure financial integrity and accountability in local government financial activities. Julie Blaha is Minnesota’s 19thState Auditor. Follow us on Twitter @MNStateAuditor.

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