Our initial work on the Minnesota House’s budget proposal is complete, having passed our last budget bill on the House floor this Tuesday. As Chair of the House Ways & Means, all of the work done in our finance divisions had to be approved by the committee before heading to the House floor. Having reviewed our budget, I can say that these compiled bills set us on the right path to building a stronger Minnesota.
Here’s an update on the highlights of the House DFL’s budget.
Every child deserves a world-class education, and our E-12 education budget invests in students, schools, and communities across the state. This bill was a high priority of the House DFL, and the first budget bill we approved this year. Highlights on the bill include:
We’re investing in our students so that they’re supported inside and outside the classroom, ensuring that communities across the state have access to resources such as mental health, housing, and the community services needed to be successful in school.
- Increase in per-pupil funding, 3% in 2020, 2% in 2021
- Protected access to Pre-K programs for over 4,000 children
- Expansion of courses for students to earn college credits and develop technical skills
Jobs & Energy
Our Jobs & Energy budget takes significant steps in protecting Minnesota’s families and investing in our workforce. This budget contains several top priorities for the DFL House, including Paid Family & Medical Leave and Earned Sick & Safe Time, which allows our workers to take time off to care for their children, family members, or themselves.
We’re also expanding Minnesota’s clean energy economy. As one of the fastest-warming states in the country, it’s important that we take on the issue of climate change with new and innovative ideas, which is why we’re setting the goal of committing to 100% clean energy by 2050.
Health and Human Services
For too long drug companies have brought in record profits as Minnesotans struggle to afford their medication. We’re fighting to make sure the state of Minnesota is leveraging its purchasing power to lower drug prices, and to ensure that those who can’t afford their life-saving medication have access to those drugs. Our Health and Human Services budget puts patients ahead of profits, expanding access to quality affordable health care and prescription drugs.
Minnesotans deserve real tax reform, the kind that creates a tax code that’s fair for everyone and works to build a better state. To that end the House DFL is providing benefits for Minnesota’s working families through tax cuts and investments, including the Working Family Credit that will provide $80 million in tax cuts to over 380,000 Minnesotans. We’re also investing in:
- Social Security tax cuts
- Increases to tax credits for small businesses
- Direct property tax assistance
Agriculture & Housing
Minnesota’s agricultural economy is vast and varied, and our Agriculture & Housing budget reflects that. We’re increasing food access, investing in urban and youth agriculture programs, and establishing the state industrial hemp industry. For housing, we’re addressing homelessness, building more workforce housing, and creating a path to home ownership and stability for Minnesota’s families.
Minnesotans expect our roads and bridges to be safe and efficient, but too much of our transportation infrastructure has been ignored for too long. This isn’t an issue that can be put off any longer. We’ve been sent to St. Paul to help build a better Minnesota, not to look the other way and hope our roads and bridges fix themselves. The House DFL has crafted an honest budget that’s making significant and sustainable investments in all forms of transportation across the state.
You can read WCCO’s coverage on the gas tax here: Reality Check: Where Does All The Gas Tax Money Go?
Public Safety & Judiciary
The Public Safety & Judiciary budget was crafted through a community-centered lens where Minnesotans are kept safe, justice is better ensured, and a pathway beyond incarceration is clear.
Minnesotans have been loud and clear that they want their legislators to find common-sense solutions to gun violence, like the criminal background checks and the extreme risk protection orders that are in this bill. This shouldn’t be a partisan issue, in fact multiple Republican governors and legislators in seven states have helped enact gun violence prevention measures since 2018. This has been and will continue to be a source of contention, but inaction is not the answer.
All Minnesotan’s deserve access to an affordable, quality post-secondary education, but these days too many students are putting off buying a home or starting a family because of the hindrance of students loans. Our plan for improving higher education in Minnesota consists of freezing tuition at all of the state’s two and four-year public colleges and universities, and increasing financial support for working families by investing additional funds in the state grant program.
Environment & Natural Resources
The House Environment and Natural Resources budget takes on long-term environmental issues such as combating the emerald ash borer, managing aquatic invasive species, and controlling the outbreak of chronic wasting disease. We’re also planting one million trees over the next four years and investing in the management of our parks and trails, as well as our fish and wildlife. The great outdoors is one of the richest resources Minnesota has to offer, and it’s incredibly important that we preserve and protect it for future generations.
Our final budget bill to pass off the House floor focused on funding our state government, supporting our veterans, and innovating and protecting our elections. Highlights of this legislation includes incorporating the full $6.6 million in federal funds to protect Minnesota’s elections, while also making the path to the ballot box easier and more accessible for voters.
What Comes Next?
Our colleagues in the Minnesota Senate have gone through the same budget process, but produced a much different product. House and Senate members will now begin to negotiate priorities in conference committees for each of the areas above, with the goal of bringing consensus legislation back to the House and Senate floors for approval. I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to send a budget to Governor Walz that invests in Minnesota in a way that moves us all forward.
Stay In Touch
We’re in the final weeks of session, but there’s still a great deal of work to be completed, and I want to hear from you. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with any questions you might have about our work at the State Capitol. You can always reach me at (651) 296-4255, or at email@example.com.