The House’s overall budget plan for the next two years was unveiled on Monday, setting the stage for work on a finished product to take full flight.
Some of the more notable components of the House proposal include $1.35 billion in tax relief for Minnesota families, $450 million in new funding for road and bridge infrastructure, and an overall budget target that ensures a sustainable level of state spending for the next biennium. House Republicans also are proposing $1.1 billion in new funding for K-12 schools compared to the 2016-2017 biennium. In total, the House budget limits government spending more than what the governor and the Senate each propose.
The investments proposed in road and bridge infrastructure throughout the state are major. In total, the proposal would invest $6 billion in Minnesota’s transportation infrastructure over the next 10 years. The House bill dedicates $12.5 million over each of the next two years to the popular small cities funding program which allocates dollars to cities with fewer than 5,000 residents for local road improvements. It also creates a special fund specifically for bridge projects.
The $450 million for road and bridge infrastructure throughout the state would come from redirecting existing transportation-related funding streams to a Transportation Priorities Fund. The fund would be made up of funding from the existing taxes on auto parts, repairs and rentals and leases.
As chairman of the House Higher Education and Career Readiness Policy and Finance Committee, I am closely involved with shaping that portion of the state budget. That omnibus bill was approved by our committee on Thursday night and it puts students first, with an emphasis on affordability, accessibility and accountability. Look for a full rundown of provisions in this bill and other parts of the budget soon as they make their way to the full House.
On a quick, final note, the provision I have authored to let the voter-approved referendum on a sales tax increase to support the Fergus Falls library project is included in the House’s omnibus property tax package.