Transportation, higher education and K-12 omnibus finance bills for the state’s next two-year budget are among the packages the House has approved in recent days.
The transportation bill (H.F. 861) provides the framework for a 10-year, $6 billion increase in transportation funding without raising the gas tax, metro sales tax or increasing license tab fees. This includes $2.1 billion toward our transportation needs over the next two years alone, with an emphasis on roads and bridges.
Key points include:
The House also has approved a partial tuition reduction for two-year state colleges as part of the higher education omnibus finance package I authored as chairman of that respective House committee.
The bill (S.F. 2214) provides $3.2 billion in General Fund appropriations, which is a $149.5 million increase over the current biennial total. This includes $1.4 billion to the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, an increase of $93.6 million in 2018-19. It freezes tuition for two-year state colleges during the 2017-18 school year and provides a 1-percent reduction in 2018-19. Tuition at state universities would be frozen in 2019.
The core objective in our committee has been to put students first and this bill accomplishes that. With tuition costs rising across the country, we are working to make sure middle-class families can afford a quality education for their kids.
In addition to the Minnesota State system, the bill also funds:
The K-12 finance package (H.F. 890) approved by the House combines $1.1 billion in increased funding with reforms, targeting dollars toward proven early learning initiatives.
Top provisions beyond the $1.1 billion funding increase include: