~Includes Livestock Investment Credit~
ST. PAUL – State Representative Dean Urdahl, R-Grove City, commended Governor Tim Pawlenty for offering a fiscally responsible budget proposal that funds Minnesota’s priorities.
“I thought the governor gave us a good proposal,” Rep. Urdahl said. “It is a good starting point from which the legislature can work,” he added.
Included in the budget proposal is the Livestock Investment Credit which would offer a 10 percent tax credit for new investments in dairy farms.
“I lobbied for the governor to include this and I’m extremely pleased to see that he wants to support the dairy industry,” Rep. Urdahl said.
The governor’s budget proposes $29.6 billion in state government spending for the 2006-2007 biennium. The plan increases overall state spending by $1.6 billion, or 5.8 percent. Much of the increase will go to K-12 and higher education. Under the governor’s Quality Compensation (QComp) proposal, school would have the option of levying more money if they choose to pay teachers based on performance and student achievement.
The governor’s largest proposed increase over current budget levels goes to health and human services. Pawlenty wants to raise government health care spending by 15 percent to $7.9 billion. That increase, Rep. Urdahl said, should be large enough to help Minnesota’s most vulnerable citizens.
Pawlenty’s budget proposal is the traditional starting point for state budget negotiations. Legislators now wait for the state economists to release the February forecast, which will provide the most accurate revenue projections from which to build the budget. In December, economists estimated a $700 million budget deficit for the 2006-2007 biennium.
“The economy is improving and state revenues are actually going up,” Rep. Urdahl said. “We just need to do a better job controlling state spending, especially in the health care area.”
A detailed breakdown of the governor’s proposal can be found at www.governor.state.mn.us.