This week, the House voted on a number of supplemental omnibus bills. Since the House’s budget targets are zero, any spending in these bills uses already existing resources—no new spending is in these bills.
On Monday, the House passed our K-12 and Higher Education bill. The bill contains a number of initiatives to improve Minnesota schools while ensuring that we can use the state’s $900 million budget surplus for roads and bridges and tax relief.
Included in the bill is a provision that addresses a fundamental disparity in revenue between metro and non-metro schools. Because of this provision, schools in our area will receive additional per-pupil funding to help offset the disparity in metro and non-metro school funding.
There was some concern regarding this provision as it could lead to a small property tax increase for districts in greater Minnesota. However, a compromise was reached that will allow school boards the option to adopt a resolution and allow for public input before accessing the equity revenue bump.
More specifically, equity revenue is an equalized levy, meaning it is funded through state aid and a local levy. In 2017, the state will be paying both the aid and levy portions. In 2018 and beyond, school districts will be required to opt-into the equity revenue adjustment by posting a public resolution and allowing for public input before adopting. It is very important to contact your local school board regarding this measure.
School in our area would see a per-pupil increase of $23 per student with this provision if local school boards approve.
In addition to the education bill, the House passed the supplemental Jobs, Agriculture, and Environment Bill this week. With this bill, we focused on increasing Minnesotans’ access to everyday necessities like clean water, broadband internet, housing and important reforms to promote private child care providers in rural Minnesota.
Along with these initiatives, the bill also addresses emerging issues like farm safety and livestock disease.
Finally, the House debated and approved the Health and Human Services, State Government Finance, and Public Safety Bill. Included in the bill is a provision that transitions Minnesota away from MNsure and to the federal exchange. It also includes several reforms to limit the state's ability to make future estate claims if someone is signed up for Medical Assistance and repeals the 2014 law allowing child care workers to be unionized.
Have a great weekend,