Greetings Friends & Neighbors,
As you are likely aware, the 89th legislative session began with swearing in ceremonies last January 6th.
Since that time, approximately 475 new bills have already been introduced into the House Chamber. These bills will be moving through the committee process during the next several weeks and we should likely expect another 1,500 bill introductions or more before committee deadlines approach by the end of March. Many of these bills may not get committee hearings as that is largely at the discretion of the chair of each respective committee.
This week, Governor Dayton announced his budget plan for fiscal years 2016-2017. Fiscal year 2016 begins on July 1, 2015 and ends June 30, 2016. Final budget forecasts will be issued next month and all budgets and negotiations will be based upon those forecasts.
The highlights of the Governor's proposal is to increase all-funds spending by another $6.9 billion over the current biennium from $70.4 billion to $77.2 billion for FY 2016-2017.
In addition, he proposes to increase general fund spending by $3 billion and proposes to increase taxes by another $903 million.
A comparison shows that the governor's plan will increase state general fund spending by $6.9 billion and all-funds spending by $13.5 billion over FY 2011-2012 if approved.
Highlights of the governor's proposal for FY 2016-2017 are as follows;
Increase per pupil formula K-12 education spending $373 million dollars
Spend $ 109 million toward providing 31,000 four year olds access to free pre-K learning
$ 93 million dollars towards expanded State Grant programs for college students
$ 13 million dollars to make corrections and repairs to the MnSure roll-out problems
Impose a 6.5% tax on the wholesale price of gasoline ( this would automatically increase or decrease based upon crude oil prices).
There will be likely much debate on spending priorities as the session progresses in the areas of transportation, property tax relief, local aids and credits to cities, towns, townships and counties, local pension aids and much more.
I will provide another budget update after the February budget forecasts are issued by the Department of Revenue.
Please enjoy the weekend and the Super Bowl if you are a football fan!
Rep. Jerry Hertaus