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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Ben Lien (DFL)

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Legislative Update - May 21, 2019

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Greetings from the Floor,
Legislative leaders met with Gov. Walz all week on agreements for global budget targets.  These agreements formed the basis for all of the budget bills the Legislature must pass for the next biennium.  The agreements were made on Sunday afternoon with a press conference to announce the numbers on Sunday evening.  This was great news, and provided a road map for the conclusion of the 2019 legislative session.  This also meant a Special Session will have to be called in order to give conference committees and staff time to put all the bills together as the constitutional adjournment for this year’s session was Monday evening at midnight. 
The overall budget number agreements, and some policy items, were as follows:

  • Agriculture and Housing                                            $59.5 million
    • $40 million for broadband development
  • E-12 Education                                                           $540 million
    • 2% formula increases in each fiscal year of the next biennium
  • Economic Development                                              $10 million
  • Environment and Natural Resources                          $13.8 million
  • Health and Human Services                                       -$357.9 million
    • provider tax that funds MinnesotaCare reduced from 2% to 1.8% without any sunsets
  • Higher Education                                                        $150 million
  • Public Safety                                                               $125 million
  • State Government                                                       $63.4 million
  • Transportation                                                             $93.5 million
    • no gas tax increase
  • Taxes                                                                           $0
    • any new revenue that comes from federal conformity must go to tax cuts on the second income tax tier and the State General Levy, which is a property tax assessed on commercial/industrial and seasonal/recreational properties
  • General Obligation Bonding debt service                  $27.8 million
    • this would allow for a $440 million Capital Investment Bill (an additional $60 million in Housing Infrastructure Bonds would be a part of the Capital Investment Bill)
  • The Higher Education Bill was the only piece of the state budget that we passed before the constitutional adjournment deadline.  Here are some details of the bill:
  • $18.2 million for the State Grant program
  • $64.5 million for Minnesota State operations and maintenance
    • $81.5 million in total new appropriations to Minnesota State
  • $43.5 million in total new appropriations for the University of Minnesota
  • 3% tuition caps at both the Minnesota State and University of Minnesota systems

The plan is to have a Special Session later this week to complete the state budget work.  This, of course, is incumbent on the remaining conference committee work wrapping up over the next couple of days.
Several bills were passed during the final week of session.  The most notable bill was:

  • HF2796: labor agreements and compensation plans for the Minnesota Law Enforcement Association

Thank You for the Opportunity to Serve,

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