Yesterday, the House passed finance bills related to the Legacy Amendment and higher education.
The Legacy bill (H.F. 707) was received strong support passing by a 131-0 vote. Legacy funding comes from proceeds of a constitutionally dedicated sales tax passed by Minnesota voters in 2008 to support clean water, arts, and cultural heritage projects.
The House bill appropriates $527 million in clean water, the arts, and maintaining cultural heritage throughout the state. Over $100 million of the bill goes directly to restore and protect Minnesota’s water. More than $30 million will go toward protecting drinking water, while another $22 million will provide buffer aid to counties.
There also are reforms in the bill, including a 5-percent reserve within each fund, providing some insulation for the funds if economic changes impact revenue.
The higher education funding package includes a partial tuition reduction for two-year state colleges.
The bill (S.F. 2214) provides $3.2 billion for institutions of higher education in our state, a $149.5 million increase over the current funding level. This includes $1.4 billion to the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, an increase of $93.6 million in 2018-19.
A main feature in the bill is a tuition freeze for two year state colleges during the 2017-18 school year and a 1-percent reduction in 2018-19. Tuition at state universities would be frozen in 2019.
Some measures of reform also are in this bill, including:
Today we are working on an Agriculture Finance and Policy bills. I will get back with more on those tomorrow.