SAINT PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota House wrapped up a one-day special session early Saturday morning after approving a new two-year state budget. The compromise budget increases investments in education, protects funding for health care, and improves economic security for Minnesotans.
“Overall, this budget is a good compromise which delivers on many of the items most important to Minnesotans, including increased investments in education and protecting health care,” said Rep. Julie Sandstede (DFL – Hibbing). “Minnesota has one of just a couple of divided legislatures in the country, and looking to the future there’s certainly more to do, but I’m proud that we were able to come together to get this important work done.”
The budget includes increased funding for education, with an increase of two percent on the per-pupil formula each of the next two years. It also includes protection of 4,000 voluntary pre-kindergarten slots and $90 million to address the federal government’s failure to properly fund special education. Middle class families will see lower taxes with an increase in the Working Family Tax credit and an income tax cut. With increases in Local Government Aid and County Program Aid, and a fix to the Taconite Municipal Aid distribution formula, local governments will be able to better deliver critical services without increasing property taxes.
This session, Rep. Sandstede authored legislation to require 911 dispatchers be trained on performing CPR instruction over the phone, or to transfer emergency calls to an employee capable of providing such direction. In rural areas, where response times for first responders are long due to the distance they have to travel, this can make the difference between life and death. Where the first moments following cardiac arrest are critical, CPR delivery can triple a victim’s chance of survival. This initiative was passed as part of the Public Safety budget.
The budget includes $40 million for the state’s Border-to-Border Broadband Grant program over the next two years. These investments will take advantage of private investments to expand reliable, high-speed internet access to more schools, businesses, and homes.
Information on the legislation considered during the special session can be found here.
The 2020 legislative session is set to begin February 11.