Gov. Walz to share his budget proposal in Tuesday news conference

The announcement is scheduled for noon.
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Gov. Tim Walz on Tuesday will share his budget proposal for the upcoming biennium. 

According to a news release, Walz will announce his "COVID-19 recovery budget" in a news conference at noon. It will be streamed on the governor's YouTube page here.

The State of Minnesota is projected to face a $1.27 billion deficit for the two-year budget that begins July 1, but state leaders are confident the picture will improve when another budget forecast is released in February. Additional federal aid could also improve the state's outlook.

The governor's budget is expected to top $50 billion, the Pioneer Press says. Walz on Monday announced an education plan focused on eliminating disparities, which is expected to be a big part of his proposal, as well as providing assistance to small businesses and working families that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

It has also been reported that Walz may propose tax increases, which is always a sticking point among Republicans. Instead, GOP leaders have suggested a little less spending and dipping into the state's rainy day fund to balance the budget. 

“Proposing tax hikes is shockingly tone-deaf after Minnesota families and businesses have endured nearly a year of the governor’s shutdowns and constantly-changing executive orders. The governor knows they have no chance of becoming law. We are ready to roll up our sleeves to pass a bipartisan budget that funds our priorities while asking government to tighten its belt to close the budget deficit without tax increases,” House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, said in a statement Monday night. 

Meanwhile, Axios in its morning newsletter on Tuesday said Walz's plan will include a fund to reimburse cities for "unanticipated public safety costs," like those related to the civil unrest in Minneapolis and St. Paul last summer. This will also surely be a non-starter among Republicans who have been critical of Minneapolis' response to the riots and efforts to revamp the police department. 

The governor's budget proposal will start the months-long debate between the DFL-controlled House and Republican-controlled Senate as they work to agree on a state budget while also balancing the projected deficit before the current budget expires on June 30. 

If they don't agree on a budget before the legislative session ends on May 17, they will have to return to the state Capitol for a special session to pass a budget. This has become commonplace in budget years to avert a government shutdown. In four of the past five budget years, a special session was required to pass budget bills. 

Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB) Commissioner Jim Schowalter, Department of Employment and Economic Department (DEED) Steve Grove, Minnesota Department of Revenue (DOR) Robert Doty and Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) Deputy Commissioner Heather Mueller will join the governor at the news conference. 

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The news conference is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Sunday.