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House, Senate announce target of $293M in additional spending

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Both the Minnesota House and Senate have approved separate, differently-priced plans to spend more of the state's $1.2 billion surplus.

Now, they've settled on a number.

The Session Daily reports the two chambers announced a new target for a supplemental spending bill: $293 million.

The target number was announced by Sen. Richard Cohen, DFL-St. Paul, and Rep. Lyndon Carlson, DFL-Crystal, Thursday night. Both are co-chairs of the conference committee, which had been negotiating a compromise between the two different spending bills the House and Senate had passed.

“Our aim is to put this money back into common sense priorities that support Minnesotans," Cohen said in a prepared statement, according to Politics In Minnesota, "including pay equity for residential care workers and enhanced early childhood education.”

The specifics still haven't been finalized, but the Session Daily notes it includes additional spending for K-12 education and health and human services.

Politics In Minnesota digs deeper, saying the House and Senate agreed on a few things (such as an $80 million pay bump for home-care workers, and $30 million for the Department of Corrections). But some issues – such as funding for rural broadband – are touched on in one bill but not the other, the site says.

Cohen says the committee, according to Session Daily, was instructed to finish the supplemental spending by the end of the weekend.

The Original Bills

The two chambers were about $100 million apart when each introduced a supplemental spending bill in April.

The House approved (along party lines) another $322 million in spending, focused on “things that (Minnesotans) treasure – schools, caregivers, broadband, economic development, jobs and transportation,” House Speaker Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, said at the time.

About a week later, the Senate passed its own $209 million extra spending bill, including more funding for preschool programs, public colleges, pothole repair and hot lunches for students.

GOP lawmakers harshly criticized both.

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