Republicans in the Minnesota Senate have proposed their own budget for Minnesota, following similar submissions by the House DFL and Gov. Tim Walz.
The Senate GOP has released a budget that at $47.631 billion, is less than the $49.8 billion proposed by the House DFL and the $49.3 billion proposed by Gov. Walz.
This will undoubtedly lead to ferocious negotiations as the DFL-led House and GOP-led Senate attempt to come to a compromise on a 2020-21 budget for Gov. Walz to sign later this session.
Here are some of the key points of the Senate GOP budget:
- No tax increases, which includes scrapping the 20 cent gas tax increase Gov. Walz and DFLers have proposed to introduce incrementally over the next two years to fund transportation improvements.
- Extending the health reinsurance program passed by the Legislature last year, which keeps healthcare premiums down by covering the cost of patients who incur "unusually high" healthcare bills. Democrats voted against this in the House earlier this month, describing it as a "giveaway" to insurance companies, while Gov. Walz instead wants to offer a public buy-in to MinnesotaCare to reduce healthcare costs.
- $8.19 billion of spending over the next two years on roads, bridges and transit.
- An increase of $900 million in spending on E-12 education over the next two years totaling $19.75 billion, which is less than the $20.4 billion proposed in the Minnesota DFL budget.
- $75 million to improve security at Minnesota schools.
- Budget increases in departments including Health & Human Services (up $1.65B), Judiciary and Public Safety (up $38M), Tax Expenditures ($81M), and Higher Education (up $66M).
- Budget cuts in several departments, Environment & Natural Resources ($90M less), Commerce and Consumer Protection ($142M less), Jobs and Economic Growth ($12M less), State Government ($146M less), Transportation ($94M less), and Veterans and Military Affairs ($1M less).
- Making it easier to set up and run a childcare facility by cutting regulations, creating an ombudsman for childcare providers, and offering grant funding.
- One-time funding of $25 million earmarked for populations and communities dealing with mental health challenges, while $4 million will be made available to expand access to treatment for opioid addiction.
You can see the full budget proposal here,
"Minnesota Republicans are going to produce a budget in the next two years that funds Minnesotans' priorities without raising taxes," said Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-Nisswa, on Thursday. "This is where we are and what we can do."
But Democratic leaders in the Legislature accused the GOP of "shortchanging" Minnesotans.
"The choices will be clear for Minnesotans: continue down the Republican path that prioritizes corporations, the wealthy, and health insurance companies; or the DFL budget that will make honest investments in the things Minnesotans value: affordable health care, great schools, safe & inclusive communities, and reliable roads, bridges, and transit," said House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler.