Dayton's new budget prioritizes preschool – and saving some money (just in case)

It adds $100M in pre-school funding.
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Expanding early education, protecting water, and extending rail transportation are all part of the new supplemental budget proposal Gov. Mark Dayton's office released Friday.

This proposal comes after last month's budget forecast showed the state with a $1.65 billion budget surplus, and builds on the governor’s earlier $45.8 billion budget plan.

Here's a look at some of the things he thinks we should be spending the money on.

Dayton's No. 1 priority: Education

Dayton, a Democrat, says his top priority is increasing funding for early education.

His original budget (when the surplus was projected to be a little lower) designated $75 million to help families pay for preschool. This new revised budget calls for $100 million be added to that.

According to a news release, the $175 million would give 12,900 more Minnesota 4-year-olds access to voluntary pre-K.

Protecting water

The supplemental budget also allows more money to be spent protecting Minnesota's waters.

The initial tax bill included $10 million a year to help farmers and local governments with putting in water quality buffers. The latest proposal calls for an additional $10 million to start that funding in 2017.

You can learn more about buffers here.

Expanding rails

The latest proposal includes $3 million for a six-month demonstration of rail service from Minneapolis to St. Cloud.

Currently, the Northstar line connects Minneapolis to Big Lake. There are ways for St. Cloud residents to get to the train, but this demonstration would extend the line all the way there.

The idea is to allow MnDOT and the community an opportunity to demonstrate the need for continued rail service between the two communities.

And saving up

Dayton also proposes big investments "for a rainy day."

Dayton says he wants to save $200 million "in a contingency savings account, recognizing the uncertainties surrounding the federal budget and its implications for Minnesota.”

Dayton's budget also includes funding for law enforcement, fighting Minnesota's opioid epidemic, and flooding help. You can read all about that and more here. You can see the budget outlined in more detail here.

 The Minnesota Senate Republicans also recently 2017 budget targets. Those prioritize healthcare, transportation and tax relief. That's all organized in a table here.

What happens next

Dayton's proposal isn't a decree – it's up to Minnesota lawmakers in the state House and Senate to decide how the money should be used.

Both of those chambers have a majority of Republicans. But even if they agree on a plan doesn't mean it will become law.

Dayton can veto a bill that is passed by the House and Senate and gets to his desk. Lawmakers would then need tow-thirds of each chamber's members to vote to override the veto. Otherwise the bill doesn't become law.

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