Potholes, preschools, prisons: Senate approves $209M in extra spending


The Minnesota Senate has approved a $209 million bill that would hike spending for dozens of state programs, including preschools, pothole patching, prisons, and pay raises for caregivers for the elderly and disabled.

The DFL-controlled chamber approved the measure 37-27 Tuesday after more than 20 failed attempts by Republicans to amend it. GOP lawmakers sought more tax relief, not additional spending. The final bill amounted to "a disappointing display of misplaced priorities,” Sen. Michelle Benson, R-Ham Lake, said.

The House approved a $322 million version of the bill last week, so negotiators from the two bodies will try to hammer out the differences before sending it to Gov. Mark Dayton after a Passover/Easter break.

The bill would effectively make a relatively small adjustment to a two-year, $39 billion budget the Legislature approved last year, the Pioneer Press notes.

The money for the extra spending would come from a projected $1.2 billion state surplus. Some of that surplus has been spent already – roughly one-third of it on a tax cut that benefits low- and middle-income earners and businesses.

Among the Senate legislation's provisions is one that provides a 5 percent pay raise for state-paid workers who aid many of Minnesota's 92,500 elderly and disabled. The help allows them to remain at home when nursing homes might be the only other option.

The Pioneer Press and Star Tribune note that the bill also contains:

– $41 million in new education funding, more half of that for pre-school programs

– $26 million for public colleges next year, $17 million of which for programs aimed at retaining "high-quality faculty and staff."

– $20 million to fix potholes, and $10 million to replace snow plows and buy other ice and snow removal equipment.

– $11 million to accommodate growth in the state prison population, including the cost of renting beds from county jails

– $9 million for training for a new teacher evaluation law to take affect statewide this year

– $3.5 million in additional money to pay for hot lunches for students who cannot afford them

Next Up

Dean Evason

Wild fall flat against Predators, lose first game of season

The Wild couldn't stay out of the penalty box in a 5-2 loss.

Screen Shot 2021-10-24 at 10.11.36 AM

Search for Wisconsin woman whose vehicle was found near Hinckley

Ashley L. Miller, 33, was reported missing on Sep. 24 after her vehicle was found without her in it.

Dak Prescott

Report: Dak Prescott will be 'ready to go' for matchup with Vikings

The Dallas quarterback is expected to be available for next Sunday's showdown.

Eddie Rosario

Where Eddie Rosario's championship series heroics rank since 2000

The former Twin put together an all-timer to help the Braves reach the World Series.

plane, Piper PA-32

2 dead after plane crashes near residence in rural Wisconsin

The aircraft also struck the house during the crash.

Screen Shot 2021-10-23 at 9.38.43 PM

1 dead after van crashes and lands on Highway 100 in Brooklyn Center

Northbound Highway 100 was shut down following the crash Saturday night.

Jess Peterson

Woman killed in crash ID'd as 'bad ass biker chick' with 'giving spirit'

The 30-year-old died in a motorcycle crash on Oct. 19.

Karl-Anthony Towns

Timberwolves' defense fuels win over Pelicans

The Wolves' have bought in on the defensive end as part of a 2-0 start.

Minnesota Wild

Ryan Hartman's OT goal helps Wild stay undefeated

The Wild improved to 4-0 with a win over the Ducks.

Mar'Keise Irving / Gopher Football

Gophers pound Maryland to stay in Big Ten West race

Four different players scored a rushing touchdown in a 34-16 victory over Maryland.