Gov. Mark Dayton issued his supplemental budget proposal indicating what he’d like the state to do with its $900 million surplus, setting up a debate over the next few weeks with legislators who might have different ideas.
Republican members of the House would like to use more of the surplus for transportation and for tax cuts, and less on spending for new programs.
Dayton’s proposal focuses money on his top priority project from last year, extending pre-K and early childhood education to more youngsters in Minnesota, for child care and for tax cuts aimed at the middle income.
Dayton also want to spend $100 million on building and extending broadband service in rural Minnesota. He also wants to direct $100 million toward erasing racial economic disparities, putting money into loans for minority- and women-owned businesses, into programs to help low income people buy their first home and into jobs training programs.
Dayton is keeping a $200 million cushion in his proposal for the state’s rainy day fund, recognizing that economic trends can slow down and cause problems similar to past deficits.
We don’t want to see this short session turn into a battle over this budget. There isn’t time for that. But there should be a good give and take. Legislators should indeed work on passing some kind of transportation program, however it is funded. We believe in expanding broadband capacity in outstate Minnesota. We think Minnesotans deserve some tax relief.
We hope it can be done this session.