Minnesota senators are set to vote on a spending plan that devotes more money to preschool programs, financial aid for college students and allowances for caregivers for the disabled and elderly. The plan to be debated Tuesday would draw the money from the remaining state budget surplus.
The Minnesota House has approved a budget plan that would spend another $322 million of the state’s surplus. Debate went late into the night Thursday as lawmakers, mostly minority Republicans, offered some 40 amendments.
Minnesota’s Democratic-controlled House is considering a budget that spends another $322 million of the state’s surplus. Before discussion of the package began on Thursday, DFL leaders touted increased money for K-12 schools, caregivers for the elderly and disabled and roads battered by winter.
Caregivers for the elderly and disabled scored a major victory Monday when lawmakers from both parties in the Minnesota House and Senate committed to a 5 percent state rate increase aimed at preserving quality care for more than 92,000 people.
Officials with Minnesota’s new health insurance marketplace say their preliminary budget for 2015 will be balanced without seeking new federal or state money. MNsure Interim CEO Scott Leitz told reporters Wednesday that the proposed $39.8 million budget for next year is based on the assumption that the federal government will let the exchange carry over $5 million in federal grants that have already been awarded but not spent.
This year it’s not a matter of if there will be tax cuts for Minnesotans; the only question is by how much. Lawmakers are busy coming up with ways to use the state’s billion-dollar-plus surplus. Minnesota’s economy this election year is generating the kinds of jobs and tax revenues not seen in years.
A tantalizing Minnesota budget surplus has stirred talk of tax cuts or funding bumps for prized programs and infrastructure upgrades, but a less-flashy option also has gained some currency: saving some to prepare for the next economic downturn.
The Minnesota House quickly passed a bill Tuesday to send emergency heating aid to people suffering through the brutal winter, setting a rapid pace on the first day of what could be a quick legislative session.
Gov. Mark Dayton is pitching almost $1 billion in bonds for the state to take on to fund improvements in areas like higher education and infrastructure in Minnesota. Dayton introduced his proposal for a $986 million bonding bill for the state in the 2014 budget Wednesday.
Some Minnesota school districts say they are at a disadvantage in paying for basic maintenance because the state allows only a small number of districts to raise taxes without voter approval. A special committee will make recommendations to the Legislature in February on how and whether the system should be changed.
Minnesota city and county governments have a good reason to wait until after the holidays to do any major shopping: Starting Jan. 1, much of the stuff they buy will be tax-free.
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Gov. Mark Dayton says Minnesota’s newly announced $1 billion budget surplus should be used to repeal three controversial planned sales tax increases and for middle class tax relief. The first $246 million of the budget surplus that state officials announced Thursday goes to settling remaining IOUs to schools.
Minnesota finance officials are predicting a state budget surplus of more than $1 billion. That estimate released Thursday means the state can fully pay the remaining IOUs to public schools that piled up during tougher budget times.