Senate DFLers released their supplemental budget targets this week, prioritizing expanding education opportunities, investing in transportation, improving equity for workers and families, and moving Minnesota forward in a responsible way that keeps our budget stable into the future.
Some highlights of the Senate proposal include:
EDUCATION: The Senate plan dedicates $100.5 million to expanding education opportunities for Minnesota’s E-12 learners. These investments would improve teacher quality through training & development, fund voluntary pre-K, address Minnesota’s teacher shortage, and improve the currently low ratio of school counselors to students in schools across the state. In addition, the Senate plans to invest in student debt relief. In contrast, House Republicans proposed ZERO investment in E-12 and higher education in their targets, showcasing their lack of support for Minnesota schools.
RACIAL EQUITY: The Senate plan includes $91 million to support community-specific business grants and incubator services, workforce development programs, and community resilience initiatives to help tackle the prevalent racial disparities in Minnesota. In contrast, after putting off a special session to address racial disparities because they thought the issue was too expansive to tackle in one day, the Republican plan includes ZERO investment to improve racial equity.
PAID FAMILY LEAVE: The Senate plan includes paid family leave for all Minnesota workers so they can care for a new baby or a sick loved one. This builds on the Governor’s proposal to provide leave to state workers, and is in contrast with the Republican plan to continue making families choose between work and caring for their children and parents.
The Senate targets line up closely with Governor Dayton’s, and are in stark contrast with the House GOP plan, which favors tax cuts for corporations and under-investment in education and other priorities working families share. In fact, the GOP plan – (leftover from last session) to shift transportation funds and provide billions in tax cuts for big businesses – would turn the $900 million budget surplus into a $2 billion deficit. Speaker Daudt even admitted at a recent Tea Party event that the transportation plan would starve the general fund budget.
While we’re sure to see these budget numbers shift around as the legislative process moves forward, Senate Democrats have made it clear that they are prioritizing creating an economy that works better for everyone, not just the wealthy.