Minnesota Senate Republicans released their budget targets for the 2017 session today making healthcare, transportation and tax relief their top priorities. Senate leaders committed $900 million for the tax bill to deliver a permanent tax cut for all Minnesota income taxpayers and several initiatives to hold down property taxes and spur economic growth in Greater Minnesota. They also plan to boost transportation funding with $570 million in new permanent spending per biennium. Taking care of people is also a priority for Senate Republicans with a $2.223 billion increase to the Health and Human Services budget.
“The budget we bring forward reflects the values and priorities of our Advancing Minnesota agenda – tax relief, transportation and healthcare,” said Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka. “This budget proposal combined with a new positive tone at the Capitol should give everyone optimism about finally making progress on the issues that matter to all Minnesotans.”
Now that the targets have been set, Senate finance committees will begin the work of putting together their individual budget bills. The deadline for bills to be out of finance committees is March 31, 2017.
Other highlights of the Senate targets:
- Republicans propose spending $1.144 billion more in E-12 Education over the last biennium. That represents a $300 million increase over the forecasted amount for local schools.
- Higher Education will see an $88.3 million increase focused on workforce development and helping students with student loan debt.
- The $570 million target for new, permanent transportation spending does not include additional one-time money planned for roads and bridges.
- The spending decrease in Jobs and Economic Development is the result of one-time spending in this area in the 2016-17 budget. Spending for 2018-19 is actually $10 million over the current forecast.
- The spending decrease in Veterans and Military Affairs is the result of one-time spending in this area in the 2016-17 budget. Spending for 2018-19 is actually $1 million over the current forecast.
“The next few weeks will require senators, stakeholders, and the public to work together to advance a strong budget for all Minnesotans,” added Senator Julie Rosen (R-Vernon Center), Chair of the Senate Finance Committee.