Sen. Carla Nelson, legislature pass final bipartisan balanced budget agreement

Bills fund the priorities of Minnesotans, including education, middle-income tax cuts, and more

Senator Carla Nelson (R-Rochester) joined her legislative colleagues in the nation’s only divided legislature to pass a balanced, two-year budget that funds state government and the priorities of Minnesotans. The bipartisan agreement includes eleven separate pieces of legislation to fund everything from state government agencies and public education, to tax cuts for middle-income families and consumer services. Governor Tim Walz plans to sign the bills into law this week.

“The Senate, House, and Governor Walz reached a bipartisan budget agreement that puts Minnesota families first,” said Senator Nelson, who serves as Chair of the Senate E-12 Education Committee, responsible for overseeing over 40 percent of the Minnesota state budget. “The education budget focuses on students, providing new resources for schools through the per student formula – the best way to deliver funding with local control to our schools. Additionally, our schools need security upgrades and we prioritized funding for safe and secure schools.”

In the historic education funding bill chief-authored by Senator Nelson, Minnesota schools will receive an increase to the per-student funding formula of two percent in each of the next two years – a major investment that amounts to an increase of nearly $4.2 million for Rochester Public Schools. The legislature also approved $90 million to help cover the rising costs of special education and $30 million for flexible safe schools revenue that local districts can use for “hard security” upgrades to schools, as well as for professionals that help keep our students safe – like school counselors, psychologists, nurses, and school resource officers.

In the health and human services sector, Minnesota will spend more than $15 billion over the next two years on health care and social services. The budget includes new prescription drug transparency requirements, an insulin program for individuals in need, and funding for mental health services. In addition, the successful health insurance premium security program will remain in place – a proven method for lowering health insurance rates for families, farmers, and small businesses.

Minnesota families will see the first middle-income tax cut in nearly two decades. In addition  the standard deduction is doubled to conform with the Federal tax code. Also, the state will reinstate the previously successful Angel Investor Tax Credit, a measure championed by Senator Nelson proven to attract investment in Minnesota-based startup companies focused on developing new technology.

Further, the legislature invested billions in Minnesota’s transportation infrastructure – without raising the gas tax, vehicle sales tax, or license plate tab fees. Compared to the previous budget, an additional $275 million will be appropriated for statewide road construction, delivery, and maintenance. The Departments of Transportation and Public Safety will be audited to ensure accountability and transparency and a long-term fix for the fatally-flawed MNLARS program will begin development.

Finally, the legislature passed an additional $40 million for rural broadband expansion, more funding to protect the state against cybersecurity threats, additional funding for dozens of new corrections officers, and an investment in workforce training programs and technical education programs, an effort championed by Senator Nelson. In higher education, the budget includes a tuition cap at both the University of Minnesota and Minnesota State systems, the expansion of affordable associate degrees that do not require the purchase of expensive textbooks, and funding the state grant program for low-income students at all Minnesota higher education institutions.

“Through working across the aisle and recognizing the needs of Minnesotans, we passed a balanced, bipartisan compromise  budget,” concluded Senator Nelson. “I look forward to Governor Walz signing these bills into law in the coming days.”