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Week 12 was a week of hurried policy measures racing against the clock, but it was also a week of unveiling. The House GOP released its transportation plan and both the House GOP and Senate DFL released their budget targets, which will build the state’s two-year budget and carry several policy items.
The House GOP released a $7 billion, 10-year transportation package that invested in roads and bridges within existing sources of revenue. Meaning no new taxes. It calls for the creation of a new $3 billion “Transportation Stability Fund” using current sources of revenue (taxes on auto parts, rental vehicles, car leasing, etc.) as well as $2.25 billion in bonding, $1.2 billion from “MnDOT resource realignment, and $228 million in one-time general fund money.
Governor Dayton and Senate DFL leadership have proposed an $11 billion, 10-year plan that includes an increase in the wholesale gas tax, the metro area sales tax, and license tab fees.
The House GOP also released their budget targets and proposed a $39.949 billion budget for fiscal years 2016-17. This is a 1.7 percent increase in spending over the 2014-15 biennium, but a reduction in spending called for by current law. The budget plan is achieved by calling for approximately $2 billion in tax relief, a $1.1 billion reduction in health and human services spending, as well as spending cuts in other areas, including, jobs, economic development, state government finance, and environmental programs.
Governor Dayton’s is proposing a $43 billion budget that spends most of the state’s $1.9 billion budget surplus with only approximately $200 million in tax cuts.
The Senate DFL released their targets shortly after the House, positioning it between $43 billion budget and the House Republican $39.9 billion budget with a $42.7 billion budget of their own. Their plan calls for approximately $1.14 billion in new spending out of the projected $1.87 billion budget surplus and dedicates about half of that towards education. The Senate plan also calls for $200 million in tax cuts, likely targeted towards property tax relief, and would set also aside $250 million into the state’s budget reserve.
The legislature will be on its Easter/Passover break from Monday, March 30, 2015 until Tuesday, April 7, 2015.
Look for a mid-session update from BATC on industry-related issues in the coming days.