The Minnesota House DFL on Monday released its budget targets that included $900 million over base funding for E-12 education. As anticipated, it eclipsed Gov. Tim Walz’s target of $733 million. After seeing what the DFL’s spending levels, the Senate GOP on Thursday released its plans, setting up end of session negotiations with a $206 million target over base for E-12.
During the news conference, Senate Finance Chair Julie Rosen (GOP-Vernon Center) indicated their plan would finance “1&0” on the formula.
The House DFL released the details for the $900 million target over the weekend. The Senate won’t release the details of their E-12 plan until April 8.
What we know at this point is that Gov. Walz and the House DFL align closely, both at 3 percent and 2 percent on the formula for the next biennium and both with a significant amount of special education funding aimed at holding each district’s cross-subsidy flat. Walz and the House DFL also continue the School Readiness Plus grants that were funded in the 2017 E-12 bill. Learn more about the Governor’s education plan
While the GOP plan looks sparse, and it is, the DFL plan requires a series of tax increases to rebuild the state’s general fund in order to support the more robust E-12 plans.
The Senate GOP continues to fund transportation projects out of the general fund. That alone gobbles up $530 million in available general fund revenue for the next biennium. Walz and the House DFL want to move those transportation obligation out of the general fund and pay for them with an increase in the gas tax.
Further down the road will be problems in the HHS arena when the provider tax blinks off and the health care access fund runs dry.
The Senate GOP’s tax conformity package will net $0 in new revenue. Walz and the House DFL plan to generate roughly $1.2 billion in tax revenue through federal conformity changes, gas tax and recapturing some of the tax cuts passed in the 2017 tax cut bill that Gov, Mark Dayton reluctantly signed into law.
With eight weeks left in the session they have a long chasm to bridge in terms of tax and spending plans and much is at stake for rural school districts and their ability to thrive.