MN House releases budget: broadband budget is $35 million, which includes funding for education connectivity

According to Minnesota Session Daily

With a focus of keeping government spending in line with family budgets, House leadership has released their budget adjustment targets Thursday.

A resolution to adopt them was approved 17-10 by the House Ways and Means Committee. Senate leadership is expected to release its targets next week.

The news isn’t good for broadband…

Broadband expansion

House Republicans are proposing $35 million to increase broadband in Greater Minnesota — $65 million less than Dayton is proposing.

Peppin said the $35 million would be more than the DFL put into broadband in the previous biennium when they controlled the House and Senate and Dayton was in office.

Thissen claims the Republican plan spends less on an annual basis than the initial investment DFLers made in 2014. “We know that the need is substantially greater, probably greater than the $100 million the governor has put in.”

Other changes

The proposal would add $11.67 million in jobs and energy, including $13 million in Fiscal Year 2017 and $15 million in Fiscal Year 2018 toward Minnesota’s Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant Program. The additional funding is to be offset by savings from other areas as determined by the committee.

Looks like that $35 million includes school broadband budgets…

Neither K-12 nor higher education would see no additional funds, under the proposal. However, an extra $50 million of additional K-12 spending would be offset by allowing school districts the option of early state loan repayment. Of that amount, $7 million would go toward expanding broadband access for schools and students in underserved areas.

(I’m assuming there’s a typo above – and that “Neither K-12 nor higher education would see additional funds” but the broadband numbers gels with other information I have. It sounds like they may be saying $35 million will be broken up in the following way:
$13 million for Border to Border grants in 2017
$15 million for Border to Border grants in 2018
$7 million for education (annual I hope, since that is what is needed).

This entry was posted in Funding, MN, Policy by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

I have a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science. I have been interested or involved in providing access to information through the Internet since 1994, when I worked for Minnesota’s first Internet service provider. I am pleased to be a part of the Blandin on Broadband Team. I also work with MN Coalition on Government Information, Minnesota Rural Partners, and the American Society for Information Science and Technology.

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