MN House, Senate and Governor Walz agree to a spending deal

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports…

Gov. Tim Walz and top Democratic and GOP lawmakers arrived at a hard-fought spending deal Sunday without the controversial gas tax hike the governor wanted, but with schools gaining significantly more money than Republicans had sought.

The compromise, ending a weekslong impasse, boosts the general fund overall by 6% but each side had to jettison priorities — Walz is denied much of the new revenue he wanted for road improvements, while a health care tax that Republicans sought to end survives largely intact.

Walz agreed to slightly trim the 2% tax on health care services in Minnesota that was set to expire this year, one of the central sticking points in the negotiations. Under the deal, the tax will be extended at a rate of 1.8%.

“This is a budget that invests in education, health care and community prosperity in a fiscally responsible manner,” Walz said. “Today we prove that divided government can work for the betterment of the people we serve.”

Conference Committee for SF2226 (Omnibus agriculture department, rural development, and housing finance bill), the Omnibus that includes broadband funding is scheduled to meet tonight at 10:30. If I were more certain that it was going to happen or that I could get close parking, I’d attend. As it stands I’m waiting for more news.

Yesterday there was concern about the budget. I’ll keep the info below for archival purposes but given they have agreed on a budget this news is now

The Register Citizen reports…

The Minnesota Senate on Saturday approved a Republican plan for preventing a state government shutdown if the Legislature’s budget stalemate persists, throwing down a challenge to House Democrats and Gov. Tim Walz to either agree or take the blame for a shutdown when the current budget expires June 30.

“Keep Minnesota open,” Senate Republicans shouted at a news conference shortly after the 35-31 party line vote, which came as Monday night’s adjournment deadline loomed ever closer with no deal in sight. That makes a special session almost inevitable, though top legislative leaders and the governor kept searching behind closed doors for a way forward.

Not a lot of info on how the budgets are going…

The top negotiators — Walz, Republican Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka and Democratic House Speaker Melissa Hortman — have largely maintained their “cone of silence” since Monday, so it hasn’t been clear what their remaining differences over taxes, spending and policy might be.

The Democrats have little to gain by to accepting the “lights on” proposal at this point, given that Republicans would have few incentives to keep negotiating. But the move scored political points for the GOP.

The wouldn’t be great for broadband…

“What this is, is a new two-year budget for the state of Minnesota,” Bakk said of the bill, which fits on one page. He said the bare bones approach would mean foregoing increased educational opportunities, higher local property taxes, fewer correctional officers in the state’s prisons and no new broadband funding for rural Minnesota.

Sen. Carla Nelson denied that the bill is meant to be the state’s next two-year budget.

“This is the backup plan,” the Rochester Republican said. “This is the Plan B should our leaders come to some sort of stalemate.”

 

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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