Minnesota lawmakers in the State Senate passed the first massive spending bill of the session on a bipartisan vote of 58-7 on Thursday.
The Omnibus Agriculture, Broadband and Rural Development Bill costs around $145 million dollars and funds ag programs. research, food shelves, tax credits for farmers that are selling their property and broadband internet expansions in rural communities.
The latter would receive $100 million dollars to spread broadband to unserved and underserved areas across the state.
One of those programs includes the Lower Population Density Grant Program, which would help fund 75% of rural broadband costs in communities that need it.
Minnesota Republican Senators Westrom and Lang both noted that they were disappointed that bill didn’t invest more. In January 2023, Governor Walz recommended $276 million for broadband.
The never ending story of short changing Broadband. I remember Margaret Kelliher requesting 200 million years ago to just get a good start. Now we have a 17 billion surplus and we can’t get it done.