Three items. Regarding the first, you may recall that during the Pawlenty administration Local Government Aid was slashed, to the point that local governments had to hike taxes on businesses just to provide basic services. And believe it or not, Party of Trump legislators want to go down that road again, though in less flagrant ways this time around.
The Governor’s proposal—by virtue of its larger appropriation increase in 2018 and by the fact that it does not rescind that increase in 2019—provides larger aid increases for more cities in both 2018 and 2019 than either the House or Senate proposals. For example, 679 cities receive an aid increase relative to current law in both 2018 and 2019, and for 532 of these cities, or 78 percent, the increase exceeds two percent. No city experiences an aid reduction relative to current law in either 2018 or 2019 under the Governor’s proposal.
To this point, the analysis in this proposal has been in nominal dollars (i.e., dollars unadjusted for inflation). Because inflation erodes the purchasing power of LGA over time, it is important to examine the change in aid in real (i.e., inflation-adjusted) dollars.‡ Only the Governor’s proposal provides LGA funding sufficient to maintain the real purchasing power of LGA dollars at the 2017 level in both 2018 and 2019 for a significant number of Minnesota cities.
(North Star Policy Institute)
A conference committee agreed to a $973 million plan to fund constitutional offices, most executive branch agencies and legislative offices, but stopped short of finalizing the proposal as they await a response from Gov. Mark Dayton, whose budget recommendation is $195 million more than what Republicans approved Tuesday.
On a divided voice vote, conferees voted to amend HF691/ SF605*, the omnibus state government finance bill, after senators and representatives cleared up differences in the two chambers’ version of the bill. The House initially proposed a two-year $943 million budget, while the Senate pitched a $1 billion spending plan for the 2018-19 biennium.
Officials with the Dayton administration piled on the complaints and concerns during Tuesday’s hearing, saying the spending reductions will result in mass employee layoffs and put government services at risk.
After weeks of debate over the best way to reduce the achievement gap through early learning opportunities, House and Senate conferees agreed on a proposal supporters say would provide increased funding for schools, but opponents warn falls short of intended objectives.
Sponsored by Rep. Jenifer Loon (R-Eden Prairie) and Sen. Carla Nelson (R-Rochester), HF890*/ SF718, the omnibus education finance bill, is likely to spur contentious negotiations with Gov. Mark Dayton via its proposal to defund voluntary pre-kindergarten programs across the state. More funding has been a gubernatorial priority this session…
Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius warned conferees they need to get closer to the governor’s number of a $367.27 million bump.
“I think it’s going to be really damaging when school districts get these budgets,” she said. “We leave our school districts holding the bag.”
Governor Dayton has the political capital, here. (That link is to a recent Star Tribune poll showing him with 62% job approval. Undoubtedly the bump is in part because a class act like Dayton looks so very, very good compared to the pitiful, obnoxious, reprehensible lout that is “President“ Donald Trump.) I’m confident that he’ll use it pretty well.