Senate budget targets lay good foundation for honest budget solution
On Wednesday, Senate DFLers announced their budget targets for the 2014-2015 biennium. These targets set the framework for closing Minnesota’s $627 million budget shortfall and offer important routes for strengthening education and providing much needed tax relief.
The Senate’s plan calls for $1.4 billion in targeted new investments focused on priorities widely shared by Minnesotans. The largest single investment—$486 million—is made in pre-kindergarten-12 education. This investment allows the state to improve early education programs and fund all-day kindergarten for every child, statewide. Funding for higher education also receives a boost of more than $262 million in additional investments. This will help lower costs for college students and prepare Minnesota’s workforce for 21st century jobs.
So much of Minnesota’s current and future economic prosperity depends on the support we give our kids now. Research constantly shows the benefits of all-day kindergarten and as our workforce becomes more global its important students have the experience and higher education to help them compete and succeed.
In addition to making key investments at every level of education, the Senate budget proposes a $463 million investment in property tax aids and credits. Specifically, these dollars are aimed at restoring the state-paid homestead credit and increasing aid to city and county governments. For too many years, homeowners, renters, farmers and business owners have experienced an unfair property tax burden. I am glad that the Senate’s budget targets make finding a solid remedy for this issue a top priority.
The overall success of these essential investments relies on long-term budget stability that allows Minnesota to grow out of continued deficits. Each day the world grows more interconnected and it becomes more important that Minnesota has a strong economy that can successfully compete in the 21st century.
Over the next couple months we will continue our budget conversations with these targets as our goal. We will then work with the House plan and the Governor’s plan to create a responsible, sustainable budget for Minnesota.