Senate DFL Education Omnibus Finance Bill pushes all-day kindergarten, property tax relief

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Today the Senate DFL unveiled their E-12 education budget bill. The legislation makes critical investments in our classrooms and at the same time reduces property taxes for Minnesota families and businesses.

“For too long the state has cut education funding and forced school districts to ask property tax payers for basic education programs. This bill begins to reverse that trend and makes the investment in Minnesota’s future that we need to keep growing the middle class and building a strong economy,” said E-12 Finance Division Chair Senator Chuck Wiger (DFL – Maplewood). “We are more closely aligning our entire education system, from pre-kindergarten to post-secondary education, to make sure Minnesota students are college and career ready.”

The approximately $356 million in new education funding proposed in the Senate’s E-12 Omnibus Finance bill includes—
• All-day kindergarten: $130 million
• Basic Funding Formula Increase: $100 million
• Early childhood education: $44 million
• Special Education Investment: $9 million

“We’re taking a results oriented approach to our funding increase,” said Senator Patricia Torres Ray (DFL – Minneapolis), who chairs the Education Policy Committee. “Numerous studies have shown the positive impacts of all-day kindergarten and early education, both in academic performance and overall quality of life.”

Another key element of the education finance bill is the reduction in property taxes. Districts all across the state would see levy reductions. State aid would be increased, saving Minnesota families and businesses approximately $150 million in property taxes the next biennium.

“Property taxes have more than doubled in the past ten years. Relief can’t come soon enough for middle-class families and small businesses struggling to keep up with this skyrocketing property tax burden,” said Wiger. “This will also begin to erase the inequity of school funding across the state, especially in districts that have difficulty passing local school levies. Minnesota children deserve an excellent school regardless of their zip code.”

In a statement, Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk said, “This E-12 bill clearly aligns itself with our priorities for the 2013 session: Investing in our kids and grandkids, growing the economy, and reducing the property tax burden for Minnesota families and businesses.”

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Senator Chuck Wiger
Chuck Wiger represents District 43, which includes portions of Ramsey and Washington counties in the northeastern Twin Cities metropolitan area.

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