ST. Paul, MN — Governor Mark Dayton released his 2014-2015 biennium budget proposal on January 22. According to Sen. Chris Eaton, the Governor’s budget is a good starting point to begin to find a permanent solution to Minnesota’s $1.1 billion budget shortfall.
Sen. Eaton said the strongest components of the Governor’s budget include: additional investment in early and higher education, reductions in property taxes for homeowners, renters, and business, and a 20% cut to the sales tax rate.
“I appreciate the Governor’s work and leadership as we begin to solve Minnesota’s perpetual budget problems in a sustainable way,” said Sen. Eaton. “The Governor’s budget fulfills his pledge to restore fairness to Minnesota’s tax code and provides significant property tax relief for middle-class families and small businesses. The proposed budget package resolves the state’s $1.1 billion deficit honestly, without one-time money or borrowing, and provides for key investments in the areas of early childhood education, higher education, and economic development. However, it is a starting point and will require further inspection and discussion to ensure the final outcome is in the best interests of our district and state.”
One of the budget areas Sen. Eaton is most pleased with is the $640 million investment Governor Dayton’s budget makes in Minnesota students. It also makes sound investments in higher education to give our workforce the knowledge and skills to compete in a 21st Century global economy.
Some education highlights include:
• $399 million for early childhood and K-12 Education including:
o $118 million – to increase amount schools receive by $52 per student.
o $40 million – to pay for all-day kindergarten programs. Currently about 54 percent of Minnesota students are in all-day programs. With this investment 85 percent of students would be included in all-day programs.
• $344 Million for E-12 Education. The Governor’s budget increases E-12 funding by an average of $72 per student in FY2014 and an average $339 increase per student in FY2015 through these investments, including: $125 Million for Special Education, $118 Million Increase on the Formula, $44 Million for Early Childhood Education Scholarships, $40 Million for All Day Kindergarten, $10 Million for Teacher Evaluation, $8.9 Million for English Language Learning.
• $240 Million for Higher Education. The Governor’s budget provides: $80 million for the State Grant Program, making college more affordable for another 5,000 students; $80 million for the University of Minnesota and $80 million for MnSCU.
• $4.5 Million for Regional Centers of Excellence. The Governor’s budget establishes six new Regional Centers of Excellence to help the state’s most struggling schools.
• $1.8 Million for Paperwork Reduction. The Governor’s budget permanently reduces special education paperwork, giving teachers more time in the classroom and less time filling out forms.
• $1 Million for School Bullying Prevention. The Governor’s budget invests in guidance, training, and support to schools to create safer environments for students to learn.
“We all understand that Minnesota’s long-term economic competitiveness is based on our ability to deliver a world class education for our kids,” Eaton said. “This budget is a step in the right direction.”
Please contact Senator Eaton at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (651) 296-8869 for additional comments or with questions.
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