2017 Session Budget and Priorities

The 2017 Legislative Session kicks off on January 3 with Republicans leading the Senate with their first four-year term in decades. Although the state currently projects a $1.4 billion positive balance for the upcoming FY 2018-19 budget cycle, the story was very different only a few years ago. Six years ago, the state faced a $6.2 billion deficit for FY2012-13 – that’s three times what we currently have in our budget reserve.

Thanks to thoughtful leadership by the Senate DFL, the state has almost reached its reserve target of $2.1 billion. A robust budget reserve is a critical part of preparing for an economic downturn. The last time Republicans led the state, they drained the state’s reserves and, as a result, borrowed more than $2 billion from our schools with no plan to pay it back and relied on high-interest credit deals to stabilize the budget. Republicans also presided over a 20-day state government shutdown the last time they were in charge, which was the longest and most expensive shutdown in state history. Democrats worked very hard to build back the reserve account so that when another recession hits, the state can avoid drastic cuts in critical services and continue to serve Minnesotans’ needs. Democrats will not support gutting reserves and borrowing billions from our schools, nor will we support slashing taxes for just the wealthy few.

Given the intense emotions surrounding politics and policy in 2017, the Senate DFL will be committed to keeping the state on the right track and defending several accomplishments and priorities from the past few years. In addition to setting a fiscally responsible two-year budget, Senate Democrats are committed to the following priorities:

  • providing immediate relief to Minnesotans with skyrocketing health insurance premiums
  • passing a bonding bill to create thousands of jobs across Minnesota
  • finding a solution for our transportation system that balances the needs for all areas of the state
  • passing a fair tax bill to help working families, college students, farmers and veterans
  • building an economy that works for all Minnesotans, not just the wealthy few

Looking ahead, we will convene the 2017 session and continue to gather information from state agencies, listen to the priorities of our communities, and our constituents. DFL Senators will fight for economic policies and programs that improve incomes for all Minnesotans—no matter where they live in the state. Our policies will not pit Minnesotans nor regions against one another. DFL Senators stand ready to work with Governor Dayton and Republicans to formulate a budget. At the end of the day, it will be a bipartisan mix of legislators and Governor Dayton that will dictate what the state is able accomplish with the Senate Republicans having such a narrow majority.

Senate DFL Media