Senate Republicans released their budget targets this week for the 2021-22 biennium. The targets are considerably more conservative than Governor Walz’s budget proposal and would leave thousands of Minnesotans without the proper support they need to get back on their feet after this past year. These targets show the Senate Republicans’ goal on the total amount the state will spend on any specific budget area over the next two years. Their proposed cuts to Minnesota’s budget, even with the state projecting a $1.6 billion positive balance, will leave the state in an unstable position for years to come as the one-time federal funding offered this year goes away and leaves our programs underfunded for the future.
The Senate Republican budget targets would mean cuts to education, reduced funding for agricultural and rural development, cuts to state agencies and local governments on the frontlines of the response to COVID-19, and underinvestment in state infrastructure and green jobs. The targets also lack consistency, as Senate Republicans have supported a $40 million investment in rural broadband but announced a budget target of $40 million total for agriculture and rural development – which would mean eliminating several vital state programs primarily serving rural Minnesota.
The Senate DFL responded to the proposed targets, stating:
“Our state budget reflects our values, and we must support those who have borne the greatest burden. We must make investments so that Minnesota can recover from the pandemic, address the growing disparities in our state, and build a strong future for all. We cannot cut our way through this challenge. A more balanced approach – modest strategic cuts, asking the wealthiest and most profitable Minnesotans to pay their fair share, and building up those who will make our state thrive as we move forward – will position Minnesota to offer a strong future for all.”