State Government Bill would reduce services to Minnesotans

The Republicans’ State Government and Elections Omnibus Bill passed the Senate State Government Finance Committee this week. The bill cuts $30 million from the forecasted budget for the division, which would cause job layoffs, reduce quality of services to constituents, result in longer waiting times, and inflict higher long-term costs.

The bill imposes across-the-board, arbitrary cuts to state government services, which is precisely what Governor Dayton has said he opposes. Many state agencies would receive a 7.5% cut to their operating budgets, including the attorney general, the state auditor, the secretary of state, and Minnesota Management and Budget, which handles state finances. The Department of Revenue receives about a 4% cut and MN.IT, which administers statewide information technology systems, is required to reduce personnel costs by $3 million despite significant requests for cybersecurity investments. Certain programs at various agencies are discontinued entirely without justification by the Republican Senate majority. The bill also implements rulemaking restrictions that will hurt the ability for state agencies to do their jobs and enforce regulations.

The bill is $143 million less than Governor Dayton’s proposal, which provides significant investments in cybersecurity to ensure Minnesotans’ IT data is protected. The Governor’s proposal also invests in streamlining the procurement technology the state uses, the state’s talent management system, tax systems to ensure accurate and timely tax returns, and election equipment grants. Negotiations will begin once the House passes their proposal to fund state government operations. (S.F. 605)