As we move into the final weeks of the 2014 Legislative Session, the Senate is working to finalize a package of key investments and broad tax cuts along with a robust bonding bill to keep Minnesota’s economy growing.
Senate and House legislators continue meeting this week to reach an agreement on a supplemental budget bill. The Senate proposed a budget bill of $209 million that concentrates on increased funding for education, health care and transportation. The House budget bill came in at $321 million, while the Governor proposed a smaller spending total of $141 million.
Both the Senate and House budget bills focus on similar education priorities aimed at closing the achievement gap. In transportation, the Senate allocates funds for road repairs to keep Minnesota’s infrastructure strong after the especially harsh winter. Legislators and the Governor largely agree on critical investments in health and human services, including a rate increase for home- and community-based services for seniors and people with disabilities. The House and Senate also include essential funding for nursing facilities to fill any funding gaps resulting from the minimum wage increase.
Earlier this session, the legislature and the Governor enacted $443 million in tax cuts for families and businesses along with a $150 million increase to Minnesota’s budget reserve. A second tax relief bill has also passed both the Senate and the House, and the tax conference committee continues to meet this week to work out the differences.
The Senate Capital Investment Committee is likely to release its bonding bill soon, providing an outline for projects that will benefit every corner of the state. As our state’s economy continues to improve and more Minnesotans return to the workforce, a robust bonding bill will boost our growth, create well-paying jobs and lead to a more prosperous Minnesota.
Newsworthy committee, floor action, other events
The Senate will meet in session every day for the rest of the week, with both high profile and non-controversial bills on the agenda. Additionally, the press will closely follow the progress in conference committees, any news on the bonding bill, and the Governor’s State of the State Address.