The Minnesota Budget Project recently released a downloadable report on the 2011 – 2012 Legislative Budget Procees (The Minnesota Budget Project – an initiative of the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits – is an active voice for tax fairness and a balanced approach to state and federal budgets.):
Following a long and contentious budget debate in 2011 that included a three-week state government shutdown, the 2012 Legislative Session was a relatively normal year. The 2011 Legislative Session was characterized by a debate between Governor Dayton, who promoted a balanced approach, including raising revenues, to meet the state’s needs; and the Legislature’s use of cuts in services in response to the economic downturn and resulting state revenue shortfall. The two-year budget that did pass reflected an uneasy compromise that combined substantial service cuts with several one-time measures, including shifting state payments to school districts and issuing bonds backed by future tobacco settlement revenues.
In 2012, Minnesota’s policymakers made only modest budget changes as the state slowly emerged from the most recent recession. Passing a bonding bill to fund infrastructure improvements took the spotlight, as it normally does in an even-numbered year. Building a Vikings football stadium was another high-profile issue. And policymakers considered, but did not pass, constitutional budget amendments that posed the most serious threat in decades to the Minnesota’s ability to make common-sense budget decisions and fund services valued by residents.