Among the most significant laws set to go into effect this month are historic investments in education which are part of comprehensive budget passed by the DFL-led legislature and signed into law by Governor Mark Dayton after the 2013 Legislative Session adjourned on time this past May.
They reflect major progress for students, seniors, business owners, and middle class families. We’re taking serious steps to reverse a growing trend of income inequality by making our tax system more fair and by paying for investments in priorities like education that create greater prosperity for everyone.
A breakdown of the major pieces of legislation going into effect this month are below, organized according to issue area. To see a full report, see the press release from the Minnesota Legislature.
· Free all-day Kindergarten for every child and early learning scholarships for thousands of families to help send their children to preschool.
· $485 million investment in new money for K-12 education over the next two years, with roughly half of the new funding going towards the basic school funding formula (1.5 percent increases each year).
· Accelerated repayment of the school shift using any surplus in the General Fund at the end of fiscal year 2013.
· Two-year tuition freeze for resident undergraduates at the University of Minnesota and all undergraduates at the MnSCU system.
JOBS, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, AND ENERGY:
· $30 million investment in new money for the Minnesota Investment Fund (MIF) to fund proven job creation strategies like low-interest business loans.
· $24 million investment in new money for the Job Creation Fund to help businesses make capital investments and create good Minnesota jobs.
· New funding to support the Minnesota Trade Office in China and build three additional offices (one of which is designated for Germany) to help Minnesota businesses sell their goods and compete in foreign markets.
· Solar energy standard established, requiring utilities to produce 1.5 percent of their energy from solar by 2020 and 10 percent by 2030.
· $400 million investment for middle class property tax reductions, with direct reductions for homeowners and renters as well as increased aid for local governments to help continue providing high-quality services like police officers and firefighters.
· Fairness restored to Minnesota’s tax system by closing corporate tax loopholes and asking the wealthiest two percent of Minnesotans to chip in two percent more.
· $346.5 million in tax cuts for Minnesota employers by lowering Unemployment Insurance payments—the largest business tax cut in State history.
HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES:
· Five percent pay increase for nursing home workers and one percent pay increase for long-term care workers—the first raise in over four years.