This is a responsible bill that will create thousands of new jobs at a time when Minnesota is in a recession. It is the second piece of the House DFL economic stimulus package.
During a time of economic downturn, there is an appropriate use of rainy day funds to help address the budget deficit. There are no general tax increases in the proposal and we keep our commitments to schools, health care and college students.
The plan doesn’t simply protect our schools, but reprioritizes resources and invests the equivalent of an additional 1% in the funding formula or approximately $51 per pupil statewide.
We incorporate several of the Governor’s recommendations but differ with him in key areas. We minimize his cuts to higher education, which should allow our universities to keep tuition affordable. The plan does not incorporate the Governor’s proposed cuts to nursing homes and the disabled. Instead, we include strong support for nursing home workers with an additional 2% Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA).
This bill makes investments that will help businesses and our public colleges and universities create the jobs of tomorrow. These are high-tech jobs that will be filled by our children and grandchildren. We focused on projects that are ready to go and will have the greatest impact on our economy.
Language in this bill will ensure that Minnesota maintains its “3% debt guideline” when measured against our state General Fund. Since bonds are issued over time, this bill allows for flexibility in future years while maintaining the 3% debt guideline. Once Minnesota’s economy improves, we will have the ability to make adjustments while always maintaining a fiscally responsible debt capacity.
This bill is intended to make long-overdue investments at public colleges and universities across Minnesota. Our education system must ensure that it trains our workforce to remain competitive because an educated, productive workforce is going to be more important than ever as Minnesota products and ingenuity compete globally. Minnesota has dropped to #26 nationally for total academic Research and Development (R&D) spending and #40 for per-capita academic R&D spending. It’s a well-known fact and many economists will agree that the investments we make in people will help secure our future.
The proposal includes budget reductions to the state agencies of approximately 3% and includes reductions to the legislature’s budget.
This bill also makes strategic, long-term investments in clean water and other environmental projects that are key to Minnesota’s future prosperity.