ST. PAUL, Minn. — In a bicameral effort, Republicans in the House and Senate unveiled their joint budget numbers for the 2017-2018 fiscal year.
“We’re ahead of schedule, I’d say,” House Speaker Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) said about the budget release.
In March, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton sent a letter to Republican leadership asking them to release their budget totals on April 28.
In a press conference Friday morning, Daudt and Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-Nisswa) stood side-by-side to announce their joint budget and joint motto: “Advancing the Minnesota Way.”
“This budget sends a signal that tax relief is very important to both House and Senate Republicans,” Sen. Julie Rosen (R-Vernon Center) said.
The new budget proposal claims to bring tax relief to Minnesotans to the tune of $1.15 billion, while providing an additional $372 million in new transportation funds.
The committee overusing the largest increase overall is the education committee with $1.14 billion increase, for a total of $18.57 billion in the 2017-2018 fiscal year.
Health and Human services will see a total budget of $13.82 billion in the fiscal year, with Republicans increasing the 2016-2017 fiscal year budget by $2.05 billion.
Taxes and aide, public safety, and agriculture will also see increase in their budgets compared to the last fiscal year.
Only one department will see a decrease in its budget compared to the 2016-2017 fiscal year. The state government, jobs, environment, reinsurance, cancellations, bonding, and other programs will see a $515 million decrease for a budget of $3.41 billion.
Overall, the budget for the 2017-2018 fiscal year will equal $44.81 billion dollars, an 8 percent increase from the 2016-2017 fiscal year.
MPR reports Dayton has promised to veto any bill that includes school vouchers. DFL members of the legislature were also unhappy with the bill.
“It is the way back to deficits, it is a way back to cuts at our local schools, and is the way back to tuition increases,” Democratic Minority Leader Melissa Hortman (D-Brooklyn Park).
Gazelka has asked Dayton to provide his target budget by Thursday, though he fully expects the governor to “push back.”