Governor Dayton's budget seeks to put the brakes on more than a decade of budget deficits, gimmicks and deep cuts to services, and instead create a fairer tax system that invests in our future. We've talked about some of his plans to reach those goals in earlier blog posts, like health care reform, education and tax reform.
The Governor's budget also contains other important proposals that are intended to invest in our future prosperity, including:
Economic development. Governor Dayton's budget proposes substantial investments in loans and grants to Minnesota businesses to encourage economic development and job creation. His budget includes a total of $55 million for the Minnesota Investment Fund and the new Minnesota Job Creation Fund in the FY 2014-15 biennium. These funds will be directed to local governments and businesses that meet certain criteria for investment, with the goal of creating 12,500 to 15,000 new jobs in the state. Additionally, the Governor proposes $20 million from the state's general fund to accelerate transportation projects that are intended to improve Minnesota's economic competitiveness.
Housing. The Governor's budget proposes one-time funding to address housing needs in the state. His plan includes $10 million for employers to meet gaps in affordable housing for workers, $2 million for rental assistance to stabilize housing for children whose families move frequently, and $1 million in rental assistance for ex-offenders reintegrating into the workforce.
Assistance for low-income Minnesotans. The Governor increases funding for Civil Legal Services by $500,000 a year to help low-income families facing legal issues related to eviction, foreclosure, domestic violence or other civil matters. Additionally, the Governor increases funding by $200,000 a year for taxpayer assistance grants to nonprofits that provide free tax preparation for Minnesotans who are low-income, elderly, disabled or limited English-speakers.
Veterans. The Governor's budget increases funding to allow more veterans to qualify for education and training benefits and to help veterans access other services. Minnesota will also continue to recognize the service of veterans through a new cemetery in southeastern Minnesota, as well as permanent funding for Honor Guard services at military funerals.
The Governor's budget proposals are a step in the right direction toward funding investments in the state's economic success and Minnesotans recovering from hard times after years of deep cuts.