Legislature works to complete budget bills

Clark Biegler
May 02, 2014

This week, Minnesota policymakers continue to shape the final major budget bills of the session. Targets set late last week are guiding their work, although we may see adjustments and tweaks to those targets before the final deals are struck.

The targets are $293 million in this budget cycle for the supplemental budget bill, $103 million for the second tax bill and $200 million in cash for capital investment projects.

Table 2014 budget targets

The supplemental budget conference committee met through the weekend to sort out the differences between the House and Senate versions of the supplemental budget bills. The target of $293 million comes in lower than the House proposal but larger than the Senate’s. Some of what’s at stake are provisions in House and Senate bills that improve racial health equity and work to close achievement gaps in education.

The tax conference committee also worked through the weekend. Its target of $103 million is definitely in the ballpark with the House’s second tax bill of $110 million and the Senate’s at $108 million. However, since there is not a lot of common ground between the two tax bills, some compromises are likely ahead. One provision that we strongly believe should be part of a final tax bill is the House’s one-time improvement to the Renters’ Credit.

The Senate released its bonding bill today. The $200 million target for “bonding cash” represents capital improvement projects to be funded through cash, rather than through the more traditional bonding process.

The tax and budget decisions to be made will build on work done already this session. Policymakers passed a tax bill (House File 1777) that included an increase to the Working Family Credit and a boost to the budget reserve. They also passed a bill for additional heating assistance for families in response to the harsh winter weather this season.

As they make their final tax and budget choices this session, we encourage policymakers to make investments that make our state a place where everyone has the opportunity to succeed. Stay tuned for more information on how these items progress!

-Clark Biegler