Today in the News
Higher education grants may get boost
Higher education backers are excited that the governor’s budget proposal could substantially increase state grant funding for lower-income students. Gov. Mark Dayton’s biennial budget proposal provides $80 million for the Minnesota State Grant Program — a need-based financial assistance program used by a quarter of undergraduates at the University of Minnesota.
The proposed increase in student aid is the largest in more than 25 years, said Larry Pogemiller, director of the Minnesota Office of Higher Education.
“We’ve slipped behind in higher education, and now we are in a catch-up mode,” said Rep. Lyndon Carlson Sr., DFL-Crystal. “The governor is trying to get us there as rapidly as he can with his proposal.”
Minnesota has the third-highest postgraduate student debt rate in the country, according to the Institute for College Access and Success.
WJON – AM1240
Gov. Dayton Addresses Issues at CSB
Governor Mark Dayton defended his budget proposal at a public forum last night. The governor said we have, “a rare opportunity to lead,” in front of a large crowd at the College of St. Benedict.
Dayton covered a range of issues that include taxes, marriage equality and gun control. The governor called for an increase in taxes on wealthy Minnesotans to provide new revenue for the state. He said, “If people are doing better, they should want to pay more taxes.” Dayton says everyone needs to chip in and pay their fair share.
The governor also made a pitch for an increase in higher education spending. He said Minnesota needs to, “put money where our values are.”
Nearly 400,000 veterans call Minnesota home. Their commitment to service and their personal sacrifices have earned them the right to education, opportunities, and benefits.
Governor Dayton’s budget seeks to underscore the service these men and women have given to our country and our state through GI Bill expansion, increased veteran services funding to secure benefits, Honor Guard preservation, and Health Care IT infrastructure improvements to raise the quality of care for our veterans to the highest degree.
The men and women of our armed forced have invaluable skills, skills the state of Minnesota looks to preserve and foster. The funds allocated in the budget invest in our veterans, help create a better Minnesota, and help veterans succeed.
» $1 Million to Expand the Minnesota GI Bill. The Governor’s budget expands the Minnesota GI Bill program to all generations of veterans, not just those serving on or after 9/11. This expansion will ensure all Minnesota veterans have access to the education and training they need to get good paying jobs.
» $1 Million for County Veteran Service Office Grants. The Governor’s budget provides increased grant funding for County Veteran Services Offices, which help veterans and their families obtain benefits and services earned through military service.
» $5 Million for Health Care IT Improvement. The Governor’s budget invests in IT infrastructure upgrades at the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs. This investment will allow the department to achieve industry standards in delivering high-quality health care to Minnesota veterans and ensure their safety.
» $400,000 for Honor Guards. The Governor’s budget includes $400,000 in permanent funding for the Honor Guard Program, which supports veterans and their families by providing military burial honors earned through their service and sacrifice. Governor Dayton is committed to ensuring all veterans who request funeral honors receive them.
» $200,000 for the Gold Star Program. The Governor’s budget includes $200,000 in permanent funding for the Gold Star Program, which supports the families of those service members who lost their lives in combat as they heal from their loss.
» $425,000 for new State Veterans Cemetery in Fillmore County. The Governor’s budget includes start-up and ongoing funding for a new state veterans cemetery in Fillmore County, opening in 2015. This State Veterans Cemetery will provide burial space for nearly 40,000 veterans. Governor Dayton believes every veteran deserves a dignified final resting place.
Photo Credit: Flickr user David Lipscomb
Keeping our Kids Safe and Healthy
The health an safety of our youngest Minnesotans is at the center of Governor Dayton’s Budget for a Better Minnesota. His budget proposal includes new funding to help prepare Minnesota schools for emergencies, provide expanded mental health services to our students, and prevents child abuse by expanding proven outreach strategies to at-risk families.
Every parent deserves the peace of mind that comes with knowing their child is safe at school. That’s why one of Governor Dayton’s budget priorities is the reestablishment of the Minnesota School Safety Center. The Center will provide training and education in the areas of emergency preparedness, response and recovery to schools, law enforcement, and outreach to community partners.
Governor Dayton’s budget expands access to mental health services for children with complex, high-cost conditions through increased funding to schools. This proposal doubles the percentage of Minnesota schools providing these services, ensuring that more Minnesota students have the resources they need to be healthy in the classroom. Finally, Governor Dayton’s budget also invests in the prevention and early detection of child abuse. The proposal expands proven outreach programs to at-risk families.
Governor Dayton is committed to investing in all aspects of public safety. For more information about Governor Dayton’s budget, visit http://mn.gov/governor/budget or follow the conversation on Twitter at #BetterMN.
Greater Minnesota faces housing shortages, a major problem when trying to attract and retain workers and their families near employment opportunities. That’s why The Governor’s Housing and Job Growth budget initiative will provide $10 million through the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency’s (MHFA) Economic Development and Housing Challenge initiative to help communities and employers address this issue.
To learn more about the Minnesota Job Creation Fund and Governor Dayton’s plans to build a Better Minnesota, click here.
Building a better Minnesota starts with our kids. That is why Governor Dayton’s budget invests $139 million in proven programs that will help Minnesota’s children thrive today and in the future.
Minnesota can help our youngest children thrive by investing in better early education to help narrow the state’s troubling achievement gap, and prepare children for success in school. In Governor Dayton's budget proposal, Early Childhood Education scholarships will help an additional 11,000 Minnesota children from low-income families afford high quality childcare and preschool. The proposed budget also allows for investments in optional All Day Kindergarten, providing access for 85% of Minnesota families—or nearly 54,000 children.
In addition to providing quality early childhood education, it is important to support strong and healthy Minnesota families. Governor Dayton’s budget provides for increased rental assistance to low-income families, ensuring children don’t have to endure a potentially disruptive move during the school year. The Governor’s budget also increases funding for high quality childcare for children with special needs, and streamlines the adoption process to ensure it best serves the interests of Minnesota children.
ST. PAUL, MN – Governor Mark Dayton announced today a new reform initiative that will provide better health care for 100,000 Minnesotans and lower costs for taxpayers. In an effort to further improve the state’s Medicaid program, the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) is partnering with six health care providers to test a new payment model that prioritizes quality, preventive care and rewards providers for achieving mutually-agreed upon health goals.
Revenue Commissioner Myron Frans and Minnesota Management & Budget Commissioner Jim Showalter discuss Gov. Mark Dayton's proposed budget and tax reform plan for FY 2014-15. The governor's budget covers our $1.1 billion deficit, pays back $1 billion we borrowed from our schools and invests in our state's greatest resource: Minnesotans. He proposes to pay for these investments by making our tax system fair and balanced, and by reforming how government works so we deliver better services at a lower cost.
Minnesotans responded yesterday to Governor Dayton's plan for a balanced budget that strengthens Minnesota's middle class.
Education Minnesota President Tom Dooher praises Dayton for ‘investment mentality’ in education
“This is the first time in many years that the Legislature has started with an investment mentality toward public education, from preschool to college,” Dooher said. “That’s good for our students and for our economy. We’ll continue to work with the governor and the Legislature on a final budget that’s best for Minnesota schools. Gov. Mark Dayton deserves credit for presenting a budget without shifts from schools or other gimmicks,” Dooher said. “He’s building a strong fiscal foundation for Minnesota.”