Governor Mark Dayton’s proposed budget for the next two years would make bold new investments to improve our education system and strengthen the middle class.
Investing in Education – Minnesotans depend on access to a great education for good jobs and bright future. That is why Governor Dayton’s budget proposal would invest in strategies to ensure all Minnesotans receive excellent, affordable educations – from pre-Kindergarten to post-secondary.
Needed Investments in Transportation Infrastructure – The Governor has proposed a straightforward, honest solution to fix Minnesota’s aging and underfunded transportation systems. The Governor’s plan would repair or replace 2,200 miles of roads and over 330 bridges statewide.
A $1.9 Billion State Budget Surplus
Improving Economy – Right now, Minnesota’s unemployment rate (3.6%) is the 5th-lowest in the nation, and the lowest it has been in nearly 14 years. Minnesota has added 222,000 new jobs over the last five years alone.
Stable Budget – After a decade of deficits, state leaders are now facing a $1.9 billion budget surplus created by Minnesota’s strong and growing economy.
When Governor Dayton took office four years ago, he promised Minnesotans that he would increase funding for education every year he was governor – no excuses, no exceptions. That is a promise the Governor has kept, and one he will continue to keep in his second term.
Universal Pre-Kindergarten – Since 2011, Governor Dayton has worked to expand access to high-quality early learning across Minnesota. This year, the Governor’s budget would invest $343 million in free school-based pre-kindergarten for all children – benefiting 47,000 of our youngest learners. Governor Dayton’s proposal would also continue Minnesota’s early learning scholarship program, doubling the number of early learning scholarships available to parents.
More Funding for Every School – The Governor’s budget follows through on his commitment to increase school funding every year he is governor: no excuses, no exceptions. It would increase the per-pupil funding formula to $5,948 by 2017, providing more funding for every school. These funds would give local districts the flexibility to meet the needs of their students and classrooms – from lowering class sizes, hiring new counselors, investing in technology, or providing other need programs and services.
Regional Centers of Excellence – The proposal would invest $12 million in the Regional Centers of Excellence initiative. Minnesota’s six Regional Centers provide one-one-one support to struggling schools, working with teachers and school leaders to identify challenges and implement plans for improvement. This nationally-recognized model has helped significantly improve student achievement, with 54 percent of focus schools showing progress toward closing achievement gaps since 2011.
Investing in Special Education – The Governor’s budget would invest $41 million in special education, freeing up additional funds for all Minnesota classrooms. Overall, this investment would benefit an estimated 130,000 students in preK-12 schools statewide.
Eliminating the Current Head Start Waiting List – The Head Start program promotes school readiness for low-income children by enhancing their cognitive, social, and emotional developments, and by providing their families health, educational, nutritional, and other services. Right now, more than 2,400 children are stuck on a waiting list, hoping to get into Head Start programming. Governor Dayton’s budget proposal would eliminate the waiting list and ensure no child is denied a great start in life.
Investing in Higher Education – From 2012 to 2014, the Governor and Legislature invested $276 million in higher education, reversing a decade of deep cuts and making higher education more affordable. This year, the Governor is proposing a $288 million investment to improve our higher education systems, and make college more affordable for Minnesota students and their families. This year, the Governor’s budget would invest an additional $93 million to hold down tuition growth at the University of Minnesota, expand the State Grant Program, continue reciprocity arrangements with neighboring states and improve research outcomes at the University of Minnesota Medical School.
Investing in Children and Families
The Governor’s budget proposal would invest $367 million in children and families over the next two years. These efforts would put more money in the pockets of hundreds of thousands of working families, and help ensure all children have the care, support, and safety they need to succeed in school and life.
Working Family Tax Credit – The Governor’s proposal would invest $83 million in tax relief for low- and middle-income working families statewide. More than 287,000 families would save an additional $138 per year, on average. Eligible families would receive an average total credit of $769.
Protecting Children from Abuse and Neglect – Last year, Governor Dayton convened a new Governor’s Task Force on the Protection of Children to recommend strategies that would protect kids from abuse and neglect. The Governor’s supplemental budget proposal sets aside $52 million to fund the Task Force’s forthcoming recommendations.
K-12 Education Tax Credit – The Governor’s budget would invest $11 million in expanding the K-12 Education Tax Credit to 16,800 more Minnesota families, saving them an estimated $322 per year for expenses related to education. Eligible families could receive up to $1,000 for each child to offset expenses for textbooks, tutoring, computers, transportation, and other eligible expenses.
Investing in Roads, Bridges, and Transit
Investing in Roads, Bridges, and Transit – Governor Dayton’s plan would invest $6 billion over the next ten years to address the state’s highway funding deficit, invest $2.356 billion in local government transportation projects, and provide $2.92 billion for transit systems across Minnesota. The Governor’s proposal would create an estimated 119,000 new jobs, and build the infrastructure necessary to meet the demands of a growing population and an expanding state economy.
Railway Safety Investments – Every day, trains carrying oil and other hazardous materials pass through Minnesota. These trains present real risks to public safety and our natural resources. That is why Governor Mark Dayton is focused on improving railway safety in Minnesota. Seventy-five railway safety improvement projects, at Minnesota’s most dangerous and congested rail crossings, would be completed statewide if a proposal from Governor Dayton is passed this session. Investing in these essential infrastructure projects, and providing for additional disaster preparedness and training, would help significantly enhance the safety of Minnesotans living near railroads statewide.
High-Quality Nursing Home Care – Governor Dayton believes the hard-working Minnesotans who care for our aging parents, grandparents, and friends and relatives with disabilities, should be paid fairly. That is why the Governor and the Minnesota Legislature invested more than $93 million in nursing homes over the last four years. This year, the Governor is proposing investing an additional $25 million investment over the next two years to increase worker salaries and provide quality care for nursing home residents statewide.
Investing in Workforce Housing – The Governor’s budget proposal would invest an additional $10 million in the Housing and Job Growth Initiative – a program designed to build affordable housing where local business and job growth would be enhanced with better access to workforce housing. This proposed investment builds off of the $10 million investment Governor Dayton and the Legislature made in this program in 2013.
Enhancing Public Safety – Governor Dayton’s budget proposal includes an additional $149 million investment in public safety, the courts, and corrections systems. These investments – which represent roughly 8 percent of the surplus – would enhance the safety of Minnesotans and ensure the efficient, productive operation of the state’s justice system.
Job Creation and Broadband Expansion – The Governor’s budget proposal would make new investments in broadband expansion, and initiatives to train Minnesota’s workforce for good-paying careers.
Fair Tax Reforms – The Governor’s budget would provide tax cuts for middle-income Minnesotans, deliver property tax relief for seniors, simplify business taxes, close corporate tax loopholes, and modernize railroad property taxes.
Mental Health Investments – The Governor’s budget would invest in a continuum of care solution that promotes mental health and early intervention. It would ensure that children and adults with mental illness, and their families, have access to the services they need.
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