With Thursday’s announcement of the budget and economic forecast — which showed that Minnesota has a $1 billion surplus for the next biennium — the stage is set for Gov. Dayton to make his budget recommendations in late January. In addition to tax credits for childcare expenses and more resources for preschool scholarships, Gov. Dayton singled out expansion of broadband in Greater Minnesota as his third budget priority while addressing the media regarding the budget forecast.

In his comments to the media, Gov. Dayton noted that broadband “is crucial for economic development over the state.” In response to the Governor’s comments, the CGMC’s sister organization, the Greater Minnesota Partnership, release this statement today thanking the Governor for his support and encouraging the House and Senate to make rural broadband a priority as well.

Though Gov. Dayton has signaled support for broadband expansion, there is no indication yet as to the level of support he will recommend to the legislature in his budget. The Governor’s Task Force on Broadband has recommended an additional $200 million for the Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant program in the next biennium. The legislature created the program in 2014 and allocated an initial round of funding of $20 million.