The Legislature is back in session! Governor Walz called a special session for 10 a.m. Friday with the goal of passing the state budget. While the Governor and legislative leaders have expressed preference for a one-day special session, it remains unclear whether it will stretch into the weekend. Throughout the week committee chairs, legislative leaders and nonpartisan legislative staff were hard at work hammering out the final details on the big-ticket budget bills. By Thursday evening most of the conference committees had completed negotiations and released proposed bills that will be voted on by the full House and Senate during the special session.
Here is where things currently stand on the CGMC’s top issues:
- Local Government Aid – The proposed tax bill includes a $26 million increase in LGA for 2020, and an additional $4 million increase the following year, restoring LGA to its 2002 level starting in 2021.This document from MN House Research shows how much LGA each city would receive in 2020 under the bill. In addition, the bill includes a provision that says that no city will receive less LGA in 2020 than they received in 2019.
- Clean water infrastructure – We are waiting to see if our request for $67 million for clean water grant and loan programs will be included in the bonding bill. However, the proposed Legacy bill includes $18 million for the Point Source Implementation Grant Program, which helps cities pay for water infrastructure projects.
- City streets – The proposed transportation bill includes no funding for small-city streets (cities under 5,000 in population) and no additional funding for the Municipal Street Aid program for cities over 5,000 in population.
- Corridors of Commerce – The transportation bill does not include any additional funding for Corridors of Commerce, but it keeps the $25 million/year ongoing appropriation for the program which had been potentially on the chopping block.
- Child care grants – The proposed omnibus jobs bill includes $750,000 to be distributed between the six Minnesota Initiative Foundations (MIFs) for child care provider training and business development assistance. The bill also includes $750,000 for the Department of Employment and Economic Development child care grant program, of which at least 60 percent must go to Greater Minnesota.
- Child care facilities grants – This issue remains up in the air as the Legislature attempts to craft a bonding bill.
- Greater Minnesota Business Development Infrastructure Grant Program (BDPI) – The BDPI program is typically funded mostly through the bonding bill, so we are still waiting to see if it will be included. However, the proposed jobs bill includes $3.574 million ($1.787 million per year for two years) for the program.
- Job training – The jobs bill includes $1.35 million for the Greater Minnesota Job Training Incentive Program.
- Broadband – The agriculture & housing finance bill includes $40 million for the Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant Program.
Once the special session has concluded, we will provide more in-depth analysis on how Greater Minnesota priorities fared at the Legislature this year.