Dayton’s Call for Spending Balloons with Supplemental Budget

Forum News Service photo by Don Davis

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Gov. Mark Dayton released his supplemental budget plan yesterday, proposing a further $147 million in net spending for fiscal year 2018-2019.

The plan includes an additional $100 million for voluntary preschool education services. This raises Dayton’s total proposal for preschool funding to $175 million.

“My supplemental budget proposal would continue making the investments our state needs to create opportunity for every Minnesotan, starting with our youngest learners, while protecting the fiscal integrity of our state’s budget,” said Dayton. “Investing $175 million in voluntary preK this year would allow more schools to offer that opportunity to students and families across Minnesota.”

Pathways to Prosperity, a worker training program run by the state, would also receive a boost in funding, to the tune of $10 million.

Revised state budget forecasts placed Minnesota’s budget surplus at $1.65 billion. Dayton’s original budget proposal was crafted under the previously estimated $1.4 billion. Slightly over $200 million is saved as a buffer against uncertainties with the federal budget.

Dayton’s proposal includes $3 million for a six-month trial for a Minneapolis to St. Cloud train route. Additionally $850,000 is proposed to update a 2010 engineering study on extending the Northstar service to St. Cloud. Passenger service began in 2009, but federal funding dried up, and construction ended in Big Lake. The study would estimate the cost of extending the line, and if there would be sufficient consumer demand for the project.

About $3.2 million is allocated for agricultural purposes, including Avian flu prevention for turkey farmers. Dayton proposed a further $10 million to incentivize farmers and local governments to implement water quality control measures.

“Ten weeks ago, Governor Dayton proposed a budget that promised to expand opportunity for all Minnesotans, everywhere in Minnesota,” said Lt. Governor Tina Smith. “The Governor’s supplemental budget doesn’t waiver from that commitment.”

$920,000 in the proposal is set aside as tax exemptions regarding next year’s Super Bowl in Minneapolis. As Alpha News reported, the Super Bowl is also seeking over 120,000 man hours in volunteer labor.

Anders Koskinen