STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

UPDATE: Walz proposes $49 billion budget for MInnesota

Proposal unveiled Tuesday includes a gas tax hike.

Posted: Feb 19, 2019 1:17 PM
Updated: Feb 19, 2019 7:05 PM

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Gov. Tim Walz proposed a $49 billion "Budget for One Minnesota" on Tuesday that raises the state gas tax 20 cents to pay for road and bridge improvements and includes significant increases in spending on education.

In his first budget proposal, the new Democratic governor called for $733 million in new spending on pre-kindergarten through 12th grade education over the next two years. That includes a $523 million boost in state aid for school districts by increasing the basic per-pupil funding formula by 5 percent over two years.

Much of the talk around the Capitol this session has been about bipartisan cooperation. Walz now faces GOP opposition, especially in the Senate where Republicans have a three-vote majority. Democrats who lead the House were broadly supportive. Walz said Republicans should recognize that his budget reflects the campaign promises that got him elected by a wide margin.

"I think they will come to the table, have a spirited debate, and we'll reach a compromise, and we will invest in a Minnesota that works for everyone," Walz said at a news conference.

But Republican leaders said they oppose the governor's plan. It comes amid a $1.5 billion budget surplus, though that's expected to shrink a bit in the next revenue forecast later this month.

"This first budget is the kind of budget you get when you promise everyone everything," Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka said. House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt dubbed it "One Expensive Minnesota."

On health care, Walz proposed cutting premiums on the state health insurance exchange MNsure by 20 percent and creating a tax credit to ensure that Minnesotans who buy health insurance on the individual market spend no more than 10 percent of their income on health care. He would also create a statewide public buy-in program called ONECare Minnesota to expand coverage choices on the individual market.

For rural Minnesota, Walz proposed $61 million in additional aid to cities and counties, a $70 million "moonshot" to ensure that all households in rural Minnesota have high-speed internet access, and more money to help rural communities cope with child care shortages.

"This budget puts forward the single greatest investment in greater Minnesota in the state's history," he said.

Including the gas tax increase, higher vehicle registration fees and vehicle sales taxes, and a 1/8 cent Twin Cities metro sales tax increase, the budget would generate $1.9 billion annually that would be reserved for roads, bridges and mass transit. The money would let Walz return $460 million to the general fund that now goes to transportation funding so that the money can be spent on education instead.

Walz's budget also presumes that lawmakers will prevent the automatic expiration of a 2 percent tax on health care providers, which funds programs that include the MinnesotaCare health plan for the working poor. The governor said letting it expire would create a nearly $1 billion deficit by 2023. But the Republican leaders framed that as a tax increase.

His budget would also raise taxes as the state syncs its tax code with the 2017 federal tax overhaul, by conforming to federal provisions on business taxes. He said the money would enable cutting taxes on farmers and small businesses by over $200 million, expand a tax credit for nearly 47,000 lower-income working families by an average of $227 per month, and make Social Security benefits tax-free for 56 percent of Minnesota seniors and lower for many others.

Walz plans to release details next week of a $1.27 billion public construction borrowing bill. It would include $300 million for higher education split between the Minnesota State and University of Minnesota systems.

Minnesota is the only state currently where Republicans control one chamber and Democrats control the other, but the state had divided government to some degree during six of previous Gov. Mark Dayton's eight years.

"Every budget in divided government is difficult because we come from two very different points of view, and at the very end we have to come together and figure it out," Gazelka said.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 20573

Reported Deaths: 878
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin6918534
Ramsey231697
Stearns192312
Nobles14572
Anoka116455
Dakota105935
Olmsted55110
Washington50626
Kandiyohi4541
Clay36623
Rice3652
Scott3462
Wright2401
Sherburne2081
Todd1970
Benton1662
Carver1612
Mower1501
Steele1400
Martin1245
Blue Earth1121
St. Louis11113
Pine850
Freeborn840
Winona7715
Carlton730
Nicollet683
Cottonwood620
Polk582
Otter Tail550
Itasca527
Goodhue522
Watonwan500
Chisago481
Dodge430
Meeker420
Crow Wing421
Le Sueur411
Chippewa400
Jackson390
Morrison380
Murray350
Becker320
Lyon310
Douglas290
McLeod260
Isanti250
Waseca240
Rock210
Unassigned199
Fillmore171
Mille Lacs161
Wabasha160
Swift150
Sibley120
Beltrami120
Wilkin113
Norman110
Kanabec111
Cass113
Faribault110
Brown112
Pipestone100
Marshall80
Pennington70
Pope70
Aitkin60
Wadena60
Yellow Medicine50
Koochiching50
Lincoln50
Mahnomen51
Renville50
Lac qui Parle30
Red Lake30
Big Stone30
Redwood30
Traverse30
Grant20
Houston20
Clearwater20
Hubbard10
Kittson10
Lake10
Roseau10

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 17227

Reported Deaths: 456
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk3714108
Woodbury255524
Black Hawk167639
Linn92775
Marshall86611
Dallas84914
Johnson5987
Muscatine54339
Wapello5004
Crawford4772
Tama39023
Louisa3347
Scott3319
Dubuque31916
Jasper25616
Buena Vista2310
Pottawattamie2106
Sioux1990
Washington1798
Allamakee1184
Wright1170
Plymouth1080
Warren1060
Story941
Poweshiek888
Bremer676
Henry611
Clinton601
Boone540
Des Moines531
Mahaska526
Cedar451
Guthrie433
Taylor370
Benton371
Jones360
Monroe334
Iowa320
Clarke320
Osceola320
Shelby310
Buchanan310
Clayton303
Marion290
Webster271
Fayette260
Hamilton260
Madison241
Monona230
Cerro Gordo221
Lee220
Winneshiek210
Davis200
Lyon190
Grundy190
Harrison190
Floyd181
Jefferson150
Cherokee150
Butler150
Mills140
Delaware140
Humboldt130
Sac130
Greene130
Keokuk130
Hardin130
Howard120
Hancock120
Appanoose123
Audubon111
Jackson110
Cass110
Ida100
Page100
Clay100
Winnebago100
Carroll90
Van Buren80
Franklin80
Dickinson80
Adair80
Chickasaw80
Kossuth70
Emmet70
Lucas60
Montgomery60
Union60
Adams50
Ringgold40
Fremont40
Pocahontas40
Mitchell40
Palo Alto30
Worth30
Unassigned30
Calhoun20
Wayne10
Decatur00
Rochester
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 79°
Mason City
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 79°
Albert Lea
Scattered Clouds
75° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 75°
Austin
Clear
81° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 83°
Charles City
Few Clouds
79° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 81°
Storms a brewin'
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

125 Live Restaurant partnership

Image

Taps in City Park

Image

100 Most traveled days in MN have begun

Image

Parade in the park

Image

Field of Flags

Image

Pausing the pandemic to remember the fallen

Image

Memorial Day Dinner

Image

Salvation Army Dental Care Needs PPE

Image

Sara's Midday Forecast - Monday

Image

Ironwood Springs offering alternatives for camps

Community Events