The Legislature was busy this week as they began to assemble their omnibus finance bills. Next Friday is the deadline by which bills with any fiscal impacts must be referred to Senate Finance or House Ways and Means committees. Remaining omnibus bills will be released next week and long hearings are anticipated.
On Monday, the House Ways and Means committee approved the budget targets set last week by Republican leadership to set spending at $34.36 billion. The Senate has a slightly lower target of $34.26 billion. Funding proposals for certain budget areas began to take shape in committees this week and more omnibus bills will be released next week, as the Legislature begins making their budget decisions.
The House Tax committee began putting together their omnibus bill (HF42-Davids) this week. Significant provisions in the proposal include reductions to local government aid, changes to market value homestead credit payments, a reduction of the statewide property tax on business and cabins, reductions to the renter's credit program, the repeal of some maintenance of effort requirements for counties/cities, changes to the payment in lieu in taxes (PILT) program, and income tax cuts for lower and middle class individuals. Many of these provisions were included in HF130, which passed early in session and was vetoed by Gov. Dayton. The Senate omnibus tax bill will be unveiled next week.
Next Friday - March 26 - the Legislature has a deadline that all bills with fiscal implications must be reported to either the House Ways and Means or Senate Finance committees. Floor sessions have been announced for Monday/Thursday of next week, and an additional session on Wednesday may be designated to process committee reports. The list of important dates below include the deadlines for policy bills:
- April 18 through the 25 – Legislative Break: No hearings or floor sessions will be held
- April 29 - Policy bills must pass all related committees in either the House or the Senate
- May 6 – Final policy deadline. Policy bills that made the April 29th deadline must be approved by all relevant committees in the other body
Certain portions of Governor Dayton's budget proposals were also introduced this week, - most notably his education initiatives. Sen. LeRoy Stumpf and Rep. Mindy Greiling, minority leads on the education finance committees, introduced bills this week that include the Governor's education priorities. Highlights include funding for all day kindergarten programming, directed funding for programs to close the achievement gap, and efforts to reward best practices when it comes to school and student achievement. Gov. Dayton also re-authorized the Early Childhood Education Council on Thursday. For the full press release, click here.