The Governor and the Legislature completed their work on the state budget but not without going into a special session to get it done. In fact, an agreement on the overall budget was not reached until one day before adjournment, so late there was no way they could complete work on the state budget by the constitutionally required adjournment date of May 20. Highlights of the overall budget agreement include:
- No gas tax increase or tab fee increases
- Health care provider tax made permanent at 1.8%
- 2% per year increase to the general education formula
- Second-tier income tax bracket rate decreased by 6.8% beginning in tax year 2022
Conference committee chairs were instructed to finish their bills by 5pm Monday, the last day of legislative session. In all cases, except for Higher Education, this was not accomplished and ultimately most of the specific budget negotiations resulted in the three leaders working out differences. Committee chairs could not do this by their 5pm deadline, including E12 Education.
Once it appeared the details of each budget bill were coming together, Governor Walz called for a special session to begin Friday, May 24. The special session lasted one day and adjourned Saturday, May 25 with a state budget passed by both bodies. Governor Walz signed all the budget bills the following week without any line item vetoes.
E12 Education Appropriations
The E12 budget was increased by $543 million over the next biennium. This was considerably less than the House proposed increase at $900 million, and the Governor at $718 million, but higher than the Senate’s $206 million proposed increase. Most of the new funding was dedicated to funding:
- 2% per year formula increase;
- Holding the line on the special education cross subsidy; and
- Continuing funding for the VPK/SR+ slots for two more years.
Each side was also given $1.5 million to allocate as they wish. The House invested much of that to expand and support the diversity of the teaching workforce. The Senate invested much of that in P-TECH school grants.
The bill is notable for what it doesn’t include – significant or controversial policy provisions. The only policy provisions adopted were not controversial, included in both bodies’ initial budget bills and had already been agreed to in conference committee up to the deadline. Any controversial policies, which were primarily in the House bill, were not included. The most notable provision that didn’t survive was the House proposal to roll back tiered licensure, but other items also failed to move forward including changes to the pupil fair dismissal act, pre-kindergarten teacher licensure, continuing contract status for ECFE and ABE teachers, and comprehensive sex education.
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