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Prioritizing Early Education, Fiscal Responsibility, and Opportunity for All Minnesotans

3/17/2017 2:24:00 PM

Governor Dayton’s supplemental budget proposal builds on his Opportunity Agenda, proposing $175 million in total investments to expand voluntary preK opportunities
Governor’s supplemental budget proposal follows February budget forecast showing a $1.65 billion surplus, and would save $200 million for a rainy day
Governor’s proposals would also invest in opportunities for Minnesota farmers and communities
ST. PAUL, MN – Governor Mark Dayton today released his supplemental budget proposal, which calls for an additional $100 million investment to offer voluntary preK opportunities to more Minnesota families (bringing the Governor’s total proposed investments in preK to $175 million), while protecting the fiscal responsibility of our state’s budget, and increasing economic opportunity across Minnesota. In addition to the Governor’s proposed investments, his supplemental budget proposal would keep $200 million in savings, along with Minnesota’s already substantial budget reserve savings of more than $1.5 billion.
The Governor’s supplemental budget proposal comes after the state’s February Budget Forecast showed the state with a $1.65 billion budget surplus, and builds on the Governor’s previously released budget proposal, An Opportunity Agenda for a Better Minnesota.
“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 Governor Mark Dayton. “Investing $175 million in voluntary preK this year would allow more schools to offer that opportunity to students and families across Minnesota. My budget would deliver excellent educations for all our students, support job creation across our state, and help build an even Better Minnesota for all who call our state home.”
The Governor’s supplemental budget would invest an additional $100 million in voluntary preK. This investment would be on top of the $75 million the Governor previously proposed for preK this year, bringing Governor Dayton’s total proposed investments in voluntary preK to $175 million this session. This investment would provide access to voluntary preK for 12,900 more Minnesota four-year-olds and their families across our state. Combined with the 3,300 four-year-olds already enrolled in preK, this would bring the total number served to more than 16,200 four-year-olds, with 1,000 additional students gaining access each year beginning in 2019.
“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 – with investments to expand voluntary preK to school districts that want it, provide Minnesota students access to Ag education, and bring us a step closer to providing a rail connection from St. Cloud to Minneapolis. Equally important, his budget protects Minnesota’s fiscal integrity by leaving $200 million for a rainy day. I urge the Legislature to carefully consider the Governor’s proposed strategies for growing opportunity across Minnesota.”
Governor Dayton’s supplemental budget proposal would invest in more opportunity for Minnesota farmers, families, and communities, while keeping $200 million in savings to help protect the state’s finances in case of a rainy day. Below, see how Governor Dayton’s supplemental budget would invest in better opportunities for a better Minnesota.
Investing in Minnesota Kids & Families
Governor Dayton’s supplemental budget proposal would invest in expanded early education and child care access, to increase opportunities for kids and families across the state.
·         Expanding Voluntary PreK – Last year, Governor Dayton secured a historic investment to offer free, voluntary preschool at Minnesota school districts. That $25 million investment allowed 74 school districts across the state to offer this opportunity to Minnesota families, but more than twice that many schools applied. Every family ought to have the opportunity to give their kids the best start – that’s why Governor Dayton is calling for $175 million to expand voluntary preK for more Minnesota families. Voluntary preschool options are especially important in Greater Minnesota, where transportation challenges make accessing other early education and child care options difficult for Minnesota families.
·         Additional Investments in Pathways to Prosperity – Governor Dayton’s supplemental budget would invest an additional $10 million for Pathways to Prosperity, a strategic effort to connect Minnesotans with the education and training they need to access opportunities in high-growth, high-demand careers with family-sustaining incomes. This program provides opportunities to historically disenfranchised communities, and other individuals facing barriers to employment, to expand economic opportunity for more Minnesotans across our state.
Investing in Minnesota Farmers
Governor Dayton’s supplemental budget would invest in strategies to support Minnesota farmers, including funding to protect against the threat of avian flu, education and engagement opportunities, and additional funding to support water quality buffer implementation.
·         Farmer-Led Efforts for Water Quality – This past fall, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture convened a group of Minnesota agricultural organizations to create a plan to improve water quality across Minnesota. After meeting for six months, the group recommend establishing Farmer-Led Councils to support a grassroots process for farmers to identify and recommend water quality solutions in their communities. Governor Dayton’s supplemental budget proposal would invest $1.5 million to establish Farmer-Led Councils in Minnesota, to collaboratively address water quality solutions in local watersheds across Minnesota. This initiative will fund grants for local, farmer-led councils to develop a list of prioritized projects to meet water quality improvement outcomes, and provide funding for implementation of prioritized projects. Learn more about the progress Minnesota farmers are making on water quality here.
·         Funding to Protect against Avian Flu – Minnesota grows more turkeys than any other state in the nation. The 2015 outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in Minnesota was estimated to cause $650 million in economic loss across our economy, hitting turkey growers especially hard. To meet these challenges, Governor Dayton’s supplemental budget would invest $1.2 million to plan and prepare for the renewed possibility of avian flu, to ensure Minnesota is ready to quickly respond to agricultural emergencies, and to monitor the wild bird population. 
·         Training the Next Generation of Ag Educators – Governor Dayton’s supplemental budget proposal would invest $500,000 to help train the next generation of agricultural educators. The funding provides matching grants to school districts to pay for agricultural education teachers for work over the summer with high school students. The summer growing season is a key time to help students learn and grow as agricultural educators. The current grant of $250,000 will fund 43 programs and 63 teachers for summer 2017.
·         Additional Aid for Water Quality Buffer Implementation – Governor Dayton’s proposed Tax Bill includes $10 million a year for local aid to support county and watershed district implementation of water quality buffers. Now, the Governor’s supplemental budget proposes to invest an additional $10 million to start that funding in 2017, to provide additional support to farmers and local governments working to meet implementation timelines. Local government jurisdiction is the best way to support landowners’ buffer implementation to protect water quality.
o    The Governor’s Tax Bill also includes financial assistance for farmers for installing water quality buffers, alleviating the cost of buffer installation by providing eligible landowners $40 per acre each year for each tillable acre converted to a water quality buffer strip.
o    And, Governor Dayton’s Jobs Bill includes $30 million for direct payments to farmers who voluntarily improve their conservation practices for better water quality. 
o    Learn more about the progress Minnesota farmers are making on water quality buffers here.
Investing in Minnesota Communities
Governor Dayton’s supplemental budget proposal would invest in better opportunities for communities across Minnesota, supporting health, public safety, and economic opportunity.
·         Extending Rail Service to St. Cloud – Governor Dayton’s supplemental budget proposal includes $3 million for a six-month demonstration of rail service from Minneapolis to St. Cloud to complement current service on the Northstar line. This demonstration will allow MnDOT and the community an opportunity to demonstrate the need for continued rail service between the two communities. The Governor’s supplemental budget also includes $850,000 to conduct an engineering study on extending Northstar Service to St. Cloud. The study would update a 2010 study on engineering costs and projected ridership, to determine the estimated costs of extending the service.
·         Roseau Flood Protection – Governor Dayton’s supplemental budget would provide $2.8 million to reimburse the county for construction of drainage ditches following severe flooding in 1999 and 2002. This flooding devastated the County’s network of drainage ditches and damaged other infrastructure. FEMA has declined to reimburse this work despite appeals from locals, Governor Dayton, and members of the state's congressional delegation.
·         Economic Opportunity in Ely – Governor Dayton’s supplemental proposal includes $1.3 million in bonding to construct a trailhead facility with parking, visitor information, and a rest stop for users of three regional trails: Prospectors Loop, the Taconite Snowmobile Trail, and the Mesabi Trail. The trailhead connection will accommodate users and thousands of tourists that travel to Ely, providing a significant economic impact to the City and the region.
·         Safer, Stronger Communities – On the recommendation of the Governor’s Council on Law Enforcement and Community Relations, Governor’s supplemental budget proposal would invest $2 million to support and strengthen law enforcement and community partnerships. This funding could help implement future recommendations from the Council.
·         Keeping Law Enforcement Safe – Governor Dayton’s supplemental budget proposal includes $560,000 to fulfill the state’s obligation to help fund soft body armor that helps keep our brave law enforcement officers safe while they serve our communities.
·         Fighting the Opioid Epidemic – Opioid deaths have increased 430 percent in Minnesota since 2000. Eighty percent of Americans addicted to heroin started out taking prescription pain medications. Governor Dayton’s supplemental budget would hold pharmaceutical companies responsible for their role in the epidemic by increasing the fee on these prescriptions and then investing the $42 million generated to prevent and treat opioid addiction and abuse. Governor Dayton’s budget also includes funding to improve statewide tracking of overdoses in Minnesota so law enforcement and health officials can respond more quickly and effectively. Governor Dayton’s would also invest $4 million for Minnesota’s Tribal Nations and urban American Indian communities to fund prevention programs to reduce opioid abuse.
·         Protecting Vulnerable Adults – Governor Dayton’s supplemental budget would invest an additional $2 million to protect vulnerable adults when they’re seeking or receiving healthcare to help ensure that all Minnesotans – no matter age or ability – can receive the treatment they need in a safe and secure setting. This $2 million investments adds to $1.2 million previously proposed in the Governor’s budget, bringing total proposed investments to $3.2 million to protect vulnerable adults seeking healthcare.
·         Funding for Healthier Communities – Governor Dayton’s supplemental budget proposes to invest $4 million to help Hennepin County Medical Center and Regions Hospital continue to provide accessible, essential healthcare services for Minnesota communities.
To see all investments included in the Governor’s supplemental budget proposal, click here.
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