Unified GOP Budget Plan

The following information was shared via email with the library community on Sunday, April 30, 2017 by Sam Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates, in his role as the MLA-ITEM lobbyist.

At the request of Governor Dayton, GOP leaders in the House and Senate have
come up with a unified plan for negotiations as we enter the final three
weeks of the regular session. The GOP budget plan doesn’t move closer to the
Governor’s positions, but is a merger or splitting the difference between
the House and Senate GOP plans.

The unified plan calls for $1.15 billion in tax cuts, about half way between
the House’s $1.35 billion and the Senate’s $900 million. The Governor
proposed about $300 million in tax cuts last January. For E-12 programs, the
GOP plan goes to the Senate’s level of $300 million, up from the House’s
$271 million. However, this is still a far cry from the Governor’s $709
million in proposed E-12 funding. The GOP plan is insufficient to meet 2&2
on the formula ($371 million price tag) and certainly nowhere near the
Governor’s desired level of spending on preK.

Monday will be a hectic day at the Capitol. The various budget conference
committees will unveil the details of their spending plans. E-12 is
convening at 3pm along with several other conference committees. GOP leaders
are hoping to negotiate a budget plan with the Governor by Thursday, but
that doesn’t seem likely.

Legacy

The Legacy conference committee met for a walk through of the House and
Senate plans last Thursday. They meet again Tuesday at 9am. Those with
closer ties to Rep. Bob Gunther and Sen. Carrie Ruud might send a last
minute note to them, urging them to support the House’s level of funding for
library legacy programming.

Bonding

The House is set to finally release a bonding bill early this week. Speaker
Daudt and Ways & Means Chair Jim Knoblach said it will be an $800 million
bill; $200 million of which will go to transportation projects. Library
construction grants have an uphill battle in the House.

Samuel P. Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates