Budget Negotiations

The following information was shared via email with the library community on Tuesday, May 9, 2017 by Sam Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates, in his role as the MLA-ITEM lobbyist.

Legislative leaders met through Saturday and while the tone seemed cordial
there’s little progress to report on. With two weeks left, this is the week
for the GOP to either send some or all of their budget plan to the Governor
where he’s promised to veto them. That would leave the last week of session
to hammer out a deal to avoid a June special session.

The Tax bill is a major source of contention and perhaps the bill the GOP
would like to draw a stark distinction with DFL Governor Dayton. Dayton is
supporting some $300 million in tax relief, while the GOP tax cut plan is
$1.15 billion in size. In scope, the GOP plan includes tax credits for
donations to private scholarship funds, and item Dayton has recently
publicly committed to vetoing.

Competing spending levels and early learning strategies are once again tying
up progress on the E-12 bill. The GOP is poised to repeal Dayton’s voluntary
pre-K (VPK) program in exchange for a smaller amount of funding on early
learning scholarships. The Governor will go to the mat to save his VPK
program. It’s unclear how leadership will end of resolving this issue.

It would be good for local library officials to touch base with their
legislators in the next day or two to remind them of the importance of our
requests for:

.         Bonding funds (Chairs Sen. Dave Senjem, Rep. Dean Urdahl)

.         Legacy funds (Chairs Sen. Carrie Ruud, Rep. Bob Gunther)

.         E-12 funds for regional systems (Chairs Sen. Carla Nelson, Rep.
Jennifer Loon)

Please send me a note if you want advice on which issues are more
advantageous for you to talk to your legislators about. Some are more
engrossed in certain bills than others, especially the chairs.

Samuel P. Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates