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.
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.
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.