As negotiations over budget priorities enter their final stage at the Capitol, Gov. Mark Dayton issued his list of "must-have" items this week to legislative leaders.
Dayton wants $124 million to pay for additional staff at mental security hospitals in St. Peter and Anoka, funding to avoid layoffs at the Department of Corrections, and a voluntary prekindergarten program. The framework of Dayton's priorities come as legislative leaders conduct high-level meetings on the supplemental state budget.
As part of the $124 million, a figure that would nearly double once fully implemented in the next two-year budget cycle, Dayton also wants to fully fund Minnesota judges' pension plan, currently about 53 percent funded.
Dayton is also pushing for additional funding for the University of Minnesota Medical School and the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, according to a memo provided to legislators and obtained by the Star Tribune.
Dayton also wants $200 million in one-time spending for rural broadband expansion and a package of racial equity proposals. His final list of budget priorities leaves intact about $476 million of the state's $900 million projected budget surplus.