Gov. Mark Dayton on Tuesday proposed an additional $865 million in spending to be added to his $42-billion budget proposal, with much of the spending aimed at schools, young families and college students.
The revised budget comes after the state budget office estimated the budget surplus last month grew to $1.9 billion, nearly double the amount Dayton worked with when crafting his original budget blueprint in January. If adopted, Dayton's budget would represent about a 20 percent increase in state spending since he took office.
In his latest plan, Dayton proposed $25 million for nursing home workers, $10.3 million for Indian education on a per-pupil basis and $93 million for an expansion of the working-family and K-12 tax credits.
Arguing against permanent tax cuts or other one-time tax relief, Dayton said that the state should invest the surplus rather than give it back to taxpayers as some Republicans have called for.
Minnesota Republican Party Chairman Keith Downey has proposed the state give back the entire surplus, while other GOP legislative leaders have called for other forms of tax relief in addition to spending some of the surplus.
"If we give it all back, then there's nothing left to invest in Minnesota," Dayton said Tuesday.
The DFL governor has dedicated most of the additional spending for schools and other education priorities, including universal access to preschool and tuition freezes for college students.
Calling the spending an investment, Dayton and DFL legislators supportive of his ambitious education agenda items say they will spur future economic growth and development.
He also set aside $2.3 million for a fugitive apprehension division within the Department of Corrections, which will get more personnel under the revised budget plan.
The governor recommended $50 million for child protection task force recommendations, and is planning to restore $3.7 million in state dollars for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board as the agency moves ahead after a conflict over the proposed Southwest Corridor light-rail project.
Dayton has also asked for $500,000 for a task force that will study the state health care exchange’s long-term viability, as well as other health care programs and policies. Recommendations would be due by next January.