The release Tuesday of Gov. Mark Dayton's budget proposal, in the works for weeks now, will set the framework for budget negotiations and will make clear the governor's priorities.
Dayton so far has offered a few details of his goals. Here's a breakdown of what has been unveiled so far:
-- $100 million in child-care and caregiver tax credits: Households earning up to $124,000 would be eligible for the credit, which would give direct tax relief averaging $481 per family to about 130,000 families statewide. The credit also would apply to dependent care for the disabled and elderly.
-- $372 million for education. Dayton late last week at a child advocacy conference said the state funds would go toward early childhood scholarships, pre-kindergarten programs, and Head Start programs. Part of the money would go toward raising the per-pupil funding formula.
-- $44 million for human services aimed at Minnesota children's needs, particularly families in need, Dayton said Friday. Another $116 million would also go to human services, though, this portion would be aimed at the needs of the adult population.
-- $30 million for the University of Minnesota Medical School. From colleague Abby Simons: "The money would pay for 50 research faculty members over the course of eight years, improving research and attracting the best and brightest students. Dayton said the proposed $30 million — $5 million next year and $25 million in 2017 — would be only a start. He would encourage the Legislature to invest another $50 million in the medical school per biennium for the next decade."
The sum of these budget requests -- $662 million -- equal more than half of the state's projected budget surplus of $1 billion. The Minnesota Management and Budget Office will release another budget and economic forecast in late February or early March that state lawmakers will work with to craft their own budget proposal.
Separately, Dayton on Monday unveiled his transportation budget proposal. The two-term governor has proposed new forms of revenue to pay for a projected $6-billion deficit in transportation funding.