Senate DFL leaders on Friday unveiled a broad budget outline that called for spending $42.7 billion in the upcoming biennium, about $250 million less than what Gov. Mark Dayton in his budget.
It follows the House Republican budget targets, released Tuesday, which called for a a budget of $40 billion, though it left out a chunk of spending. Republicans did not include in their total budget the more than $600 million in general fund dollars they would divert to road and bridge repairs in the next two years. Once that is factored in, as well as a $2-billion unspecified tax cut plan, the gap between the Dayton, DFL and GOP plans closes substantially.
The DFL proposal, characterized by Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk as a "middle ground between the House Republican budget targets and Gov. Dayton's budget recommendations," would set aside $250 million to grow the state's budget reserve, or rainy day fund.
Bakk was vague Friday about what the DFL budget proposal will look like, but said details will become clearer in coming weeks as budget negotiations get underway.
The plan calls for $1.14 billion in new spending, about $730 million less than the projected $1.87 billion budget surplus. Of that, nearly half will be dedicated to education.
DFLer's tax proposal calls for $200 million in tax cuts, which is likely to include property tax cuts, said Senate Taxes Chair Rod Skoe, DFL-Clearbrook.
In a statement, Senate Minority Leader David Hann, R-Eden Prairie, criticized the DFL budget targets.
“The state budget should reflect Minnesotans’ values, but Senate Democrats clearly refuse to do the hard work Republicans are doing to eliminate wasteful spending," Hann said. "The Republican budget, on the other hand, is designed to increase family budgets and grow the state’s economy."
This is a developing story. Check back later for an update.