Last week Governor Tim Walz brought a state budget proposal forward that the administration is calling the “One Minnesota Budget." The administration also announced a 2023 Infrastructure Plan, signed a bill to support workers on the Iron Range and three candidates were recommended to the administration to fill a judicial vacancy.
On Jan. 24, Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan presented their entire One Minnesota Budget to the legislature. The final package within their budget includes $8 billion in tax cuts for seniors and working families, direct checks of up to $2,600 to help Minnesotans afford rising costs, plus a framework to legalize and regulate adult-use cannabis. The roll out followed previous announcements focused on supporting children and families, investing in Minnesota’s economic future and protecting Minnesotans’ health and safety. Details for the entire One Minnesota Budget can be found online.
“Over the last week, we laid out our plan to make Minnesota the best state in the nation for children, invest in our economic future, combat climate change and improve public safety across the state. Today, we lay out the full picture of how this budget will lower costs, cut taxes and improve lives for Minnesotans,” said Governor Walz. “With the largest tax cut in state history, the One Minnesota Budget invests directly in the people that made our state strong in the first place. For a middle-class family of four, the One Minnesota Budget could put $10,000 back in their pocket. We are delivering a transformational budget for Minnesotans and I look forward to getting this done.”
In addition to the regulation for legal cannabis, the proposal included recommending nearly $4 billion of the state’s surplus be sent directly back to Minnesotans in the form of checks up to $2,600. These direct payments would be structured as an advanced income tax credit equal to $2,000 for families with income below $150,000 and $1,000 for single filers making less than $75,000. More than 2.5 million Minnesota households would receive a check in the One Minnesota Budget. The governor and lieutenant governor also recommend $219 million to reduce taxes on Social Security benefits for over 350,000 Minnesota households. This proposal would expand the number of seniors eligible for lower Social Security taxes and raise the thresholds at which the tax cuts start to phase out. They also recommend increasing the Local Government Aid and County Program Aid programs by $30 million each, assisting cities and counties with improving their local roads and infrastructure and keeping property taxes low for Minnesotans.
On Jan. 25, Walz signed a bill into law extending Unemployment Insurance benefits for workers on the Iron Range. The bill will provide an additional 26 weeks of benefits for over 400 workers who were laid off due to the idling of Northshore Mining last May.
Also on Jan. 25, the Commission on Judicial Selection announced that it is recommending three candidates for consideration to fill a vacancy in Minnesota’s Third Judicial District. The vacancy will occur upon the retirement of the Honorable Jodi L. Williamson. The seat will be chambered in Mantorville in Dodge County.
On Jan. 26, Governor Walz announced a proposal for a 2023 Infrastructure Plan, being billed as a capital investment recommendation for the upcoming legislative session. The $3.3 billion plan invests in critical projects focused on roads, bridges, and water systems, housing and homelessness and environmental stewardship.
“The investments in our plan are a down payment on the future of our state,” said Walz. “Strong infrastructure is what allows Minnesotans to live safe and healthy lives. It’s what keeps our drinking water clean, our roads and bridges safe to drive on and our communities safe from flooding. The investments will support the economic vitality of our communities, while creating thousands of good-paying jobs.”
The 2023 Infrastructure Plan includes $1.9 billion in General Obligation Bonds and $1.4 billion in other financing, including $250 million in Appropriation Bonds and $899 million in General Fund cash. General Obligation Bonds are backed by the state’s full faith and credit and finance publicly owned capital projects. Appropriation Bonds are repaid through annual appropriations from the Legislature and can be used to finance a broader range of capital projects.
The administration also added that the plan invests more than $650 million in road, bridge and water system projects across the state. The plan includes $144 million for local bridge replacements, $108 million for local road improvement projects and $222 million in local water infrastructure grants and loans – which include an important investment of state funds to match federal infrastructure dollars. The plan also includes more than $90 million in needed renovations and replacements at Minnesota’s veterans homes in Hastings, Preston, Montevideo and Bemidji, which covers the cost of replacing buildings that are more than 100 years old at the veterans home in Hastings.
As well, more than $520 million would be allocated to support projects across the state that build thriving communities. This includes a $200 million focus on equity in bonding to ensure projects reach communities that have been traditionally excluded from capital investments. These investments will help communities grow and prosper, from renovating community centers and libraries to replacing outdated fire stations.