Governor Tim Walz focused on one big idea when he was sworn in for a second term: making Minnesota the best state to raise kids.
This week he will start putting numbers behind it.
The DFL Governor is unveiling his next two-year budget in pieces, starting on Tuesday with a school event where he will speak about children, families and education. He has already indicated some of his top spending priorities.
“We will make the largest investment in public education in our state’s history,” Walz said as he was sworn in this month.
He suggested additional dollars for free school meals, mental health services, special education, and teacher recruitment and training. Children and families will be the focus of his budget, he said, and he has an ambitious goal to end child poverty in the state.
Walz spent his first four years negotiating with a politically divided legislature, absorbed by the COVID-19 pandemic and responding to the murder of George Floyd and the unrest that followed. His second term will likely be radically different.
Democrats hold full control of state government for the first time in nearly a decade and have a historic $17.6 billion budget surplus to spend. Minnesota’s current two-year budget is approximately $52 billion.
The governor’s proposal, which he will present in detail next week, provides a starting point for negotiations. His administration and DFL lawmakers will spend four months developing tax and spending plans.
Lawmakers have already outlined many of their hopes for this session, including measures that commit large sums to paid vacations, Social Security tax breaks, housing, infrastructure and other issues.
Walz and lawmakers are generally aligned on key issues with some notable differences. A potential dispute is whether to give Minnesotans direct checks. Walz has repeatedly suggested giving some of the surplus to residents through one-time checks of $1,000 for individuals and $2,000 for couples.
DFL House and Senate leaders did not include checks on their priority list, but prioritized expanding tax credits to help families with child care costs. children.
Asked about checks to Minnesotans on the first day of the session, House Speaker Melissa Hortman, DFL-Brooklyn Park, said it was too early to tell where lawmakers and Walz would land on this idea and appropriations. tax.
“His brilliant commissioner of revenue and my brilliant chairman of taxes are going to find a solution to this problem that will help us achieve the governor’s stated goal of ending child poverty in Minnesota,” she said.
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