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Rep. Jay McNamar: Budget will help students, communities and businesses

ST. PAUL -- Well, this has been our final week of the legislative session. Since January, we have been working to make sure we balance the budget and invest in the things that Minnesotans value the most. 

We’re paying off the $627 million budget deficit that was left over from the previous legislature.We’re paying back the $854 million owed to our schools over the next two years. And on top of paying back this $1.4 million in IOUs, we’ll be making investments that will help Minnesotans across the state.  

Included in our budget is over $700 million in funding education, from early childhood all the way up through college. These investments will help fund All Day Kindergarten, freeze tuition at all state colleges and universities, and increase base funding for our local school districts after years of cuts.

We’ll also be providing $400 million in property tax relief. This will come in the form of direct property tax relief for homeowners and renters, increased Local Government Aid for cities, and increased County Program Aid for counties. These investments, along with increased funds for schools, should greatly lessen the need for local property tax levies.

Perhaps the biggest impact on the economy may be the investments we make in economic development. Last session, the legislature cut funding for jobs and economic development almost in half. This session, we are bringing investments from $27 million all the way up to $97 million. These dollars will help local cities bring in new businesses that can add jobs in our communities. They will help Minnesota set up trade relationships across the globe so we can sell our goods more easily. 

These crucial investments will be paid for by asking the wealthiest Minnesotans, those making over $250,000 a year, to pay their fair share of income taxes. We will not be taxing clothing.We will not be taxing services like oil changes or haircuts. In fact, we’re providing $346 million in tax cuts for Minnesota businesses.

This budget will help students. It will help communities. It will help businesses. And most importantly, it will do all these things without one time borrowing and budget shifts. We are putting forward a balanced budget that will help Minnesota move forward from a decade of budget deficits. It was a lot of work to get it done, but it will have a very positive impact on our state.