Governor's budget includes $640 million increase for education
Gov. Mark Dayton has proposed increasing state spending on early childhood through higher education by $640 million over the next two years as part of the $37.9 billion state budget he unveiled Jan. 22.
Education Minnesota President Tom Dooher said the 2013 legislative session will be the first in many years to start out with proposals to increase investment in education, rather than cutting funding or holding it flat.
"Gov. Mark Dayton deserves credit for presenting a budget without shifts from schools or other gimmicks,” Dooher said. “He’s building a strong fiscal foundation for Minnesota."
Major proposals in the governor's budget include:
- A $52 increase in the K-12 per-pupil formula allowance ($118 million).
- A modest increase in special education funding ($125 million) to relieve some pressure on school district budgets.
- A $240 million increase for higher education, divided three ways among the state’s two higher education systems and an $80 million increase in student grant aid.
The budget also proposes the following:
- $44 million for early childhood scholarships.
- $20 million to increase access to quality child care.
- $40 million for all-day, every-day kindergarten for low-income children.
- $10 million to implement the state’s new teacher evaluation system.
Smaller amounts would go for English language learning, six new Regional Centers of Excellence to help struggling schools, bullying prevention and reductions in special education paperwork. New funding formulas would be created for integration aid and literacy incentive aid. The budget anticipates the $1.1 billion state K-12 funding shift being repaid in the 2016-17 biennium.
Dayton also proposed a package of tax increases to pay for the increased spending, including higher marginal income tax rates on high earners and an extension of the sales tax to clothing purchases over $100 and to services, while reducing the tax rate. The tax plan also includes $500 property tax rebates for homeowners.
Legislative hearings on the budget begin Jan. 23. Lawmakers are unlikely to vote on the governor’s recommendations or propose their own, however, until the next state financial forecast comes out Feb. 28.
January 22, 2013