Lawmakers late Thursday night OK’d the appropriations needed to fund state government agencies, veterans’ services, constitutional offices and the Legislature.
The $1.07 billion package is $98.8 million more than a state government finance bill vetoed during the regular session.
“We crafted a budget that the House, Senate, and Governor’s Office will all be able to support,” said Rep. Sarah Anderson (R-Plymouth) said in a statement. Anderson sponsored the bill along with Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer (R-Big Lake).
“With this compromise we are putting an end to double-digit state agency increases, while still funding our shared priorities and making state government more efficient and accountable,” she said.
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The bill includes provisions that would:
Anderson said on the House Floor the bill would create a Legislative Budget Office that “will help us get an accurate picture of what things cost here at the Legislature … and give us more accurate and greater access to information when it comes to the financial decisions that we have to make.”
Executive branch severance package reform is also included, as are new measures related to gain-sharing to incentivize state workers to share ideas for how government could work better.
“Unfortunately, that program was not being followed,” Anderson said. “They’re supposed to have a dollar-for-dollar cost savings and that wasn’t doing that at all.”
The state auditor’s office would have its funding come from the General Fund, under a change made in the bill, as it did prior to 2013. Anderson said the goal is to have “greater oversight and transparency” into how those funds are used by the office.
Additionally, the state auditor is to report on legal expenses “so that we know how funds are being used and that they’re not coming out of the pension division that she oversees,” she said.
Parts of the omnibus liquor bill are also included in the bill. They include:
“They were created to ensure that every woman and girl in the state has the ability and opportunity to achieve economic security,” she said. “This is the only entity that we as legislators get that provides us a broad range of public policy issues and the analysis on them as they relate to the economic status of women. This helps us to enact laws that create more of a level playing field for the women of the state.”
The state’s latest economic forecast projects a budget deficit of $188 million for the current two-year biennium, and a $586 million deficit for the 2020-21 biennium
The Minnesota Supreme Court on Thursday upheld Gov. Mark Dayton’s line-item veto of the Legislature’s 2018-19 operating budget.
The budget process explained — and why it matters