Joint House/Senate budget targets announced
Today, the leaders of the House and Senate Republican caucuses unveiled their joint budget targets for FY 2018-2019. These numbers will be the framework for the House-Senate conference committees as they work to craft identical budget bills to send the the governor.
Most of the numbers represent a middle ground between the House and Senate targets proposed earlier in session. The higher education target is $125 million which is the midpoint between the original Senate target of $100 million and the House target of $150 million.
The conference committees have been given a deadline of Monday to complete their bills with the new targets. Legislative leaders have called on Governor Dayton to release his new targets by Thursday of next week to begin the process of negotiating with the conference committees. Additionally, next week the House will release their bonding proposal, according to House Speaker Kurt Daudt (R-Crown).
With the 2017 Legislative Session scheduled to conclude on Monday, May 22, legislative leaders and the governor have less than a month to agree upon a state budget for the next biennium. The next state budget will take effect on July 1 of this year.
Higher Education Conference Committee bill starts to take shape
On Thursday, the Higher Education conference committee began adopting policy provisions. Members focused their attention to Article 2 and 3 which contain the policy provisions of the bill. Article 1 which outlines budget funding will be taken up at their next meeting.
Rep. Nornes introduced two amendments which outlined policy provisions from both the House and Senate bill. Highlighted provisions which are now included in the higher education bill include:
- Encouraging Minnesota State and the University of Minnesota to seek fiscal balance when negotiating collective bargaining agreements.
- Additional budget reporting requirements for both Minnesota State and the University of Minnesota is due when submitting budget requests. In addition, each system must report any consultant contracts in excess of $500,000. A definition for these contracts were also added.
- Prohibiting mandatory student fees.
- Post-secondary institutions must provide information to student parents and pregnant students of resources and legal rights.
- The Office of Higher Education (OHE) must report on the number of students who place into developmental education directly from high school.
- OHE must establish a grant program for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
- Modifications to the child care grant.
- Modification to the teacher candidate grant program to include those who intend to teach in a shortage area. The language also expands the program to include teacher candidates of color.
- Loan forgiveness programs for aviation and agricultural educators was established.
- Workforce Development Scholarships available to students enrolled in high-demand programs at two-year colleges.
- Minnesota State must develop a plan to address developmental education reform.
- Nonexclusive easement granted to the City of Virginia Housing and Redevelopment Authority.
- Supplemental aid provided to two-year colleges outside of the metropolitan area.
Article 2 - amendment A80
Article 3 - amendment A79
The committee plans to meet on Monday to adopt budget provisions - no meeting time has been announced yet.