Comparisons of the first five budget bills

Details of the first five budget bills for the special session have been released.  These are the bills for Higher Education, Environment, Commerce & Energy, Jobs & Economic Development, Public Safety, and Transportation.  Combined, these areas only make up about 1/7 of the state’s General Fund spending.  What we see in these five bills is total spending levels split about halfway between Gov. Dayton’s March proposal and the bills passed by the GOP majority in May.

Higher education is still taking a pounding even with the budget compromise.  Current funding is $2.811 billion, meaning that there’s about $245 million in spending reductions — all coming directly out of the University of Minnesota ($126 million cut) and MnSCU ($129 million cut).  The only saving grace for higher ed funding is that financial aid programs for students are protected.  Other things of note include Twin Cities transit funding — the GOP had wanted that line item slashed by nearly $100 million to $20 million while Governor Mark Dayton had budgeted $129 million.  The two sides agreed to a figure of $78 million for the next biennium.

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