Teamster sisters and brothers,
The 2017 Legislative Session has officially concluded with Governor Mark Dayton signing into law 9 budget bills and the bonding bill, that make up the state’s $46 billion, two-year budget, and would allow a $650 million tax bill to become law without his signature. Governor Dayton vetoed Special Session S.F. 3, which contained the provisions of the omnibus pension bill. He did so because the Legislature tacked on so-called preemption which would have stripped over 150,000 people in Minneapolis and Saint Paul of their earned safe and sick time (sick leave) guaranteed by city ordinance. Governor Dayton stated, “This legislation interferes with local control, harms workers, and takes away the power of citizens to make positive changes in their communities.”
Teamsters Local 320 supported the omnibus pension bill without the preemption provision as it put additional money into state pension systems to reduce unfunded liabilities. It is our hope that we can pass a pension bill in 2018 regular session.
The Governor signed the higher education bill which includes an additional $54.6 million for the University of Minnesota, $106.3 million for Minnesota State campuses, and $36 million for the Minnesota State Grant Program. Unfortunately, the bill did not meet the funding requests for the two systems of $147 million and $178 million respectively. The bad student fee language was replaced with a fee referendum where the students get to vote on any fee increase that exceeds 2 percent. The underfunding of higher education continues to be a troubling state and national trend.
State Courts and Public Defense
The state court system and the Board of Public Defense did not receive their full funding requests of 3.5 percent salary increases (7 percent over the biennium). Instead, judges were provided 2.5 percent salary increases (5 percent over the biennium) setting a pattern for other court employees. The Board of Public Defense received an additional $5.3 million in funding for salaries and new attorneys. All funding and salary increases are subject to collective bargaining.
The Legislature agreed to fund the 2 percent annual increases on the basic education funding formula (4 percent over the biennium). The bill includes up to an additional $50 million for pre-kindergarten and investments in reading and math corps, mental health grants, teacher workforce initiatives, career and technical education programming, transportation, agency operating and IT needs, and the Bureau of Indian Education Schools.
MNTLEL and Law Enforcement
$12 million for Police Training (POST Board): This funding aligns with the recommendations of the Governor's Council on Law Enforcement and Community Relations and provides training for law enforcement officers across the state on de-escalation and crisis intervention training.
$6.4 million for the Department of Public Safety's (DPS) operational support: DPS maintains current level of service to local communities and Minnesotans ranging from supporting crime victims to assisting with natural disasters or violent crime investigations.
$1.1 million for the enforcement of the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA): This funding will ensure DOC complies with the federal PREA regulations. Failure to comply could have resulted in financial penalties and ineligibility for certain federal funds.
Taxes: LGA and CPA
Local Government Aid (LGA) appropriation increase: The bill includes a $15 million permanent increase in LGA funding beginning in calendar year 2018, bringing the total appropriation to $534.4 million per year. View estimates of each city’s 2018 LGA under the bill.
CPA appropriation increase: The bill provides $25.5 million in additional CPA per year, with all of the additional aid applied to the tax base equalization aid formula. Also makes a technical change by incorporating an ongoing $3 million per year aid payment to Beltrami County into the overall aid appropriation. View estimates of each county’s 2018 CPA under the bill.
The cost of this bill, more than $648.1 million in the next biennium, $790.6 million in the following biennium, and even more in future years, repeats the irresponsible budgeting of Minnesota's past and seriously jeopardizes our State's future fiscal stability. The bill also contains a $78 million budget shift, which hides the true cost of the bill and the significant tax cuts that will grow disproportionately in the future. The Commercial/Industrial levy freeze will cost more than $1 billion over ten years.
Governor Dayton has decided to not fund the Minnesota State Legislature and its operations per his authority under a ‘line item veto’ in the state government bill. The non-funding will continue until the Legislature repeals the unsustainable tax cuts for wealthy individuals and big corporations, and modifies the misguided Teacher Licensure Provision. You can read his statement to the Legislature.