May 16, 2022 - Politics

Minnesota leaders outline framework for end-of-session spending deal

Photo: Michael Siluk/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Top Minnesota lawmakers have agreed to the framework of an end-of-session deal on spending a big chunk of the state's surplus, with one week to go until the deadline to adjourn for the year.

The big picture: Under the tentative agreement announced by Gov. Tim Walz and legislative leaders Monday, about $4 billion will go to tax cuts and $4 billion to spending on areas such as education, public safety and health services over the next three years.

  • A remaining $4 billion will be saved for the future.

The big catch: Leaders claim they haven't agreed on how to spend the money within those buckets, including how much Minnesotans will get back via permanent tax cuts pushed by Senate Republicans, targeted credits backed by House Democrats or direct payments proposed by the governor.

  • That would mean committee chairs and leaders at the divided Legislature have just days to bridge big gulfs on policy and spending priorities.

What they're saying: "It's going to be tough work," Walz told reporters Monday. "It's going to be around the clock up here."

Zoom in: Under the deal, $450 million will be earmarked for public safety, $1 billion for schools and $1 billion for health and human services.

  • It also includes $1.4 billion in borrowing for public infrastructure and construction projects.

What's next: Committees involving members from both chambers will continue to work on specifics.

  • Leaders said they will step in as needed as the midnight Sunday deadline approaches.

The intrigue: Because the two-year budget was set last year, lawmakers don't have to make any decisions on how to spend the money before they gavel out.

  • Walz has previously said he will not call a special session if the Legislature is unable to pass supplemental spending bills by the deadline.
  • When asked whether his position had changed, he said he feels "pretty confident" that lawmakers can get it done this week.
  • "Deadlines are magical," he quipped.
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