Budget targets approved


On a 17-13 vote, members of the House Ways and Means Committee signed off on budget targets that would include deep spending cuts to some areas of state government.

The House’s Republican majority is proposing to spend $34.26 billion from the state’s General Fund in fiscal years 2012-2013. Compared to forecasted spending levels, that represents a proposed 12.2 percent cut; however, it would still be a 5.5 percent increase over current biennial General Fund spending.

“We feel that these numbers are living within our means, and that we’ll be able to meet the necessary needs of the state in the numbers reflected in this target,” said Committee Chairwoman Mary Liz Holberg (R-Lakeville).

DFL committee members said the proposed budget targets would lead to college tuition hikes, property tax increases and stunted job growth. They introduced a number of amendments to adopt Gov. Mark Dayton‘s proposed spending levels for budget areas like higher education, economic development and local government aid, but the amendments were either voted down or ruled out of order.

Here are the House’s budget targets as approved by the committee, along with numbers indicating their change from forecasted 2012-2013 spending levels:

  • $14.16 billion for k-12 education (-9.4 percent);
  • $10.71 billion for health and human services (-13.2 percent);
  • $2.96 billion for tax aids and credits (-15.7 percent);
  • $2.51 billion for higher education (-14.1 percent);
  • $1.17 billion for capital investment (-4.9 percent);
  • $1.03 billion for public safety (-2.8 percent);
  • $726.8 million for judiciary (0 percent);
  • $443.7 million for state government (-51.4 percent);
  • $228.1 million for environment, energy and natural resources (-22.3 percent);
  • $120.2 million for transportation (-33.3 percent);
  • $81.6 million for jobs and economic development (-51.5 percent); and
  • $76.8 million for agriculture (-14 percent).

A more detailed spreadsheet is available online from the nonpartisan House Fiscal Analysis Department.