Walz’s Budget

On Tuesday, Governor Tim Walz rolled out his full, $65 billion budget. Under the proposal, all but about $1.3 billion of the surplus would be spent, and two tax increases would be enacted: a 1/8 cent sales tax hike in the metro and a raise on taxes on large capital gains. Governor Walz also renewed his call for $1,000 direct checks to Minnesotans (this time calling for earnings caps), and proposed paying off the remainder of what is owed on the U.S. Bank stadium, then closing the Stadium Reserve Fund.

Walz’s Bonding Bill

In addition to the budget, the Governor announced his $3.3 billion bonding plan late this week:

  • $650 million for roads and bridges
  • $470 million for affordable housing
  • $312 million for environmental resilience
  • $260 million for buildings at the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota State College system
  • $90 million for veterans’ homes

Clean Energy Bill

After seven hours of debate on the floor Thursday night, the House passed the bill to require all energy produced in Minnesota by public utilities to come from carbon-free sources by the year 2040; non-public utilities would be subject to a 60% clean energy standard. An author’s amendment was adopted, but debate centered around dozens of unsuccessful amendments offered by the minority party. The Senate will vote on their version of the bill in the coming weeks.

Mining Up North

Yesterday, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland announced a landmark 20-year ban on new mineral leases on 225,000 acres of land in the Superior National Forest. Absent a legal challenge, this rule effectively shutters Twin Metals’ plans for a copper-nickel mine in the Boundary Waters area of northern Minnesota.

No Signs of Slowing Down

January action at the legislature continues to proceed at a swift pace. This week, both chambers continued to pass major pieces of legislation through their committee stops. Paid Family and Medical Leave, Earned Sick and Safe Time, and adult-use recreational cannabis all made progress in their lengthy committee paths this week. Additionally, the Protect Reproductive Options Act, which would enshrine the right to abortion in statute, passed off the House floor late last week and is set for a vote in the Senate today.

January 27, 2023