February Budget Forecast

This week, Minnesota Management and Budget released their February budget forecast, which is the last projection of state revenues and expenditures that the Governor and legislature will use to help them craft their budget bills. This forecast is the first to incorporate projected inflationary costs, and shows a stable outlook with a $17.5 billion balance projected for the upcoming biennium. Income tax revenues are up significantly compared to the previous forecast, giving lawmakers even more surplus to work with.

Legislative Deadlines

The first legislative deadline is next Friday, March 10. All policy bills must be heard in committee in their chamber of origin by that date or risk being eliminated from consideration this session. An historic number of bills being introduced in both chambers, combined with a three-day break in committee hearings due to last week’s snowstorm, has caused committees to ratchet up the pace of hearing policy bills. This past week, evening hearings and Friday hearings were scheduled as chairs raced to accomplish their business.

Adult-Use Recreational Cannabis Continues Moving

The bill to legalize adult-use recreational cannabis (H.F. 100/S.F. 73) continued its lengthy path through committees in both chambers this week with three hearings. The bill must still be heard in at least a dozen committees before it can move to a floor vote.

New Penalties for Catalytic Converter Theft

This week, the Senate passed a version of the bill to increase penalties for crimes related to catalytic converter theft (H.F. 30). The House recently passed a similar bill, and must approve the Senate’s language before the legislation is sent to the Governor’s desk for signature.

Historic Funding for Housing

House and Senate Housing committee chairs, Sen. Lindsey Port (D-Burnsville) and Rep. Mike Howard (D-Richfield), held a press conference this week to announce their $3 billion package dedicated to alleviating the housing shortage and working to end homelessness, particularly for children. The package would allocate $750 million for housing construction, $350 million per year for rental assistance, and $175 million in down payment assistance for first-time homebuyers. The package is nearly double the Governor’s proposal; it’s unclear if budget targets will allow for the full dollar amount.

March 3, 2023