A Better Budget for a Better Minnesota

Dayton PhotoToday, Gov. Mark Dayton rolled out his proposed budget for the next two years, which would invest the state’s $1 billion surplus in initiatives to improve our education system, and strengthen the middle class.

Here’s a look at the Governor’s budget proposal at a glance:

  • Focus on students and children – The Governor would dedicate over half of the state’s budget surplus to education and other initiatives to improve the lives and educations of children and families across Minnesota. It would make bold, strategic investments to narrow the achievement gap and help ensure all kids receive excellent educations.
  • Investing in higher education – The Governor’s budget would make important investments in higher education to hold down tuition, provide additional financial aid, and improve the quality of our higher education institutions.
  • Tax cuts for the middle class – The Governor’s budget would target tax relief to hundreds of thousands of middle-class Minnesotans, including Child and Dependent Care Credits for 130,000 working families and immediate tax relief for 200,000 middle-income Minnesotans.
  • Needed investments in transportation infrastructure – The Governor has proposed a straightforward, honest solution to fix Minnesota’s aging and underfunded transportation systems. The Governor’s plan would repair or replace 2,200 miles of roads and over 330 bridges statewide.

A more comprehensive look at the Governor’s budget proposal is included below. A detailed spreadsheet is available on the MMB website.

Additional information about Gov. Dayton’s budget proposal is available on the online took kit. You can also follow the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.


  • Improving economy – Right now, Minnesota’s unemployment rate (3.6 percent) is the 5th-lowest in the nation, and the lowest it has been in nearly 14 years. Minnesota has added 222,000 new jobs over the last five years alone.
  • Stable budget – After a decade of deficits, state leaders are now facing a $1 billion budget surplus created by: Minnesota’s strong and growing economy; and the fair and balanced budget enacted by Gov. Dayton and the Legislature in 2013.


When Governor Dayton took office four years ago, he promised Minnesotans that he would increase funding for education every year he was Governor – no excuses, no exceptions. That is a promise the Governor has kept, and one he will continue to keep in his second term.

  • Building on previous investments – Over the last four years, the Governor and Legislature invested $895 million in PreK-12 education. The two-year budget introduced today delivers again on that promise, investing an additional $373 million in PreK-12 education. It would also provide $93 million for initiatives that would improve our higher education system, and make it more affordable for Minnesota families. These bold new investments would help ensure every Minnesota student receives an excellent education.
  • Statewide PreK – The Governor’s budget would invest $109 million to provide 31,000 four-year-olds access to free, high-quality PreK learning opportunities.
  • More Funding for Every School – The Governor’s budget would invest $373 million in PreK-12 schools statewide, increasing the per-pupil funding formula to $5,948 by 2017. It would give local school districts the resources and flexibility to meet the needs of their students and classrooms – from lowering class sizes, hiring new counselors, investing in technology, or providing other needed programs and services.
  • Tackling the Achievement Gap – In addition to statewide PreK, the Governor’s budget would invest in a multi-layered approach to narrow the state’s achievement gap. It would eliminate the current Head Start waiting list, provide support to help all students read well, target educational support to parents of at-risk children ages 0-8, make additional investments in English Language Learning, and more.
  • Healthy Schools, Healthy Students – The Governor’s budget includes important new investments in school nutrition and behavioral health in our schools. It would provide free breakfasts for all PreK-3 students, fund in-school programs to improve student behavior, and support parents of at-risk children.
  • Investing in Higher Education – In 2013, the Governor and Legislature reversed a decade of funding cuts, investing $250 million in initiatives to make higher education more affordable for hundreds of thousands of students. This year, the Governor’s budget would invest an additional $93 million to hold down tuition growth at the University of Minnesota, expand the State Grant Program, continue reciprocity arrangements with neighboring states and improve research outcomes at the University of Minnesota Medical School.

Investing in children and families

  • Child and Dependent Care Credit – Minnesota is the 4th-most expensive state for child care in the nation, with annual care costs totaling over $10,800 for one child. The Governor’s budget proposal would invest $99.9 million in expanding the Child and Dependent Care Credit, making child care more affordable for 130,000 low- and middle-income families. The average family would save $481 per year.
  • Supporting Children and Families – The Governor’s budget would also invest an additional $44 million to improve access to high-quality child care for low-income families, provide additional outreach to parents of at-risk children, increasing the state’s investment in children’s mental health services, and enhancing the state’s child protection efforts.

Other investments for a Better Minnesota

  • Job Creation and Broadband Expansion – The Governor’s budget proposal would make new investments in broadband expansion, and initiatives to train Minnesota’s workforce for good-paying careers.
  • Improving Railway Safety – Every day, trains carrying oil and other hazardous materials pass through Minnesota. These trains present risks to public safety and our natural resources. That is why the Governor’s budget would strengthen our ability to prevent disasters, and respond quickly if they do occur.
  • Mental Health Investments – The Governor’s budget would invest in a continuum of care solution that promotes mental health and early intervention. It would ensure that children and adults with mental illness, and their families, have access to the services they need.