Every legislative session has its share of contention, especially when it comes to spending money, and this year was no exception. The fact that Republicans and DFLers could work together to come up with compromise plans that both generate needed funds and take care of Minnesotans in need after a tough year was nothing short of an amazing feat.
However, the session did leave more work to be done in the future. Three points to the passed and signed Minnesota budget and 2021 legislative session that are worth noting:
- Two tax conformity bills aligned Minnesota with the rest of the nation in not taxing federal loans to businesses under the federal Paycheck Protection Plan. The bills also included tax exemptions for Minnesotans who received up to $10,200 in Unemployment Insurance benefits. Taking care of those who were hit hard last year is a Minnesota value we respect. We give this decision a thumbs up.
- Education and early childhood programs in Minnesota are getting some much-needed funding. The state’s education budget is receiving a more than 2% increase over the next two years. The allocation includes retention of pre-kindergarten programs and programs to promote diversity in educators as well as funds for districts to use at their discretion. The budget also contains $300 million in grants for child care providers for the next two years. We give both sides of the aisle a thumbs up as they took the opportunity to invest in our children.
- Similar success was not found on police reform. Minnesota police practices were found on a national and international stage, and those need to be addressed. The lack of compromise and even a willingness to discuss alternative solutions is a disappointment. Thumbs down to this outcome.