A 3.4-billion-dollar higher education measure was the only budget bill the Minnesota Legislature was able to pass before the regular session clock ran out at midnight Monday. The measure is 150 million dollars over current budget and Saint Louis Park Democrat Ron Latz lamented, “We are inadequately funding the University of Minnesota.” Chaska Republican Scott Jensen responded, “The pie is only so big, Senator Latz, and we know that. Where are we gonna take the money [from]? We’re all feeling the pinch.” Latz fired back, “The majority caucus in this body [Republicans] today created the size of the pie.” Republicans respond they resisted billions of dollars of tax increases that Democrats and Governor Tim Walz wanted.
The U-of-M gets about a 43-million-dollar increase in the bill and the Minnesota State system around 80 million dollars. Tuition increases at state colleges and universities (Minnesota State) would be capped at three percent each of the next two years, and lawmakers are also asking the U-of-M to do the same.
State Higher Education Commissioner Dennis Olson calls it a “good, strong bill” that he thinks the governor “will be proud to sign.”