Republicans in the Minnesota Senate promise road and bridge funding will be a priority in their forthcoming state budget plan — but agreement with Governor Mark Dayton could be tough because he continues pushing for a gas tax increase. Hutchinson Senator Scott Newman says, “I’m confident that we are going to come forward with a transportation bill that will provide us with the funding that we need in order to fix Minnesota’s transportation and transit system.” Republicans maintain they can do it without a gas tax increase. Dayton says he’s open to new ideas, but the only plan he’s seen that would provide enough transportation funding without hurting other parts of the budget, is a gas tax increase.
Senate GOP lawmakers also promise something new and bold in their upcoming budget plan to close the achievement gap between black students and their white counterparts. Rochester Senator Carla Nelson says early education is critical, but differs with the governor in approach. “I share his end goal,” Nelson says. “We always have limited resources and so I prefer a more targeted method of targeting those resources to those who otherwise would not be able to get a high-quality education.” Governor Mark Dayton is asking the legislature for 75 million dollars to expand pre-kindergarten in Minnesota. Nelson isn’t saying what Senate Republicans’ number will be.
Senate Republicans say they’re waiting until the latest economic forecast comes out next week to firm up their budget proposals, but Majority Leader Paul Gazelka did say about tax relief: