Legislative update: Omnibus finance bills

Publish Date

Omnibus finance bills started moving their way through the respective finance committees. The House versions provide full operating adjustments to state agencies to support current staffing and program levels. The Senate versions provide steep cuts to various agency base budgets.

Below are some highlights, but please note that these will change as the bills make their way through the legislative process.

State Government omnibus bills
S.F. 1831 (Kiffmeyer) provides cuts to agencies and boards, in many cases cutting more than 5 percent to base operating budgets for FY22-23, including:

  • Department of Revenue cut by $14.6 million, which would eliminate more than 80 employees
  • The Department of MNIT Services cut by $758,000
  • MMB cut by $2.7 million, plus eliminating 6 FTEs from the executive budget office
  • Department of Administration cut by $600,000

These cuts would lay off hundreds of state workers. MAPE opposes several policy proposals in the bill that interfere with our collective bargaining rights under PELRA and our contract, including:

  • Language requiring layoffs due to budget shortfalls to be done according to impact to local economies.
  • Limiting the growth of state employees to match the percentage of growth of state population.
  • Prevents public employers from negotiating contracts that exceed their spending plans.
  • Institutes an automatic clawback for money allocated to agencies for positions that are not filled within 180 days of posting.

There are numerous changes to election laws that MAPE does not support, including:

  • provisional balloting
  • limiting same-day registration.

Listen to MAPE’s testimony against the bill beginning at 1:18:30.

The House companion, H.F. 1952 (Nelson) includes nearly all the operating adjustments for state agencies, with the exception of $2.4 million less than the Governor’s recommendation for the operating adjustment for the Department of Revenue. Commissioner Doty testified that this discrepancy is unlikely to result in staffing impacts, but rather work reprioritization. MAPE will continue to work on this part of the budget as it moves to conference committee.

Health and Human Services Reform Policy and Finance
S.F. 383 (Abeler) and SF 2360 (Benson) provides no operating adjustments to the Departments of Health (MDH) or Human Services (DHS). Without the operating adjustment, Direct Care and Treatment (DCT) would see almost 300 FTEs impacted as well as hundreds of others at MDH and DHS Central office. Listen to MAPE’s testimony in opposition to the bill beginning at 1:55.

H.F. 2127 (Schultz) included the 8 percent DCT specific operating adjustment, while H.F. 2128 (Liebling) carried the full, agency-wide operating adjustments for DCT, MDH, and the health boards and councils.

Public Safety Omnibus bills
H.F. 1078 (Mariani) included all of the governor’s recommended operating adjustments for Departments of Corrections (DOC), Human Rights (HRD), and Public Safety (DPS/BCA), including 4 additional local jail inspectors for DOC. While MAPE supported the overall bill proposal, we did submit written testimony highlighting our continued concerns around safety and workloads, including the Minnesota Rehabilitation and Reinvestment Act (a significant part of the Person Centered Approach), the PSI bill (which due to an impasse with other interested groups is now a task force to reevaluate the uses and practicality of PSIs in their current form), and the lack of additional resources being put towards field services despite growing caseloads. You can read the testimony here.

The Senate companion, S.F. 970 (Limmer) was similar in many respects. The bill provides full operating adjustments for agencies in FY 22-23, but only provides base operating budgets for the agencies in the following biennium FY 24-25. Listen to MAPE’s testimony on the bill beginning at 1:25:45, raising concerns about the lack of funding in the out-years. In a subsequent hearing, however, some of the savings from decreased prison population was borrowed against, which may impact operations funding.

Higher Ed omnibus bills
H.F. 993 (Bernardy) provides the Governor’s recommendations for operating adjustments for the Office of Higher Education and the majority of the operations and maintenance for Minnesota State. There is a tuition freeze for the two years of the biennium, which would have a financial impact to the system long term if the freeze is not lifted and the federal funds aren’t eligible to cover the complete costs for the second year.

The Senate companion, S.F. 993 (Tomassoni), provides no operations adjustment for the Office of Higher Education and less than a third of operations and maintenance increases requested by the Governor for Minnesota State. Coupled with a 5 percent tuition cut below the 2019-2020 rates and a prohibition on raising student activity fees, Minnesota State would lose more than $70 million in revenue.

MAPE is working with the other faculty unions on these issues to try and secure the full funding needs.

Jobs Omnibus bills
S.F. 1098 (Pratt) provides base budget funding only for Departments of Employment and Economic Deployment (DEED). It excludes the State Services for the Blind and Vocational Rehabilitative Services, Labor and Industry (DLI), Bureau of Mediation Services (BMS). Paid Family Medical Leave (PFML), Earned Sick and Safe Time funding, or money for federal OSHA compliance were all not included in the bill. In an amendment added during Senate Finance, the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) implementation was pushed out until 2023 and its funding was eliminated.

H.F. 1342 (Noor) provides full operating adjustments for DEED and includes $34 million in FY22-23 and $101.7 million in FY 24-25 for the PFML. H.F. 1670 (Ecklund) fully funds the operating adjustment requests for the BMS, including staffing for the PERB, and DLI.

Omnibus E-12 bills
H.F. 1065 (Davnie) includes fully funds the operating adjustment requests from the Governor for Department of Education (MDE), the Public Education Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB), and the Minnesota State Academies, and for the Perpich Center for the Arts.

S.F. 960 (Chamberlain) cuts MDE base operating budget by $2.1 million in FY 22-23, and leaves PELSB and the Minnesota State Academies with mostly base operating budgets with little to no adjustment. The bill also proposes to eliminate Perpich Center for the Arts altogether.

Omnibus Environmental bills
H.F. 1076 (Hansen) provides all agencies, including the Board of Soil and Water Resources (BWSR), the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), and the Zoo.

S.F. 959 (Ingebrigtsen) makes significant cuts to all state agencies for FY 22-23, including:

  • MPCA base operating budget is cut by $868,000
  • DNR base operating budget is cut by $4 million
  • BWSR base operating budget is cut by $1.2 million

The Zoo is not provided an operating adjustment or the $9 million that was requested to jump-start its operations.

Bonding bill
H.F. 337 (Lee) proposes $1.03 billion in capital investment projects, including:

  • Department of Natural Resources would receive funding of $53.6 million in bonds, including $27 million in asset preservation.

  • Department of Administration’s $52.2 million in proposed bonds would be phase two of Capitol Complex security upgrades, which would be the focus of $31 million in general obligation bonds and $12 million from the General Fund.

  • The Department of Human Services would receive $21 million, including $10 million for early childhood learning and child protection facilities, and $8.8 million for phase two of construction at the Minnesota Sex Offender Program facilities in St. Peter.

Asset preservation:

  • $32 million Minnesota State systems
  • $12.5 million for the Minnesota Zoo
  • $8.5 million to the Department of Veterans Affairs
  • $8.4 million to the Department of Corrections;
  • $2.4 million to the Minnesota Historical Society;
  • $1.5 million to the Perpich Center for Arts Education; and 
  • $1.2 million to the Minnesota State Academies.

While the Senate does have a companion, S.F. 287 (Bakk), it includes next to nothing.

Omnibus Transportation bills
H.F. 1684 (Hornstein) provides adjustments for the Departments of Transportation and Public Safety, as well as proposes several tax increases to address the long term funding deficiencies in transportation. Included is a 1.2 cent per gallon gas tax increase and an adjustment to the depreciation schedule for registration fees.

By contrast, S.F. 1159 (Newman) makes significant cuts to all state agencies for FY 22-23 and beyond, as well as restricts the use of trunk highway funds. The bill also restricts investment in transit and non-automobile related methods of transportation.  

More bills will be added in the coming days as staff and the legislature committees continue to work through the process. Please check back soon!