January 31, 2015

Governors budget continues to invest in a strong future for Minnesota

Governor Mark Dayton’s state budget proposal released today provides new investments for our state, and particularly focuses on getting our youngest Minnesotans started on the right foot.

The positive balance projected in the November forecast allows Minnesota to make some much needed investments. And Dayton’s proposed budget makes targeted investments in a future of opportunity for all Minnesotans, particularly for children and young people.

We’re just starting to dig into the details, but here’s what we see on some of our priorities for the session.

Dayton’s budget increases access to affordable child care through a range of options. Affordable child care supports children’s development, helps parents get and keep good jobs, and allows employers to find the reliable workers they need.

Dayton’s budget includes $13 million in new funding in FY 2016-17 for Basic Sliding Fee Child Care Assistance. The governor’s proposal is a important step in the right direction. Basic Sliding Fee helps low- and moderate-income working parents in every part of the state afford the care that meets the needs of their children age zero to 12. Today more than 6,000 Minnesota families are on the waiting list.

On the tax side, Dayton also proposes to assist Minnesota families with the high cost of child care. He expands the state’s Child and Dependent Care Credit, which provides a tax credit based on what families have paid for child care so that parents can work or look for work. His proposal would:

  • Increase the maximum income at which a family can receive the credit to $112,000 for families with one dependent and $124,000 for families with two or more dependents. Currently, the credit is only available to families with incomes less than roughly $39,000.
  • Increase the size of the credit to up to $1,050 for one child and $2,100 for families with two or more children.

The administration estimates 110,000 Minnesota families would benefit by an average of $429. This proposal would continue the progress made over the past few years to make the tax system work better for working families. We encourage making this proposal more targeted to make resources available to further boost Basic Sliding Fee for those families that struggle most to afford the cost of care.

Among the budget plan’s other investments in young Minnesotans are increasing funding for school districts by 1 percent each year through the basic formula, funding for schools to expand pre-kindergarten, as well as addressing the waiting list for Head Start, which prepares low-income children for school.

Making a college education more affordable is another one of Dayton’s priorities. His budget would increase financial aid so that Minnesota students can better access all of our state’s public colleges and universities, and help students meet their basic needs while in school.

Stay tuned for our upcoming in-depth dives into some of the governor’s proposals. In the meantime, you can check out links to Dayton’s budget proposal.

Clark Biegler, Minnesota Budget Bites