Sen. Jeff Hayden, DFL-Minneapolis, and Rep. Jim Knoblach, R-St. Cloud, discuss the budget surplus and what should be done with it and Rep. Jenifer Loon, R-Eden Prairie, talked about what's next for Sunday liquor sales.
To hear the full discussion use the audio player above.
How much will state spending grow under Gov. Mark Dayton's proposed budget?
Republicans and Democrats disagree. Republicans point to the $45.8 billion budget that Dayton proposed for the next two years and compare it to the current two-year tally of $41.5 billion. They conclude that Dayton wants an increase of nearly 10 percent.
But Democrats note that much of the increase is driven by projected enrollment growth in school age children and people who qualify for health programs. That spending would be set to go up even if the governor and Legislature took no action. As a result, they say the increase the governor is proposing is closer to 3 percent.
A forecast released earlier this week shows the projected budget surplus has grown from $1.4 billion dollars to $1.65 billion. The governor is expected to revise his budget proposal, and legislators will use the new forecast to set their own budget plan.
Sen. Jeff Hayden, DFL-Minneapolis, and Rep. Jim Knoblach, R-St. Cloud, sat down with host Mike Mulcahy to talk about how the budget might shape up and what they'd like to see going forward.
"From our stand point [House Republicans] we'll be looking at significantly more tax relief and we'll also be looking at using some more money on transportation and infrastructure needs," Knoblach said.
Hayden is concerned about uncertainty from the Trump administration, and how changes in Washington might impact federal grants to Minnesotans.
"We want caution so that the things that we spend on make a lot of sense and that we're also keeping our reserves where they need to be," Hayden said.
Hayden specified that the Health Care Access Fund should be maintained in case Trump rolls back the Affordable Care Act.
Rep. Jenifer Loon will be first in line for on Sunday for liquor sales
After July 1 liquor stores in Minnesota will be able to do business on Sundays and Rep. Jenifer Loon, R-Eden Prairie, told us she'll be there.
"I hope I'm first in line," said Loon.
She noted that in our region we're surrounded by states that sell liquor on Sundays, giving them opportunities to make money from Minnesotans who cross state lines to buy their alcohol on Sundays.
"I just think it's outdated," said Loon when asked why she wanted to pass the bill.
Gov. Dayton has said he'll sign the bill.
Committee deadline are next week
Next week plenty of bills will come before committees and either make their way through the Legislature or face an uncertain future. "As we know though nothing is truly dead until the final gavel falls," said MPR News reporter Brian Bakst.
Those bills include gun legislation that could lessen restrictions and tax breaks for the new Major League Soccer stadium planned for St. Paul.
Also on the docket, tax cuts. With the state running a budget surplus reporter Tim Pugmire said the committees have heard, "billions and billions of dollars' worth of tax bills."
"Obviously, all of those aren't going to be in the final omnibus tax bill," Pugmire added.