Breaking down the $1.4 billion gap between Dayton, GOP

Budget gap
This pie chart shows a breakdown of the $1.4 billion gap between Gov. Mark Dayton and the Republican-controlled Legislature. Click the image for a larger view.
MPR Graphic/Nathaniel Minor

This week, DFL Gov. Mark Dayton released figures that he said shows the gaps between the Republican-controlled Legislature and his spending proposals, a difference that comes to $1.4 billion.

How that breaks down by spending area is explained below, however, Republican legislative leaders don't necessarily agree on all the figures that show spending differences. They point out that Dayton while explains what he would spend money on he does not detail the $1.8 billion in spending cuts he agrees to make to balance the state's two-year budget.

Because legislative leaders haven't released an alternative set of numbers showing where differences remain, this list relies on the governor's numbers.

Size of the overall spending gap: $1.4 billion


K-12 Education

The gap: $128 million

Why the gap? Much of it comes from policy differences. A spreadsheet Dayton released this week showed he and the GOP want to spend similar amounts overall on K-12 education. But Republicans aren't incorporating Dayton's spending priorities in their plan. Those priorities, such as special education funding and integration aid, help make up the $128 million gap.

Health and Human Services

The gap: $556 million

Why the gap? Dayton wants to expand Medical Assistance in Minnesota, leveraging federal dollars. The state's share of the program will cost roughly $600 million, but Dayton has agreed to some cuts, and DFL legislative leaders have said additional cost savings could come from surcharges on health providers and possibly some flexibility from the federal government. But Republicans still want to spend less overall on health and human services than the Democrats.

State government

The gap: $219 million

Why the gap? Dayton doesn't like cuts the GOP legislature proposes, such as to constitutional officers, state agencies, health coverage for state workers and an overall 15 percent cut in the state work force.

Property tax aids and credits

The gap: $435 million

Why the gap? Dayton doesn't want to cut local government aid, saying it will force cities and counties to raise property taxes. Republicans have proposed a steep cut, saying local governments must share in the state cutbacks and make cutbacks of their own because of tough economic times.


The gap: $43 million

Why the gap? Dayton wants to spend more on transit for greater Minnesota and Metro Transit.


The gap: $22 million

Why the gap? A combination of policy differences and disagreements over funding levels account for this gap. Dayton says the GOP is cutting back on things like clean water activities and the Department of Commerce.

Economic Development:

The gap: $16 million

Why the gap? Dayton wants to keep the Minnesota Trade Office; Republicans want to cut it. Dayton also wants to maintain the Minnesota Investment Fund and Redevelopment Fund.

Higher Education

The gap: $10 million

Why the gap? Dayton wants more money going to the University of Minnesota.

Public Safety

The gap: $9 million

Why the gap? Dayton wants to keep the Department of Human Rights; Republicans want to cut its funding. Dayton also says more money should be spent on civil legal services and victim services grants.

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