Gov. Dayton outlines higher ed. priorities

Gov. Mark Dayton
Gov. Mark Dayton spoke to a group of about 300 college students from across Minnesota on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013.
Photo courtesy of Governor Dayton's office

Minnesota DFL Gov. Mark Dayton says he'd like to use a projected $750 million budget surplus for the biennium starting July 1st, 2015, to help lower the cost of higher education.

Dayton spoke to about 300 college students Saturday at the Minnesota State College Student Association Leadership Summit.

The DFL governor reminded students that by law, up to $225 million of any budget surplus goes to paying off schools.

"If there's money beyond that, then there'll be quite a frenzy at the legislature with people with various ideas on how to use that money and I'll have ideas myself," Dayton said.

He listed his priorities for coming legislative session, beginning with bonding projects for Minnesota State Colleges and Universities and the University of Minnesota.

He also said the current dispute over the fate of the Southwest light rail project probably means funding for that project won't be a priority in the next legislative session.

Dayton said another priority for his administration in the coming legislative session will be simplifying state statutes and streamlining the governing process. He said state employees have made hundreds of suggestions on how to cut down on paperwork.

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