The Minnesota House backed a supplemental budget bill Wednesday that includes new spending to expand rural broadband, promote tourism and tackle racial economic disparities. It would also cut state subsidies for the movie industry.
When we have a $900 million budget surplus, it is really unacceptable for us to not do more to address the economic disparities in or state. If not now, then when?Rep. Rena Moran, DFL-St. Paul
The measure adds $12 million in new spending in the agriculture, environment and job development areas of the budget. It passed the Republican-led House 72-54. House Democrats, however, criticized the GOP bill as another missed opportunity to make key investments with the state's $900 million budget surplus. House Republicans want to use that surplus for transportation projects and tax cuts.
The bill includes $6 million for proposals aimed at reducing racial economic disparities. DFL Gov. Mark Dayton, however, is seeking $100 million for similar efforts and Senate Democrats want $91 million.
"When we have a $900 million budget surplus, it is really unacceptable for us to not do more to address the economic disparities in or state. If not now, then when?" Rep. Rena Moran, DFL-St. Paul, said during floor debate.
Democrats also took aim at the bill's broadband investment of $15 million in 2017. That's also just a fraction of what the governor and Senate are seeking.