Lots of kudos were shared with a House committee Tuesday morning.
State Auditor Julie Blaha and representatives from a few state agencies spoke of support of a proposal that would see funding increases, largely to maintain current services.
Checking it at nearly $1.51 billion for the 2024-25 biennium, the omnibus state and local government finance bill includes a net $400 million in new General Fund spending.
As amended, HF1830, also contains several policy changes designed to improve government operations in Minnesota. Rep. Ginny Klevorn (DFL-Plymouth) is the sponsor.
She chairs the House State and Local Government Finance and Policy Committee that plans to take more public testimony, debate amendments and vote on the bill Thursday, a week after a policy bill was approved by the committee largely along party lines. Klevorn said the current plan is for the bills to continue moving separately.
[MORE: View the finance bill change items, more detailed spreadsheet]
Among those offering appreciation was Jon Eichten, deputy commissioner at Minnesota IT Services.
“Thank you for recognizing the risk and the service delivery constraints imposed by aging legacy technology and taking a major step forward this session via this budget package toward addressing these risks and positioning state technology to better meet the expectations of Minnesotans in the digital age,” he said.
In his area, the bill calls for $140.8 million in new spending, much of it a one-time expense. That includes $45 million to modernize targeted applications to improve user experiences with digital services provided by state agencies, almost $33.6 million for executive branch cloud transformation, $32.8 million for cybersecurity enhancements, and $1.2 million to support accessible government in Minnesota.
Other spending increases in the bill include:
Based off HF2408, the bill calls for $1 million for a geophysical study and hazard assessment of the St. Anthony Falls area and cutoff wall, whose ownership is uncertain.
Constructed nearly 150 years ago to stabilize the falls, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been requested to inspect the infrastructure to ensure its safety. If the wall were to fail, supporters, including Friends of the Mississippi River, note “upstream water levels could drop too low to supply crucial water supply intakes that serve Minneapolis, St. Paul and several suburbs. The water supply for 1 million Twin Cities residents, hospitals, schools, the airport and even fire hydrants could dry up within a few days.”
State and local government policy
A plethora of policy with price tags is included in the proposal, of which one of the more noticeable changes would come with just a $45,000 cost.
Those dollars would be used to fund a State Emblems Redesign Commission to develop and adopt a new design for the official state flag and the official state seal no later than Jan. 1, 2024. Per the bill, “The designs must accurately and respectfully reflect Minnesota's shared history, resources, and diverse cultural communities. Symbols, emblems, or likenesses that represent only a single community or person, regardless of whether real or stylized, may not be included in a design.”
Other proposed policy/funding in the bill includes:
What’s in the bill?
The following are selected bills that have been incorporated in part or in whole into the omnibus state government finance bill: