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Omnibus state government finance bill progresses on party-line vote

Like many bills and amendments offered across committees throughout the legislative spectrum in 2023, the outcome of a bill to fund state government operations fell along party lines.

Planning to spend $1.51 billion in the 2024-25 biennium, the omnibus state and local government finance bill includes a net $400 million in new General Fund spending.

Via a delete-all amendment that was amended largely with technical changes, HF1830 was approved 8-4 Thursday by the House State and Local Government Finance and Policy Committee. Its next stop in the House Ways and Means Committee.

Rep. Ginny Klevorn (DFL-Plymouth) sponsors the proposal, calling it a “good foundation” for state government to do the work of the people.

“We serve the people of Minnesota when we make sure our constitutional offices have what they need; when the Legislature can do the work of the people; when the 30 agencies, boards, commissions and councils have the tools they need to do the work of the people; when (Minnesota) Management and Budget, the central service agency of our state, has the tools they need to do the work of the people; when Minnesota IT can protect the data of Minnesotans and to make sure that the interface they have to apply for state services is easy and meets them where they are. … This bill restores the capacity of our state to carry out the work of governance and management.”

[MORE: Read about the bill; View the spreadsheet]

The bill includes $140.8 million in new spending for information technology purposes, including applications to improve user experiences and cybersecurity; a $25.35 million operating adjustment for the Office of the Attorney General; $22 million to help counties fund the perpetuation of public land survey monuments; and more funding for legislative operations, including a recommended member pay increase.

A policy bill was approved by the committee largely along party lines March 23.

Among reasons voiced by Rep. Jim Nash (R-Waconia) for finance bill displeasure was that some provisions were never heard by the committee and because of other provisions, the bill should be sent to a different committee specific to that area.

“We are a body of process, and we should honor the other committees by allowing those members of those committees to have conversation relative to any policy changes that are being made as opposed to just dropping them into the state government finance bill before it leaves committee,” he said.

A group of Republican amendments failed to pass muster — all along party lines: maintaining base funding; giving all agencies a 3% bump from fiscal year 2021 funds; removing the requirement that Compensation Council-prescribed salaries for constitutional officers, judges and heads of state and metropolitan agencies take effect unless the Legislature by law provides otherwise; and if a state agency, board, or department transfers 10% or more of its General Fund operating budget to the information and telecommunications technology systems and services account, its base appropriation is reduced by an amount equal to the transfer.

In light of the recent news that $17,000 per month is the cost to rent a 16,000-square-foot home for Gov. Tim Walz and his family when the governor’s residence is renovated, an amendment to cap the governor’s temporary housing costs at $2,500 per month also went down along party lines.

By statute, “The governor's residence must be used for official ceremonial functions of the state, and to provide suitable living quarters for the governor of the state.”

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