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Just $2 million apart, Legacy conference committee opens discussion

Rep. Leon Lillie and Sen. Foung Hawj confer April 26 prior to the House gaveling in the conference committee on HF1999, the omnibus legacy finance bill. (Photo by Andrew VonBank)
Rep. Leon Lillie and Sen. Foung Hawj confer April 26 prior to the House gaveling in the conference committee on HF1999, the omnibus legacy finance bill. (Photo by Andrew VonBank)

Less than 0.5%.

Conferees on the omnibus Legacy finance bill (HF1999/SF1692), who met for the first time Wednesday learned they aren’t too far apart. House and Senate versions of the bill are separated by a little over 0.25%, or $2.09 million.

The House omnibus bill would appropriate $820.84 million; the Senate version comes in at $818.75 million.

Ratified by voters in 2008, the Legacy amendment splits a 0.375% sales tax increase four ways: 33% to the Clean Water Fund; 33% to the Outdoor Heritage Fund; 19.75% to the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund; and 14.25% to the Parks and Trails Fund.

The two legislative bodies agree on the appropriations for the Outdoor Heritage Fund at $171.79 million.

They nearly agree for the Parks and Trails Fund with the House suggesting $136.61 million and the Senate wanting an additional $4,000 on top of that.

The Clean Water Fund differs by about $1 million with the House at $317.4 million and the Senate at $318.4 million.

Conference Committee on HF1999 4/26/23

It’s the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund where the main differences show, although still slight. The House proposed a $195.05 million appropriation, whereas the Senate planned for a $191.95 million appropriation.

[MORE: Side-by-side comparison; View the spreadsheet]

One major difference is the State Arts Board. It would receive $72 million from the Senate for arts and arts access initiatives, but $39.05 million from the House with a $100,000 carve-out for free access days, a difference of $33.13 million. The House bill would appropriate $36.7 million for regional arts councils, while the Senate bill has no similar appropriation.

A couple House proposals not in the Senate bill include the House’s 2040 goal to have all water reach its designated use and switching the Clean Water Fund’s reporting to be done annually instead of every two years.

Both the spending for children’s museums and how the money is allocated also differ. The House intends to spend $3.39 million in the form of competitive grants and the Senate wants to spend $2.65 million through direct appropriations to named museums.

Some Senate provisions the House does not have include:

  • $850,000 for the Changsha Friendship Garden in St. Paul;
  • $850,000 to Ramsey County for Keller Regional Park;
  • $360,000 for arts and cultural heritage programming celebrating African American and Black communities in Minnesota;
  • $550,000 for the Minnesota Council on Disability to provide educational opportunities involving the arts, history, and cultural heritage;
  • $154,000 for a veterans memorial park in the city of Wyoming;
  • $300,000 for the Great Northern Festival;
  • $110,000 for the Camille J. Gage Artist Fellowship; and
  • $100,000 for the Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities to continue to preserve and raise awareness of the history of Minnesotans with developmental disabilities.

No future meeting has yet been announced.

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