Minnesota House Passes Legacy Budget Conference Committee Report
SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Today, the Minnesota House of Representatives approved the conference committee report on H.F. 1999, the Legacy Budget Bill. The bill, authored by Representative Leon Lillie (DFL – North St. Paul) invests over $818 million dollars in Minnesota’s outdoor heritage, clean water, parks and trails, and arts and culture. The conference committee report passed on a vote of 101-31.
“Minnesotans care deeply about our state,” said Rep. Lillie, chair of the Legacy Finance Committee. “We are proud of Minnesota’s great outdoors, clean water, and arts and culture, and we want to preserve and enhance them. Investing in these priorities will make our state an even better place to live for current and future generations. We are making strides to expand opportunities for BIPOC organizations and adding language to be inclusive of Minnesotan’s LGBTQIA+ community.”
The 2023 Legacy Budget Bill invests $172 million to restore, protect, and enhance Minnesota’s prairies, forests, wetlands, and wildlife habitats, with projects covering a total of over 121,000 acres of land. It invests over $318 million in the Clean Water Fund split between state agencies and creates a Minnesota Clean Water Goal to make sure our water is safe for fishing, swimming, and drinking by 2050. The bill also includes $136 million to preserve and protect parks and trails across the state, with a provision ensuring four free public access days a year. Finally, H.F. 1999 invests almost $192 million dollars in arts, arts education, and arts access to preserve Minnesota’s history and cultural heritage.
“Investing in the outdoors, clean water, arts and culture, and parks and trails is an investment in our quality of life,” said Speaker Melissa Hortman. “For nearly 15 years, the voter-approved Legacy Amendment to Minnesota’s Constitution has funded initiatives that benefit people and communities across our entire state. Today's legislation continues building on that success.”
The bill also includes significant policy provisions to serve communities who have historically been underrepresented in Legacy fund recipients, with specific appropriations for BIPOC museums and community organizations. The bill fully funds Minnesota’s Tribal nations’ requests to help preserve their language and culture. For the first time, this bill includes funding specifically dedicated to smaller organizations, funding for the arts community as they facilitate healing and recovery, and language including LGBTQIA+ Minnesotans in our arts and cultural heritage fund and outdoor youth outreach programs.
“Minnesotans understand that you get what you pay for, and Minnesotans value paying to protect the outdoors and enrich our lives through the arts and cultural heritage,” said House Majority Leader Jamie Long. “This Legacy budget is a transformational bill that can make our state a better place to live and work, especially for the people and places that Minnesota has historically left behind.”
In 2008, Minnesotans voted to pass the Clean Water, Land, and Legacy Amendment to the Minnesota Constitution. The amendment increased the sales tax by three-eighths of one percent and dedicated those funds to protecting and enhancing our state’s outdoor heritage, clean water, parks and trails, arts, and cultural heritage.
“The House is passing legislation investing in Minnesota’s outdoor heritage, clean water, parks and trails, and arts and culture,” said Representative Samakab Hussein, Vice Chair of the Legacy Committee. “Minnesotans deserve swimmable, fishable, and drinkable water. We are investing $818 million in Minnesota’s rich cultural history, and we are dedicated to supporting the arts, art education, and culture. Everyone’s history deserves to be told and culture celebrated. Every community in Minnesota is represented in this bill. Our communities should see their cultures preserved through artistic expression and have access to tell their authentic stories. I am proud of expanding our budget to enhance accessibility and equity for our BIPOC neighbors and relatives.”
The revenue this constitutional amendment generates is divided between four funds. Sixty-six percent of the revenue is split evenly between the Outdoor Heritage Fund and the Clean Water Fund, 19.75 percent goes to the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, and the Parks and Trails Fund receives 14.25 percent. All these funds are appropriated every two years except the Outdoor Heritage Fund, which is appropriated annually.