Walz unveils $226M supplemental budget proposal

(KSTP) – Governor Tim Walz unveiled his 2024 supplemental budget proposal on Monday, just weeks after Minnesota’s latest state budget forecast shows a possible deficit in the coming years.

As previously reported by 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, the forecast showed a current surplus of $3.7 billion, but the state budget office says nearly all of the surplus will be wiped out by increased spending in the next two years if lawmakers don’t make any changes.

Last year, the governor signed a $72 billion state budget into law, the largest in state history and $7 billion higher than Walz’s proposal in January 2023.

This year’s $226 million budget proposal is focused on just a few smaller priorities the governor labeled as “safe communities, clean drinking water and support for children and families.”

“Last year, we took historic steps to make Minnesota the best state in the nation for families. This year, we’re focused on putting that work into action while maintaining a responsible, balanced budget,” Walz said. “From rural ambulance services to water quality infrastructure, we are addressing some of our most pressing statewide needs and delivering on core government services.”

The funding would support ambulance services and provide grants to organizations that help crime victims, provide help for in-home water treatment or well replacement for Minnesotans with contaminated wells, and allocate money to modernize the state’s child welfare and social services reporting system.

“It’s a bonding year, not a budget year,” Walz reiterated Monday. He’s proposed a $989 million bonding bill to address more water, transportation, housing and other infrastructure priorities.

The governor called it a responsible budget, noting his proposal leaves around $2.2 billion of the state’s projected surplus left.

“We captured those generational fixes in many cases after years of gridlock and this is a year to focus on bonding, small supplemental, and make sure we’re fiscally sound going out,” Walz said, referring to last year’s accomplishments and the opportunity to address bigger priorities in a new budget next year.