The headlines from Gov. Dayton’s budget announcement focused mostly on his tax plan and his increased education spending. But there were several items that didn’t make it into yesterday’s coverage.
Here are some details:
Dayton plans to expand the federal Medicaid program (Medical Assistance) to more people. Many will be transferred from existing programs but the Department of Human Services predicts 80,000 people who currently don’t have health insurance will be enrolled in the state and federal health insurance program.
Dayton is proposing increasing the car rental tax from 6.2 percent to 9.05 percent and dedicating the money to Explore Minnesota. The agency would use $7.5 million per year from the tax for marketing activities aimed at boosting tourism to the state.
A lot of Dayton’s education plan has already been covered. He is, however, proposing scrapping a program championed by Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington. It’s a scholarship program that gave money to high school students who graduated early.
Dayton wants to expand the state’s trade office. He wants to create foreign trade offices in three new markets. A spokesman for DEED said officials haven’t determined where the offices would be located. Minnesota currently has one foreign trade office in Shanghai, China.
Dayton wants to lift a requirement that funeral homes have an embalming room. The plan would exempt funeral homes from the requirement if there was an embalming room in a branch location instead.
Dayton wants to study mercury levels and asthma rates for children in the metro area.
His plan would dedicate more money to build housing in areas where job growth is happening but there aren’t enough places for workers to live. “Thief River Falls, Roseau, Worthington and Jackson are just a few of the communities where major employers are poised to expand, but a lack of affordable housing for the local workforce is standing in the way,” the Dayton Administration said in budget documents.
Dayton is also proposing renter’s assistance so children aren’t moving as much. He also wants to provide housing assistance for ex-offenders.
Part of the $225 million in savings in Dayton’s plan comes from $43 million in HMO contract negotiations.
Dayton is proposing to increase rates to nursing homes, hospitals and other health care providers.
Minnesota grocers would no longer receive a 3 percent fee to process electronic benefit welfare cards.
The Court of Appeals, the Minnesota Supreme Court and District Courts would all see funding increases.
The state’s public defenders would also receive more money.
Dayton wants to add more staff to improve service at Driver and Vehicle Services counters.
Dayton is proposing to spend $500,000 a year for improvements to Capitol Security.
He wants more money for the Environmental Quality Board.
Dayton wants paint, carpet and primary battery manufacturers to create product stewardship plans to handle the disposal of their products and reimburse the agency for the new program.
Insurance companies would have to pay $20 more to register their agents with the state of Minnesota.
Dayton also wants to spend $40 million to promote efforts to reduce unhealthy habits like smoking, alcohol consumption and obesity.
Dayton wants to create a scratch-off lottery game that would fund veterans services.
He also wants to permanently fund honor guards that perform at funerals for veterans.
Dayton also wants to expand the GI Bill to all veterans. It currently is applied to veterans who served after September 11, 2001.
Dayton is also asking for more money for basic goods and services. He’s proposing greater spending for MnDOT for salt, sand and gasoline. He also wants to give the Department of Public Safety more money to pay for increased gasoline costs.
Dayton wants to use state money to match a federal grant to study the impact on birds and bats of wind turbines.
Dayton wants the Department of Human Rights to hire two Enforcement Officers to review and audit all state contracts over $100,000 for compliance with affirmative action plans. They include the Vikings Stadium, the St. Croix Lift Bridge and Central Corridor Light Rail.
Dayton allocates $355,000 to pay attorney’s fees from last year’s redistricting case. The political parties and attorneys for several citizens are due the funds as a result of the federal Voting Rights Act.