A quick look at House and Senate budget bills

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The House and Senate have passed nearly all of their tax and spending bills, the major exception being the Senate tax bill which is scheduled to be debated on the floor Monday.

Here are some of the key differences between the two bodies on some of the major budget bills.

Taxes

The House wants to raise income taxes on the top 1.1 percent of filers (couples with taxable incomes of $400,000 a year or more). The House also includes a 4 percent temporary income tax surcharge on people with taxable incomes of more than $500,000. That money would be dedicated to paying back the debt the state owes K-12 schools from past year’s budget balancing.

House Democrats would also raise cigarette taxes by $1.60 per pack and increase the excise tax on alcohol by roughly seven cents a drink.

Senate Democrats want to raise income taxes on the top 6 percent of filers (couples with incomes of $142,000 and higher) from 7.85 percent to 9.4 percent. The plan would also expand the sales tax to clothing and other services but lower the overall sales tax rate from 6.875 percent to 6 percent. Senate Democrats also increase cigarette taxes by 94 cents a pack.

The House and Senate increase aid to cities and counties by $80 million. They say the funding should keep property taxes in check.

House Democrats are also increasing direct property tax relief to homeowners and renters.

The House and Senate bills also include funding to help Rochester make improvements to handle an expansion by the Mayo Clinic.

K-12 Education

Both the House and Senate fund statewide all-day kindergarten.

Senate Democrats increase spending by $356 million over the current budget. They also dedicate $150 million in state money to buy back local property tax levies.

House Democrats increase spending by $550 million.

Both bills would also remove the graduation tests for high school and increase funding for scholarships for high quality preschool programs.

Health and Human Services

The House and Senate both increase spending over the current budget but trim projected grown in the HHS budget by $150 million. The bills differ on how they achieve those savings.

House Democrats are increasing a surcharge on hospitals by $202 million. They also cap the amount of money HMOs can hold in reserves. That generates $47 million. The House also wants to give long-term care employees a raise.

Senate Democrats are putting a surcharge on HMOs ($80 million) to pay for the cuts. The Senate bill also requires the state to negotiate better prices with HMOs to pay for subsidized health insurance for poor and middle income Minnesotans. The Senate plan also gives nursing home workers a cost of living increase.

Higher Education

The House increases overall spending for the University of Minnesota and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities by $150 million. The plan would require the University of Minnesota and MnSCU to freeze tuition for two years.

The Senate plan increases spending for the University of Minnesota and MnSCU by $263 million. It also freezes tuition on the U of M for two years. The bill caps MnSCU’s tuition increases at 3 percent.

State Government

The Senate bill would increase compensation for the constitutional officers, legislators, commissioners and state agency heads. The House bill does not include those raises.