Final Budget Decisions from the 2019 Minnesota Legislative Session

The final budget decisions for the 2019 and legislative session finally were released early this morning, four days after the official end of the session. Governor Tim Walz is calling a special session of the legislature to ratify the results.

Here is a brief summary of the items that Safe Passage supported this year.

One major victory was approximately $5 million per year in funding for the Child Welfare Training Academy. Congratulations to Traci LaLiberte and the Center for the Advanced Study of Child Welfare for their two-year effort to get this bill passed, and to the bipartisan leadership that got this through the House and Senate.  The Academy will go a long way towards ensuring consistent high quality social work practices across Minnesota’s 82 county-level child welfare agencies and two tribes.

This increase was especially notable because the overall Human Services budget was slashed by $357 million. As a result virtually no other requests for increases were approved. The biggest losers were child care related proposals, including to increase rates and reduce wait lists.

In the Public Safety budget, the Guardians ad Litem got $10.5 million out of the $11.5 million increase requested for the biennium.  The Public Defenders got an increase of $20.1 million for the biennium, less than the $33 million requested but still significant. Both of these programs have experienced major increases in demand due to the growing the number of families being screened into child protection.  These budget decisions thankfully recognize the reality of that situation.

Less positive was that the $19 million requested for additional early learning scholarships was cut from the final Education Department budget, and less than $1 million was included for Targeted Home Visiting.

As with most budget years, there are some things to celebrate and much work left to do.

What do you think?

Please leave your comments on our special update below.

Rich GehrmanComment