Key League-Supported Provisions Included in Supplemental Budget Bill

The supplemental budget bill passed the full House and Senate, and was signed May 20 by the governor.
(Published May 19, 2014)

(Updated May 21, 2014)

The House and Senate passed the supplemental budget bill on May 16, and Gov. Dayton signed it into law (Chapter 312) on May 20.

The final bill includes many provisions important to cities.

When members of the conference committee for the supplemental budget bill were announced at the end of April, the League sent a letter to the conferees outlining key provisions pertaining to cities.

A complete list of projects and programs of interest to cities that were included in the final agreement will be detailed in the League’s 2014 Law Summaries. Below is a list of provisions the League monitored, along with an update:

STATE GOVERNMENT

  • Legislative Water Commission
    A joint commission made of House and Senate members that was eliminated 20 years ago has been re-established. As the complexity, controversy, interconnectedness, and urgency of surface water and groundwater policy issues has increased, the need for the Legislature to more thoroughly oversee and understand these crucial issues has increased as well.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

  • Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant Program and mapping services
    The broadband grant program is established and funded at $20 million. These funds are available to any political subdivision, along with private entities, and will be administered through the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). Separate funding for broadband mapping services was not appropriated, but the committee report allows DEED to utilize up to 3 percent of the funds towards mapping.
  • Disaster Assistance Contingency Account
    The bill creates a disaster assistance contingency account for the Department of Public Safety to pay 100 percent of the nonfederal share of disaster assistance incurred by state and local governments. The agreement appropriates $3 million to the account.
  • Greater Minnesota Business Development Public Infrastructure grants
    The bill provides $2.2 million for the Greater Minnesota Business Development Infrastructure Program for economic development. The Senate initially provided $4.5 million for the program while the House version didn’t fund it. The cost of developing the needed public infrastructure for significant new business development can be a significant impediment to economic development.

ENVIRONMENT

  • Select Committee on Recycling and the Environment (SCORE)
    Since 1991 SCORE grants to counties, a substantial amount of which are then forwarded to cities, have remained relatively unchanged. Local governments have a strong need to receive funding that more adequately addresses their responsibilities for solid waste management. An additional $4 million for fiscal year 2015 and an ongoing additional $3 million per year will now be allocated for grants to local government through the existing funding formula for the SCORE program.
  • Water appropriation permit fee waiver for stormwater use projects
    Language was included in the final agreement on the budget that instructs the commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources to waive water appropriation permit fees on most projects that capture stormwater and divert it to a use, rather than having it discharged as runoff.
  • Closed Landfill Investment Fund
    The delays in repaying funds to the Closed Landfill Investment Fund that were part of the original Senate budget proposal were opposed by the League and were removed by the conference committee.

TRANSPORTATION

  • Distribution of dedicated surplus trunk highway dollars
    Trunk highway dollars are a portion of the funds derived from the gas tax, the motor vehicle sales tax, and license tab fees. Among the items included in the conference committee report are the following:
    • $20 million to supplement snow and ice removal on trunk highways for FY 2014
    • $10 million for pothole repair on state roads for FY 2014
    • $6 million for the Transportation Economic Development program for FY 2015
    • $25 million for the Corridors of Commerce program in FY 2015
  • General fund appropriations
    General fund appropriations that remained in the supplemental budget bill include $6.5 million for Greater Minnesota transit and $2 million for railroad grade crossing safety.
  • Railroad safety
    The act addresses transportation of oil and other hazardous materials by rail and pipeline, including specifying additional responsibilities in emergency planning and preparedness for railroad and pipeline owners; identifying agency duties; increasing the number of state rail safety inspectors; and assessing railroad and pipeline companies $2.5 million annually over five years for training and preparedness on oil and other hazardous materials spills.

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