Our budget invests in Minnesotans at all phases of life

Lt. Gov.Peggy Flanagan

By Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan

Boozhoo! I can’t believe fall is just around the corner. I have had a busy summer traveling the state to share all the great things we accomplished together this session. One of my best days was traveling to the Red Lake Independence Day Celebration Pow Wow, where I was surrounded by friends, loved ones, and community in celebration of our people.

In July, I also had the opportunity to visit with Dr. Biden and senior White House officials, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, and state legislators in Washington D.C. to discuss and celebrate big child care investments happening here in Minnesota and across the country.

Affordable, accessible child care should be available to every family who needs it. Our One Minnesota budget signed into law this session includes over $1.3 billion to increase child care, lower child care costs, establish paid family and medical leave, and eliminate child poverty. These investments include $576 million to increase child care worker wages, over $500 million to expand access to the child care Assistance Program for over 3,600 children, and funding for an additional 12,360 new pre-kindergarten seats.

While all these investments will lower costs for families across our state, I believe our nation-leading child tax credit will make the biggest impact on the future of kids and families in Minnesota. This tax credit alone – which provides up to $1,750 per child for lower income families – will reduce child poverty by 33% in Minnesota. This session was about building systems to ensure every child has a safe place to call home, no child goes hungry, and working families have the support they need to thrive.

The One Minnesota budget provided the largest tax cut in state history, including a new program focused on Tribes. Our budget created a new Tribal Nation Aid Program of $35 million per year. Interested Tribes will have the choice to opt into this program by applying through the Department of Revenue. Consistent with updates to aids to counties and cities, initial payments for the program will be distributed beginning with aids payable in 2024. Half the aid will be distributed evenly based on proportion of enrolled members of participating Tribal Nations.

Every Minnesotan deserves a world class education, and our budget’s investment in education bring us one big step closer to making this a reality. The One Minnesota budget included an increase of $28 million over four years to American Indian Education Aid, with a clause that makes clear that these dollars may only be used for non-Native students after all American Indian students’ specific cultural and academic needs are met.

We are also investing $7.5 million in grants for schools to begin offering language instruction in Dakota and Anishinaabe languages or other Indigenous languages. We know these language skills have impacts far beyond the classroom for so many kids, including developing deeper connections with others in the community and their personal identity.

Growing up with non-Native peers and now as an advocate and mom, I know that representation in the classroom matters. That is why we are investing over $1.6 million to expand the Minnesota Indian Teacher Training Program and make the path to teaching more accessible and affordable for Native educators in Minnesota.

Representation in school also matters outside of just our educators. That’s why we passed a law to eliminate derogatory and harmful stereotypes of American Indians in school by prohibiting the use of mascots referring to an American Indian Tribe, individual, custom, or tradition.

Additionally, we believe all Minnesotans should have accurate and truthful knowledge of Minnesota’s full history. Our budget states that Minnesota schools must do more to prioritize American Indian or Indigenous studies across all course disciplines and grades, particularly for Native American cultures. We want to send a clear message to Minnesota’s Native students that Native voices, culture, and success matter to all of us.

Our budget invests in Minnesotans at all phases of life, and we want everyone to see Minnesota as the best place to learn, raise children, and work. The One Minnesota Budget includes $20 million over the next two years to support the Drive for Five Workforce Fund, which will prepare Minnesotans to enter five of the most critical occupational categories in the state with high-growth jobs and family-sustaining wages: technology, caring professions, education, manufacturing, and trades. Throughout July, Governor Walz shadowed Minnesotans working in these professions from manufacturing to teaching fourth grade to joining a Duluth police officer for a midday shift.

This session, Governor Walz also signed into law $300 million for cities, counties, and tribes to meet their unique public safety, fire, or emergency management needs, including for training programs. In addition to these investments, we included $5.5 million to fund Tribal community supervision.

With these funds, Tribal Nations can hire their own tribal assistant probation officer staff to work in tandem with community supervision. No matter your career, we want you to feel supported and valued in your profession and provide opportunities for growth no matter where you live.

It’s hard to believe that summer is nearly over. As we transition to the State Fair and then back to school, I’m so excited to keep celebrating the best of Minnesota. Thank you for staying engaged and making your voices heard in every place where decisions are made.