Gov. Mark Dayton and the state Legislature have taken extraordinary steps in reinvesting and recommitting to higher education in Minnesota over the past year. In May, Dayton signed a budget that included appropriations for an undergraduate tuition freeze and additional investments in research at the University of Minnesota.
Though the Legislature continues to discuss details of the 2014 bonding bill, we are confident that lawmakers will again provide sufficient funding for the University.
University President Eric Kaler praised House Capital Investment Chair Alice Hausman’s bonding proposal last Friday. It provides $224.2 million to the University and fully funds five projects, including the St. Paul campus’s aquatic invasive species and bee laboratories and renovations to the Tate Laboratory of Physics.
Recently, Dayton has tried to quickly pass a bill through the Legislature that would give tax breaks to Minnesotans. In Dayton’s revised budget, students would be among the list of people who would receive a tax break. Minnesota Public Radio reported March 6 that, according to details released from the governor’s office, Dayton’s budget would provide 285,000 recent graduates with up to $190 per year by deducting their student loan interest, and 40,000 current students and parents would receive a tuition deduction of $140 per year, on average.
Dayton’s proposed tax cut on student loans is a sign that his commitment to helping students and promoting higher education will extend beyond the two-year tuition freeze.
We urge the Legislature to include these tax deductions in the final budget. The deductions would greatly benefit all college students and their families in Minnesota, not just those of us who attend a public university.