Governor’s revised budget includes increased higher ed spending

Tim Walz’s revised budget proposal still falls short of the University of Minnesota’s $87 million request.

Gov. Tim Walz greets staff before he announced the state budget proposal at the Minnesota Department of Revenue building on Tuesday, Feb. 19.

Tony Saunders

Gov. Tim Walz greets staff before he announced the state budget proposal at the Minnesota Department of Revenue building on Tuesday, Feb. 19.

Isabella Murray

New spending in DFL Gov. Tim Walz’s revised state budget gets the University of Minnesota closer to its full funding request over the next biennium. 

The newly tweaked budget – a total of $131 million less than the initial proposal–comes after the state’s projected surplus shrunk by nearly $500 million last month. But updates also include $37 million in increased spending for certain areas, primarily higher education. The University’s proposed allocation went up $11.9 million under the new budget.  

“The revised budget is balanced, and it’s fiscally sound,” Minnesota Management and Budget Commissioner Myron Frans said at a press conference Friday. “Our revised budget continues to invest in education, health care and community prosperity.”

The governor’s original budget funded $39.2 million of the University’s $87 million biennial budget request. Changes suggest the University receive $51 million total over the next two years. 

These tweaks occurred after communication between the governor’s office and lawmakers, said Senate higher education committee member Sen. Greg Clausen, DFL-Apple Valley.

“We’ve been advocating that we need to put more funding in higher education, so the governor listened and reacted with some additional funding,” Clausen said. “That’s a positive, certainly.”

Over two-thirds of the budget’s new spending is for higher education. The Minnesota State system also saw a proposed increase of $13.2 million, bringing its total to $65 million. 

“Myself and others on the committee recognize that we were being underfunded in higher education,” Clausen said. “I’m not sure it’s still enough but it’s welcomed.”