Gov. Mark Dayton’s 2016 supplemental budget recommendations would provide the University of Minnesota with more than $35 million for three projects — more funding than what some legislators expected.
The University is asking for $38.85 million in this year’s supplemental budget request for four projects to support health care and mining statewide and to enhance cyber security technologies.
Because the state is sitting on a $900 million surplus, the University had to compete with a large number of requests from other groups. The school received a larger recommended allocation than what some legislators were expecting, said Rep. Alice Hausman, DFL-St. Paul.
“In a year like this, I think the ‘U’ was fortunate, and the governor was generous,” she said.
Dayton’s recommendation provides $35.25 million of the University’s request.
The governor’s proposal recommends a one-time allocation to improve cyber security system-wide and recurring funding to restore support for two health programs that were formerly financially supported by UCare. The proposal also includes funding to improve access to quality health care across Minnesota.
“I am grateful Governor Dayton recognizes the importance of these initiatives,” President Eric Kaler said in a statement. “I look forward to continued partnership with the governor and the Legislature.”
Dayton did not recommend funding the school’s mining research proposal, which would have added another $3.6 million in recurring funding to the allocation.
The University’s mining proposal would address revitalizing Minnesota’s mining region, improve the quality of metals mined and create technologies to reduce sulfate in water.
Hausman said she wasn’t surprised the University’s request for mining research funding wasn’t fulfilled.
“It’s not a thriving industry,” she said. “It’s moving in new directions, and it’s very up in the air.”
Dayton’s supplemental budget recommendations follows his 2016 bonding bill released in January. That bonding proposal recommends providing the University with $153.3 million for infrastructure projects across the University.
The University initially requested $236.3 million from Dayton’s bonding bill for six projects.
Dayton recommended giving the University $27.2 million for a chemistry building on the Duluth campus, $66.7 million for a new Health Sciences education facility on the Twin Cities campus and $4.4 million for a plant growth research facility on the St. Paul campus. The recommendation also included $55 million for the University’s Higher Education Asset Preservation and Replacement request, a fund for improving existing buildings.
University leaders are planning to meet with legislators to get full funding for the school’s request.