The Legislature adjourned the 2018 session a few minutes before midnight on Sunday. There were a few major bills that passed in the final minutes including bonding and pension reform. A supplemental budget bill and a tax bill were also passed Saturday, but both are expected to be vetoed by Gov. Dayton. Below are the details of what was included and is expected to be signed or vetoed.
A wide-ranging 990-page omnibus supplemental budget bill passed the Legislature early in the morning on Sunday. The bill included funding for every aspect of state government, including higher education. The bill passed after last-minute negotiations broke down between the legislative leadership and governor. Gov. Dayton has stated publicly that he intends to veto this bill. Prior to passage, the Governor sent conferees a list of 117 objections he had with the spending bill. Conferees changed or deleted 71 of the Governor’s objections in an attempt at compromise.
The higher education article includes $3 million appropriated to Minnesota State for campus support. Also included in the bill is language requiring MinnState to develop a plan to increase the use of affordable textbooks and instructional materials.
If Gov. Dayton follows through on his veto threat, as is expected, there will not be any supplemental funding for MinnState campuses for FY19.
After an earlier version of a bonding bill failed in the Senate, a new version was negotiated between legislative leaders of both parties and that compromise package was passed late on Sunday. The bonding bill is a $1.57 billion package, including $825 million in general obligation bonding. It also includes $416.6 million in trunk highway bonding, $63 million in user financing, nearly $45.83 million in Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund appropriations and $41.25 million in general fund spending.
The bill includes $129 million for Minnesota State, of which $45 million is for asset preservation, or HEAPR, and the remaining $84 million is for individual capital projects on various campuses (see below). The bill includes funding for all three projects at State universities but leaves a large gap between the final HEAPR number and the $130 million request.
It is unknown if Dayton will sign the bill.
The individual projects funded in the bill for MinnState include:
- Bemidji State University: Academic Learning Center
- Rochester Community and Technical College: Memorial and Plaza Halls
- Minnesota State University, Mankato: Clinical Sciences Phase II
- Anoka-Ramsey Community College: Nursing and Business
- Century College: Applied Technology Center
- Normandale Community College: Classroom and Student Services
- Minnesota State University Moorhead: Weld Hall
- Inver Hills Community College: Technology and Business Center
- Riverland Community College: Transportation, Trade and Industrial Education Center
- Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College: Maajiigi
TAXES and EDUCATION FUNDING:
Lawmakers also put together a tax and education (safe school funding) bill after Dayton vetoed the first tax bill they sent him. The tax bill is virtually identical to the first one. The Legislature added some one-time education funds and provisions allowing districts more flexibility within their budgets. However, in the remaining few hours of session, Dayton said he plans to veto the tax-education bill.
The omnibus pension and retirement bill was the final bill taken up by the Legislature before adjourning.
The bill passed with unanimous support from legislators. The package was supported by all stakeholders groups, including the IFO, and will help stabilize pension plans for more than 500,000 Minnesotans including all faculty under TRA. There are no changes for those faculty in IRAP.
KEY TRA PENSION BILL PROVISIONS:
- COLA: 1.0% for 5 years (2019-2023), then increase by 0.1% per year in each of next five years (2024-2028) to 1.5%
- COLA delay to age 66 (effective 7/1/2024) (exempt: Rule of 90, disability, survivors, age 62/30 years)
- Early retirement: Increase penalties, 5-year phase-in (fiscal years 2020-2024), age 62/30 years exempt
- Employee contribution increase: +0.25% beginning in FY2024 (7.5% to 7.75%)
- Employer contribution increases: +1.25% phased in over 6 years, FY19-24 (7.5% to 8.75%)
Administration officials told the committee the governor supports the bill. It also has the support of representatives of the state pension plans.
Remaining MinnState Contracts:
The bill that included our colleagues from MSCF and MSUAASF contracts passed the House with only a couple hours remaining last night. It passed by a vote of 127-4. It had passed the Senate earlier in the week and will now be sent to Gov. Dayton for his signature. As a reminder, the IFO contract was passed in March.
Governor Dayton must sign or veto the bills within 14 days after adjournment of the Legislature. If a bill is not signed in that 14-day window, it does not become law.
The 2019 legislative session will convene on January 8, 2019.
A complete summary of the 2018 legislative session will be sent once all bills are either signed or vetoed. That update will include a more comprehensive summary of all the provisions we advocated for or against throughout the 2018 Session. Please contact me in the meantime with any questions.