Monday, June 22, 2015
With the passage of financial bills during the recent special session of the Legislature, the next two-year budget for the state of Minnesota has been completed. Spending has been increased, although the percentage of that increase is one of the smallest in recent years. Over-all, we will spend 5.3 percent more than in the current biennium ending June 30, with the largest increase being in the area of K-12 education.
Spending in the area of agriculture, while not a large portion of the state budget, saw a sizeable increase. One of the reasons for that was additional funding earmarked for the fight against Avian Influenza. State agencies will receive an additional $6.5 million for their work in this area. Those agencies include the departments of Agriculture, Health, and Public Safety, along with the Board of Animal Health and the DNR. In addition, $10 million was allocated to the Rural Finance Authority to make no-interest loans to producers affected by the disease. Another $26 million was allocated to the University of Minnesota in the bonding bill to improve the poultry testing lab in Willmar and the veterinary isolation facility on the University campus in St. Paul.