The Potluck

Governor proposes $300 million for public safety, $1.5 billion for housing 

By: - January 23, 2023 2:13 pm

Minnesota State Capitol. Photo courtesy of Minnesota House of Representatives.

Gov. Tim Walz said Monday that his budget proposal will include over $300 million that would go to cities and counties for public safety.

Walz unveiled the third of four pieces of his budget proposal, with the final piece coming Tuesday.

Walz’s budget includes a new statewide initiative to address violent crime, and $4.5 million up front and $1.5 million ongoing for grants to help local agencies buy body-worn cameras. 

House Minority Leader Lisa Demuth said the budget proposal falls short in terms of fighting crime.

“The $300 million of public safety aide proposed by the Governor is a fraction of the total budget and demonstrates where the governor’s priorities are. We need to be focused on getting dangerous criminals off the streets and making sure we are investing adequately in local law enforcement so they have the tools they need to investigate and prevent crimes.”

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said in a statement the budget proposal would help bolster the city’s approach to community safety, prioritizing police and 911 dispatchers’ recruitment and retention, expansion of violence prevention programs, and support for mental health response services.

Walz also proposed a $1.5 billion housing budget that includes permanent funding to end veterans’ homelessness; increase affordable housing; and prevent homelessness.

Walz also proposed creating a MinnesotaCare public option, which would allow people to buy into the state’s public health insurance program for low-income workers. He also proposed more spending to combat the opioid crisis.

Days after a 16-year-old boy was shot during a fight at a St. Paul recreation center, Walz proposed a gun control package. It includes universal background checks on all firearm sales; “extreme risk protection orders,” which allow family members to petition for temporary orders to remove firearms from people who are a threat to themselves or others; raising the minimum age for purchasing military-style firearms to 21; and banning high-capacity magazines.

“There’s just no darn reason that we should have handguns in recreation centers; there’s no reason to have handguns in the state Capitol,” Walz said.

Walz’s gun proposals will likely face stiff opposition from Republicans in the Legislature. Newly elected Democrats in greater Minnesota swing districts have also shown little appetite for gun control proposals. Democrats would need every vote in the 34-33 DFL-majority state Senate or have to pick up Republican votes. 

Walz’s budget proposal also includes:

  • $1 million annually to support firefighter training and education and increase funding for local fire agencies.
  • Money for the creation of an Office of Missing and Murdered African American Women to combat violence against and trafficking of Black women and girls.    

Walz will propose a tax cut and funding for state infrastructure when he releases his entire two-year budget on Tuesday.  

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Deena Winter
Deena Winter

Deena Winter has covered local and state government in four states over the past three decades, with stints at the Bismarck Tribune in North Dakota, as a correspondent for the Denver Post, city hall reporter in Lincoln, Nebraska, and regional editor for Southwest News in the western Minneapolis suburbs. Before joining the staff of the Reformer in 2021 she was a contributor to the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. She and her husband have a daughter, son, and very grand child. In her spare time, she likes to play tennis, jog, garden and attempt to check out all the best restaurants in the metro area.