The Potluck

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz signs $72 billion budget

By: - May 24, 2023 2:20 pm

Gov. Tim Walz ceremoniously signing the state’s $72 billion two-year budget on the steps of the Capitol on Wednesday May 24, 2023. Photo by Michelle Griffith/Minnesota Reformer.

Gov. Tim Walz signed the state’s two-year, $72 billion budget into law on the steps of the state Capitol Wednesday, surrounded by hundreds of supporters celebrating the most impactful state budget in memory.

The Minnesota Legislature adjourned this week — on time — after passing numerous budget bills with the stated goal of making Minnesota the best state in which to raise a family, while seeking to close some of the nation-leading racial gaps that have beset Minnesota for decades.

“When I say ‘One Minnesota,’ that doesn’t mean we’re all the same. It means we work across differences to create a place where all of us can thrive,” Walz told the crowd of union members, advocates and DFL supporters. 

The second-term governor — who has yet to veto a bill — signed 12 budget bills into law, including a $3 billion tax bill; an education bill that increases spending on schools by $2 billion; and a sweeping labor bill that has among the most significant worker protection laws in state history.

Walz highlighted the DFL-majority’s accomplishments, like codifying the right to reproductive health care, another bill deeming Minnesota a “trans refuge state,” and a third mandating the state’s utilities transition to 100% carbon-free energy by 2040.

At a media briefing after the ceremonial signing, Walz said there’s “a few” bills left on his desk that he hasn’t signed, including a bill establishing minimum pay rates for Uber and Lyft drivers and a bill banning anti-competitive health care mergers that could spell trouble for the proposed Fairview-Sanford merger.

“I’m still looking,” Walz said when asked if he will sign the Uber/Lyft bill.

Walz told the Reformer he is still considering signing the bill that could affect the Fairview-Sanford merger. When asked if he is supportive of the merger, he said he supports “the process.”

“I support the process to decide what’s best for Minnesota, and I think that’s the process that’s happening right now,” Walz said.

Walz was joined by Senate Majority Leader Kari Dziedzic, DFL-Minneapolis and House Speaker Melissa Hortman, DFL-Brooklyn Park, who both said the diverse Legislature was instrumental in passing their priorities.

“Diversity made us look more like Minnesota and it made us stronger. Our diversity forced us to have real discussions and listen to each other,” Dziedzic said.

Walz will hold a signing ceremony for a bill legalizing recreational marijuana in the coming days.

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Michelle Griffith
Michelle Griffith

Michelle Griffith covers Minnesota politics and policy for the Reformer, with a focus on marginalized communities. Most recently she was a reporter with The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead in North Dakota where she covered state and local government and Indigenous issues.