Nearly 400,000 veterans call Minnesota home. Our veterans have endured great sacrifice to make our state and country safer. That is why Governor Dayton’s budget invests in Minnesota veterans to ensure they receive the education, opportunities, and benefits they earned through their service.
How the Dayton Budget Helps Veterans
» $1 Million to Expand the Minnesota GI Bill. The Governor’s budget expands the Minnesota GI Bill program to all generations of veterans, not just those serving on or after 9/11. This expansion will ensure all Minnesota veterans have access to the education and training they need to get good paying jobs.
» $1 Million for County Veteran Service Office Grants. The Governor’s budget provides increased grant funding for County Veteran Services Offices, which help veterans and their families obtain benefits and services earned through military service.
» $400,000 for Honor Guards. The Governor’s budget includes $400,000 in permanent funding for the Honor Guard Program, which supports veterans and their families by providing military burial honors earned through their service and sacrifice. Governor Dayton is committed to ensuring all veterans who request funeral honors receive them.
» $200,000 for the Gold Star Program. The Governor’s budget includes $200,000 in permanent funding for the Gold Star Program, which supports the families of those service members who lost their lives in combat as they heal from their loss.
» $425,000 for new State Veterans Cemetery in Fillmore County. The Governor’s budget includes start-up and ongoing funding for a new state veterans cemetery in Fillmore County, opening in 2015. This State Veterans Cemetery will provide burial space for nearly 40,000 veterans. Governor Dayton believes every veteran deserves a dignified final resting place.
» $5 Million for Health Care IT Improvement. The Governor’s budget invests in IT infrastructure upgrades at the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs. This investment will allow the department to achieve industry standards in delivering high-quality health care to Minnesota veterans and ensure their safety.
New Investments to Keep Minnesotans Safe
The departments of Public Safety (DPS) and Corrections (DOC) are key elements of Minnesota’s public safety infrastructure, helping ensure the safety of our citizens. Governor Dayton’s budget invests in improving the safety of all Minnesotans by providing needed improvements and ensuring adequate staffing.
» Providing Body Armor to Protect Police Officers. The Governor’s budget reimburses law enforcement for 50% of their bullet proof vests. The current budget is insufficient to cover all reimbursement requests.
» Improving School Safety. The Governor’s budget reestablishes the Minnesota School Safety Center. The Center will work closely with state agencies and the federal government to provide resources to schools statewide for emergency planning, training, and preparedness.
» Improving Evidence Integrity and Forensic Analysis. The Governor’s budget includes funding for additional staff and equipment for Minnesota’s premier crime lab to ensure the integrity of evidence collection and forensic analysis. It will fund additional drug chemists and toxicologists to reduce turnaround time for forensic analysis at the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA).
» Modernizing an Aging Criminal History System. The Governor’s budget replaces the state’s aging criminal history system and crime reporting system. This measure will ensure crime trends in Minnesota are tracked more accurately and help hold criminals accountable for their crimes.
» Safe and Secure Incarceration. The Governor’s budget includes $38 million to ensure safe and secure incarceration and community supervision.
Adequate Prison Staffing. These investments ensure cuts are not made to staffing levels in our correctional institutions; 74% of DOC employees work directly with inmates and offenders on supervision in Minnesota communities.
Funding Programs that Work. Programs that lower recidivism will not be cut. Over 90% of all offenders in Minnesota prisons are addicted to or abuse drugs and alcohol. Providing treatment lowers their recidivism rate by 23%. Providing education and vocational training increases the likelihood of an offender finding employment by 59%. Post-secondary education lowers recidivism by 14%.
» Increasing Funding for the Courts. The Governor’s budget provides $33 million in new funding for Minnesota’s court system. For nearly a decade, the courts have suffered repeated cuts resulting in staff reductions and a backlog of caseloads. This new investment will maintain core justice operations and ensure justice is delivered swiftly.
» Increasing Funding for Public Defenders. The Governor’s budget provides $8.6 million in new funding for public defense services. This new investment will help maintain existing public defenders, create more manageable caseloads for public defenders, and enhance services for minority communities. Right now, caseloads for public defenders in Minnesota are 150% higher than standards recommended by the American Bar Association.
Investing in Minnesota’s Children
The most important investment our state can make is in our children. That is why Governor Dayton’s budget invests $139 million in proven programs that will help Minnesota’s children thrive today and in the future.
» Better Early Education. The Governor’s budget makes crucial investments in preparing children for success in school and narrowing Minnesota’s achievement gap.
$40 million for Early Childhood Education Scholarships. The Governor’s budget invests in scholarships that will help up to 11,000 more low-income Minnesota children in high quality childcare and preschool.
$44 Million for All Day Kindergarten. The Governor’s budget invests in optional All Day K, providing access for 85% of Minnesota students – or 54,000 kids.
» Strong Families. The Governor’s budget supports strong and healthy Minnesota families.
$2 Million in Rental Assistance for Low-Income Families. The Governor’s budget invests in rental assistance and services to allow children to attend the same school without interruption through the school year.
$20 Million for Quality Child Care for Kids with High Needs. The Governor’s budget invests in better rates and an add-on for providers with high quality ratings. The budget also guarantees child care for eligible teen parents.
$2.4 Million to Support Adoption. The Governor’s budget supports permanency for children by streamlining three existing adoption and foster care programs to best serve the interests of children.
$13.7 Million to Improve Employment for Parents. The Governor’s budget invests in cash assistance, home visits for teen parents to increase high school graduation rates, and local services to eliminate racial disparities.
Child Health and Safety. The Governor’s budget invests in health and safety of our kids.
$7.4 Million for Mental Health in Schools. The Governor’s budget expands access to mental health services for children with complex, high-cost conditions through increased funding to schools. This proposal doubles the percentage of Minnesota schools providing these services.
$4.5 Million to Reduce Child Maltreatment. The Governor’s budget invests in prevention and early identification of child abuse by expanding proven outreach strategies for high-risk families.