In latest budget proposal, Walz seeks to address Minnesotans’ health, safety

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Gov. Tim Walz has announced his latest budget proposal Wednesday, which he claims will help protect Minnesotans’ health and safety.

Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan, Minnesota Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington, and President of the Minnesota Firefighter Initiative George Esbenson were among those who joined Walz for the afternoon announcement.

Walz claims investments for veterans, first responders and peace officers are within the latest proposal.

Specifically, Walz says the proposal suggests investing $300 million over three years in “cities, counties and tribes across the state for them to meet a variety of local public safety needs.”

Walz said, “The best policing is prevention. There is multiple things we need to do but that is huge”

Additionally, Walz claims the proposal would include an investment into officer recruitment, with a recruitment and retention advertising campaign, option for student loan financing, and law enforcement retention incentives.

In terms of the health of Minnesotans, Walz says his proposal would establish “an accessible health insurance option for Minnesotans who lack health insurance” via the MinnesotaCare program.

Additionally, Walz claims his proposal would include funding to provide those under the age of 21 with 12-month, continuous Medical Assistance eligibility in an effort to reduce health coverage interruptions.

The proposal, Walz said, also includes an increase of $19.5 million in fiscal year 2023 and $19 million in fiscal year 2024-25, intended for the “Family Homelessness Prevention and Assistance Program.” Walz claims this funding would be intended for direct housing assistance, but could also be used “to better coordinate access to prevention services and funding.”

Furthermore, Walz proposed spending $10 million per year, starting in 2023, to expand the “Homework Starts at Home” program, claiming the funding would provide housing assistance for families with young children that are at risk for homelessness.

View the proposal breakdown here.

The proposal is part of the “Budget to Move Minnesota Forward” packages Walz and Flanagan have recently announced.

Walz and Flanagan announced a new budget package proposal Tuesday, claiming it will help support children and families.

RELATED: Walz seeks paid family leave, expanded child care in proposed budget

Senate Republicans called that specific package proposal a “spending spree,” and Republican Senate K-12 Education Committee Chair Roger Chamberlain claimed that “throwing more money into schools without addressing literacy and allowing kids and educators to catch up is the wrong direction.”

Last week, Walz and Flanagan announced a package they say is aimed at expanding economic opportunity, which would include $700 million in direct payments to Minnesotans through “Walz Checks.”

RELATED: Walz announces budget package, which includes direct payments to Minnesotans

Senate Majority Leader Jeremy Miller (R-Winona) called the proposal of “Walz Checks” “nothing more than an election year gimmick, and it will barely cover the inflationary costs of everyday necessities.”

Meanwhile, earlier Wednesday, Senate Republicans touched on public safety, education and taxes as priority items they said they plan to address during the upcoming legislative session.

RELATED: Senate Republicans announce priorities for 2022 legislative session

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