House DFLers announced a package of one-time appropriations last week totaling more than $190 million for “solutions that address the climate crisis.”
Members of the House Climate Action Caucus, chaired by Rep. Patty Acomb (DFL-Minnetonka), unveiled the proposals during a Monday press conference.
“Minnesotans have been telling legislators about the urgent need to address climate change,” said Acomb. “The new investments we are proposing today would enable Minnesotans to participate directly in solutions like energy efficiency, solar, electric vehicles, and conservation.”
The proposed appropriations – each carried in individual bills – include $85.5 million for energy efficiency projects, $26 million for solar projects, $55 million for electric transportation projects, $15 million for local government projects, and $10 million for generic “environment” projects.
“This package of proposals we’re announcing today will help Minnesotans make their homes more energy efficient, purchase an electric vehicle – they will make jobs installing solar panels on public schools and manufacturing electric school buses for public transit. This proposal will be a win-win for both the environment and our communities,” Acomb continued. “Climate change is an urgent issue and we have the opportunity to start working on it today.”
Acomb said the $191.5 million would come out of Minnesota’s projected $1.3 billion budget surplus.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for one-time costs and the urgency, the need is there,” she said. “Since it’s just a portion of the surplus dollars, I think that’s a perfect place for it.”
She said DFL House leadership is “supportive” of the proposals, but is waiting for the February budget forecast to be released before getting on board with any recommendations.
A press release from the Climate Action Caucus said the proposed appropriations have the support of youth climate activists and organized labor leaders.
“The decisions made by elected officials today have major consequences for my generation and future generations,” said Anna Grace Hottinger, a high school student and member of the 100% Campaign. “Me and my peers are confused and scared about what our future will look like. I’m here to thank state lawmakers who are listening to us and working hard to put our ideas into action.”
House Democrats have also proposed using $500 million of the budget surplus for an investment in early childhood education, The Minnesota Sun reported. Senate Republicans, however, would like to return the surplus to taxpayers in the form of tax cuts and reforms.
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