Walz unveils new budget plan for public safety; GOP reps want more

Walz and Flanagan announce their public safety budget
Walz and Flanagan announce their public safety budget(Northern News Now)
Published: Jan. 23, 2023 at 6:34 PM CST
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ST. PAUL, MN -- Governor Tim Walz and Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan announced the next phase of their 2023 budget plan Monday, highlighting proposed investments into health, housing and public safety.

The plan involves a $300 Million towards public safety statewide.

“Being able to provide protective and police services, being able to make sure everybody goes home at night and has a safe home to live in and has access to healthcare. All of those things are at the core of what enhances life in Minnesota,” said Gov. Walz during his announcement Monday.

The governor stopped by a fire hall in Roseville to showcase his plans to invest in fire resources and training.

Walz and Flanagan outlined $40 Million to help Minnesotans recover from natural disasters.

“This proposal will make sure that communities have what they need, it will be coupled with local government aid increases to cities that receive that.”

Flanagan echoed the importance of investments in housing and health care, saying they go hand-in-hand with public safety.

“Having a safe and stable place to live is foundational to health and safety,” she said.

On top of the $300 million funding, the proposal encourages new legislation on gun control, pushing for universal background checks and aiming to increase the minimum age to purchase certain firearms.

It also adds funding for law enforcement body cameras, with the goal of implementing them in as many agencies as possible across the state. Plus new programs to decrease violence and trafficking, including a new Office of Missing and Murdered African American Women.

“We recognize that some situations are best addressed when we work across levels of government, to reduce gun violence, to support victims of crime and to respond and recover from disasters,” said Flanagan.

Republicans responded to the plan, saying they want to see a bigger investment into public safety.

Respresentative Spencer Igo (R - Wabana Township) issued the following statement:

“Public safety and keeping our communities safe is a core function of government—one that should be prioritized by legislators. This is an issue that we’ve heard about from Minnesotans from all four corners of the state as we deal with the impacts of the largest spike in crime in years. It’s good to see that Gov. Walz is proposing to invest some funding to address this problem, sadly his proposal falls woefully short. The reality is that the best violence prevention is more police. Given the historic law enforcement shortage, we need direct investments in local police as well as hiring and retention bonuses. With a total state budget proposal from Gov. Walz that is expected to far exceed $50 billion and with a $17.5 billion budget surplus, we can do better—especially when it comes to keeping our neighborhoods safe.”