The 2024 legislative session so far: $400,000 to combat racism in children and other eye-popping spending proposals

Unlike the 2023 legislative session, lawmakers have very little room for extra spending this year. After blowing Minnesota’s $18 billion surplus and raising taxes by over $9 billion, the state’s budget is flashing red.

Still, that hasn’t stopped the introduction of some eye-popping spending proposals.

Consider the following.

Lawmakers have proposed spending $1 million on non-profits that would support LGBTQ people moving to Minnesota. The bills for this proposal are HF 3361 and SF 3502.

Under HF 3361, lawmakers would allocate $400,000 to “Before Racism,” an organization that works to combat racial bias in children aged one to five.

Explore Minnesota would get $100,000 under HF 3767 for the Northern Lights Music Festival.

HF 3687 proposes spending $10 million for an entrepreneur innovation center in Minneapolis.

After banning American Indian Mascots last session, bill SF 3741 would provide funding to help public schools make changes to their mascots.

Certainly, the individual dollar amounts may not be staggering. But it bears asking, are these the kinds of spending priorities Minnesotans have in mind when paying taxes?