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Walz touts taxpayer funded school lunches, clean energy plan

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(The Center Square) – Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz touted recent spending programs in his State of the State address.

Walz bragged about expanding access to pre-kindergarten child care, $300 million of public safety spending, and establishing taxpayer-funded public college tuition for low-income families.

“We’ve made it easier to balance career and family by making paid family and medical leave the law of the land,” Walz said.

Walz welcomed the state’s goal of 100% clean energy by 2040. The U.S. Energy Information Administration says that in 2022, renewables accounted for 31% of total in-state electricity net generation, while coal comprised 27%, nuclear power supplied 24%, and natural gas contributed 18%.

The governor said the state aims to cut the interest rate on medical debt to zero and make it affect credit scores less. He also applauded the Democrats’ program to provide taxpayer-funded breakfast and lunch to all students regardless of family income.

“The data shows that 30% more kids are eating breakfast, and 11% more eating lunch, than before – illustrating the scope of the problem we’re working to solve,” Walz said. “All those kids were going without before, and now they can focus on their studies with full stomachs.”

Walz did not mention upcoming budget woes. Minnesota projects a $2.4 billion surplus for the fiscal year 2024-25 but expects to face a $2.3 billion deficit in fiscal year 2026-27.

Senate Minority Leader Johnson, R-East Grand Forks, said Walz didn’t address pressing problems such as rural EMS funding and closing nursing homes.

“Businesses and entrepreneurs are struggling under the weight of increased taxes, burdensome regulations, and a workforce shortage,” Johnson said in a statement. “These job creators and economic drivers need more than grants and handouts, they need real relief to keep going.”

Johnson called on Walz to address the upcoming deficit and a “bureaucratic state government bloated with inefficiencies, fraud, and wasteful spending.”

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