The task force’s members have been meeting since June and had deliberately not asked Melcher for the runs. Their reasoning: It was better to craft a policy prescription that made sense and then let the resident wizard do his thing.
The presentation’s fat and sassy bottom line, which the task force promptly voted to approve: Schools could see a 7 percent increase in funding in the next four to six years without too much taxpayer pain. State education spending would rise from $9 billion a year to $9.7 billion by fiscal year 2019 at the latest with revenue increasing 1.2 percent to 1.7 percent a year.
The biggest structural fix in the package is the proposed shift of $300 of the property taxes Minnesotans now pay to their districts from a local levy to a state one, a smoother, more progressive tax. The money would go into the general education formula, which would be restored to its fiscal year 2003 level, adjusted for inflation.
The second-biggest item: State aid for special ed services, lagging some $600 million behind their actual cost, would rise by $150 million to $200 million.