MINNESOTA FAMILY BUDGETS, ROADS & BRIDGES ARE PRIORITIES WITH SURPLUS
SAINT PAUL, MN—The Office of Management and Budget (MMB) released their November Economic Forecast Thursday, revealing a projected surplus of $1.871 billion for Fiscal Years 2016-2017. State law puts $594 million into the state budget reserve, leaving an overall projected balance of $1.206 billion. As a result of Republican restraint, $865 million was left on the bottom line following the 2015 Special Session, helping bolster budget reserves and putting Minnesota in strong fiscal shape heading into the new year.
“Part of why I was elected in 2014 was to stop the over-taxing in Minnesota,” said Assistant Majority Leader Rep. Dave Baker, R-Willmar. "It's my goal to help Minnesotans keep more of their money they work so hard for, and hope we'll take steps to provide tax relief to families next year. I anticipate robust debate on how we can use a portion of the surplus in 2016. I will fight hard for roads and bridges, broadband and health services. I continue to seek feedback from our residents on what they want, and hope to hear about your budget priorities as we look ahead to next session. "
"Today's budget news is an opportunity to put Minnesotans first and make their lives better by letting them keep more of their hard-earned dollars," said House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown. "Instead of increasing government budgets, let's increase family budgets by providing middle-class tax relief during the next session."
"A budget surplus is good news for Minnesota, but an indication that government is over-collecting from taxpayers," added House Majority Leader Joyce Peppin, R-Rogers. "We look forward to focusing on the priorities shared by Minnesotans across the state including middle-class tax relief and passing the Republican transportation plan that provides sustainable funding for roads and bridges over the next ten years without increasing the gas tax."
During the press conference, Governor Mark Dayton also declared his signature proposal to increase the state's gas tax "dead."
"I'm pleased that after nine months Governor Dayton has finally come around to our position and ruled out a harmful gas tax increase," added Speaker Daudt. "I'm disappointed that House Democrats refuse to commit to Minnesotans that they won't try to raise the gas tax, and look forward to working with the Senate and the governor to pass our long-term transportation plan that invests $7 billion into roads and bridges without a tax increase.
In 2015, the House passed a 10 year, $7 billion transportation plan that would fix 15,500 lane miles of road and 330 bridges statewide with bipartisan support. The governor and Democratic lawmakers blocked the measure from becoming law because of their insistence on a gas tax increase.