Skip to main content Skip to office menu Skip to footer
Capital IconMinnesota Legislature

Legislative News and Views - Rep. Josh Heintzeman (R)

Back to profile

Legislative Update from Rep. Josh Heintzeman

Friday, December 8, 2017

Dear Friends,

I hope you and your family had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday spent reflecting on the rich blessings God has given us. I am thankful for my beautiful wife Keri and our six children that keep me centered on what truly matters in life. I am also thankful for the opportunity to represent you, your family, and our community. It is truly an honor and privilege. Thank you.

November Budget Forecast

Early this week, the Minnesota Management and Budget office (MMB) released its annual November budget forecast. The forecast is a twice-annual event that provides a look at the state’s financial health. These projections are an important factor when considering legislation for the upcoming session. Generally speaking, we tend to use the end-of-year forecast as a general guide but rely more heavily on the forecast released in late February or early March.

The forecast released Tuesday showed that the state is projected to have a $188 million deficit next year. While this number is not necessarily “good” news, I remain optimistic about our state’s economy. And if you dig a bit into MMB’s forecast, they do too.

The forecast shows that despite the projected deficit, Minnesota jobs numbers remain strong. Consumer confidence is up, the state’s GDP continues to grow, wages are growing, and unemployment is staying low. These are all good indicators that our state’s economic health is strong.

When looking at the deficit, it is important to add some needed context. First, the projected deficit does not assume that any tax reform will take place at the federal level—despite the fact both the U.S. Senate and House have passed legislation that reforms our tax code in recent weeks.

Second, the forecast assumes 2.2% GDP growth in 2017 despite 3.1% growth in the second quarter and 3.3% growth in the third quarter of this year.

Third, the forecast takes into account $178 million in new state spending to fund the Child Health Insurance Program (CHIP). This spending is to make up for a funding shortfall due to the program not being reauthorized by the federal government. However, all signs in Washington D.C. point to the program being fully funded yet again, thus almost completely erasing our projected deficit.

Ultimately, we will know more in February, but I am optimistic that we will get better news once there is more clarity on what is happening at the federal level.

As always, please continue to contact me with your questions or concerns. Your input is always appreciated, and very important to me.