In a time that is bringing us some pretty difficult news - locally, nationally, and internationally - I'm glad to report some positive news for our state's finances.
Minnesota Management & Budget, the state's fiscal agency, announced yesterday that our state government is expected to have a surplus of more than $1.9 billion for the current biennium. Roughly $665 million of that will be set aside for reserves and repayments, leaving about $1.2 billion.
There will undoubtedly be many claims on these funds in the coming legislative session. Earlier this year, the House majority pushed unsuccessfully to have much of the surplus paid in property-tax refunds to owners of large tracts of commercial real estate, such as developers of big box stores. (I was in the thick of fighting this as a member of the Property Tax & Local Government Finance Committee.)
I would hope that we could have other fiscal priorities in the 2016 session. Despite our stable economy and budget, there are still many Minnesota families who are struggling with higher costs, slowing wage growth, and a feeling of being left behind. Just as the budget forecast reflects the broad strength of Minnesota's economy, so we should make sure that the forecast translates into state policy that improves the lives of all Minnesotans.
I would love to hear your ideas about our budget surplus and our agenda for the upcoming session. Please don't hesitate to reach out anytime.
State Representative, District 64B
321 State Office Building