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ST. PAUL – State Representative Bob Gunther (R-Fairmont) said Minnesota’s projected $2.2 billion surplus is good news, but cautions those who believe state lawmakers can now go on a spending spree.
“This is not a dedicated funding source,” Gunther said. “$1 billion of this surplus is one time funding. We can only use this money once, and if we spend it all on government programs, we will need to find another funding source - like raising income taxes - to pay for these increases in the future.”
Gunther added that the surplus figure does not take inflation into account – meaning the true surplus amount is much less than the $2.2 billion figure.
“If this money is spent on one time programs – like a property tax rebate or transportation improvements – Minnesota will be in better fiscal shape than if it is used to further increase the escalating cost of government,” Gunther noted.
Gunther said the surplus results from initiatives championed by House Republicans and Governor Pawlenty when Minnesota faced a $4.5 billion deficit in 2003. “Had we raised taxes and not reformed a few ways state government does business, there is no doubt we would not have this windfall,” Gunther concluded.
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