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ST. PAUL – State Representative Bob Gunther (R-Fairmont) said he was happy to receive news that Minnesota will benefit from its second consecutive budget surplus. State economists project Minnesota to face a $323 million windfall, which is added onto the $876 million surplus that was projected just three months ago.
“Because of legislative actions, we came out and turned a mammoth $5 billion deficit into a positive $1.2 billion surplus in less than a year,” Gunther said. “There’s no doubt the naysayers would be slamming our decisions if we faced another projected deficit, so I think it’s time we take some credit for turning this economy around.”
Gunther said spending restraint and revenue collections are spurring the continued economic growth, noting that in just three short months, income tax and sales tax collections have risen by $71 million.
Gunther said state law requires any surplus to be used to replenish budget reserves and to pay back the school funding shift that has been enacted by legislatures during past budget cycles. Gunther said $318 million of this latest surplus will help pay down this shift, and added that as long as these positive projections continue, the shift will be paid back in record time.
“Let’s remember, public schools are getting paid $50 per pupil by the state due to the shift, when in reality the inconvenience is costing them between six and ten dollars per child,” Gunther said. “That’s a $40 a year return for letting us use their funding for a short period of time.”
“I truly expect that our days of projected deficits are coming to an end,” Gunther said. “We are putting people in Minnesota to work, which always takes care of state economic problems.”
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