Yesterday the Office of Minnesota Management & Budget announced a state budget surplus of $1.87 billion for fiscal years 2016-17. After $665 million is put into state reserve accounts, as required by law, that number is reduced to $1.2 billion. The forecast is good news, but many ordinary Minnesotans haven’t felt the economic recovery.
Minnesota’s growing budget surplus confirms what we’ve been seeing all year – that Minnesota’s economy continues to grow and recover, but there are areas where we have more work to do. We have an opportunity to raise incomes and opportunity for ordinary Minnesotans and make sure our economy is working for everyone.
The forecast revealed that Minnesota’s economy continues to strengthen. Minnesota’s unemployment rate is down to 3.7 percent. My main focus in 2016 will be to expand incomes and grow economic opportunity for middle class families.
The forecast points to continued growth in Minnesota’s economy, but it also underlines the urgency required to help Minnesota families who have been left behind. I think we do best when we practice fair and balanced budgeting, and that means using this surplus to invest in job creation, education, and property tax relief that helps middle-class families find prosperity.
The next economic forecast will be in late February 2016. The 2016 Legislative Session begins on March 8th. A major focus of the next session will be to pass a robust bonding bill to create jobs and to help local communities stop property tax increases on middle-class homeowners and small businesses.