We received a new state economic forecast from the Office of Minnesota Management and Budget on Thursday. It shows a projected surplus of more than $1 billion through Fiscal Year 2016-17.
The MMB report says revenue is anticipated to reach $41.9 billion through the next biennium, down slightly from previous projections. Reports indicate the forecast surplus is just over enough to cover expected growth in spending obligations.
That is good news as we continue to work our way back from a very deep recession. We will be setting a two-year state budget in January and it will be important for us to be careful and acknowledge this is not just a free pot of money. It is our job to do right by the taxpayers, especially since the current Democrat majority just handed them a $2 billion tax increase.
My thought is we need to stick to our priorities and fund them without raising taxes. State revenue might be increasing, but household incomes have not risen at the same pace. Minnesota families need some breathing room and they should come first as we set a new budget.
The new economic information is helpful, but the figures it provides are subject to change. The next full forecast will come in February, closer to when final details on the next state budget are put in place by our new Republican House majority. We also need to consider how future spending obligations will come into play and how they may dent the surplus.
I will keep you posted as things develop. Until then, please stay in touch and let me know your thoughts on the issues.