It’s fair time in Otter Tail County this week and I hope to see you at this year’s events in Fergus Falls (today through Saturday) and Perham (Thursday through Sunday). County fairs are great for talking with constituents and, between visiting exhibits and nibbling on tasty treats, I hope you’ll take a minute to say “hello” and let me know of any issues that are on your mind.
Even though the Legislature currently is not in session, my work as chairman of the House committee on higher education continues. I am planning to do some campus visits after classes resume this fall and will be attending homecoming events at M-State - Fergus Falls. Later this month I will be traveling to Duluth, where representatives from UMD will be demonstrating some of the research they do aboard a ship on Lake Superior. I look forward to seeing their presentation.
On a different note, Minnesota Management & Budget recently issued an updated economic forecast for our state and it shows revenue is $348 million above what was projected in February for the first half of this year. That is 1.6 percent more than previously projected and MMB now projects General Fund revenues in 2018 to be 4.7 percent greater than in last year.
MMB cites numerous factors that are leading to our state’s continued economic surge. Tax relief at both the state and federal levels are part of the equation, along with very low unemployment and a historic investment we made this biennium in roads and bridges. The next complete forecast will be issued in November, providing a preliminary framework as the Legislature prepares to set a new two-year state budget in the 2019 session. The way our economy is performing, there is reason to be optimistic another surplus could be in the works.
This growth trend is refreshing after the Great Recession brought a string of shortfalls. It is good to see the decisions we are making in St. Paul are helping to produce positive results.
Finally, as we reach the end of this week we will be 60 days removed from the end of the 2018 legislative session. At that point, legislators are prohibited from sending email updates such as this one until November. I will continue working to represent the people of District 8A as much as ever and, of course, personal communication always is welcome.
Enjoy the rest of this summer, be safe out on the water and I will be back once the black-out period is lifted. Also, a number of primary elections are set to take place Aug. 14 this year, so be sure to exercise your vote.