There once again are numerous jottings related to COVID-19 to pass along this week, but first I would like to send wishes for a Happy Mother’s Day and good luck in the fishing opener. These events sure will have a different feel in 2020. I hope you are able to make the best of the hand we’ve been dealt and enjoy the weekend.
Here is a look at some of this week’s headlines:
Minnesota Management and Budget on Tuesday released an interim budget projection showing the state faces a nearly $2.43 billion deficit for the remainder of the current biennium, which ends June 30, 2021. It’s the first time the number is in the red since the Great Recession.
The new number represents a nearly $4 billon change from what was projected just a couple of months ago. The full forecast released in February projected a $1.5 billion budget surplus. Because the next forecast is not scheduled until November, this projection has limited updated estimates of expected revenues and expenses. It also reflects appropriations enacted this session.
These numbers show the state is suffering financial difficulties right along with families and businesses throughout Minnesota. When businesses are not taking in earnings and people are seeing their income reduced or eliminated, it translates to a reduction in state revenue. That is a major reason the governor should start working with the legislature to help create a path forward for safely re-opening our economy and making tough decisions regarding state spending given the realities we face.
On Tuesday, the governor announced Executive Order 20-51, which allows hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, and clinics – whether veterinary, medical, or dental – to resume many currently delayed procedures. These expanded services may occur once facilities have developed criteria for determining which procedures should proceed during the COVID-19 pandemic and have provided a plan to maintain a safe environment for facility staff, patients, and visitors. House Republicans urged the governor to take this step in a letter dated April 29, so it is good to see him respond this week.
Have a good weekend, stay healthy and, as always, let me know how I may be of assistance. The legislative session is set to end May 18 and I will keep you posted as developments occur.