Paying back the education shift is a priority at the Legislature. Our students deserve a high quality education without our schools feeling the burden of borrowing. This year because of the February forecast we have already begun to pay back the K-12 education shift. The prudent fiscal management by the legislature and increased growth in revenue contributed to the surplus in November and February, totaling $1.2 billion.
Of the $1.2 billion, according to state law it must be allocated to refilling our budget reserves, and roughly $318 million can go toward paying back the K-12 education shift. And now is the time to dip into our reserves and start paying off the remainder of the shift.
A bill that will continue to pay back the education shift was passed on the House floor on Thursday. The $1.2 billion budget surplus allows us to put kids first and start paying back the education shift.
This bill would allow the state to tap $1 billion of cash in reserves to pay back the $400 million in the education shift passed as part of the budget agreement with Governor Dayton last year. We would also be able to make the first repayment of the $2 billion education shift Democrats passed when they controlled the Legislature in 2010.
Reducing the state’s debt is the right thing to do, for our schools, and for our long-term financial health. The reason our state’s credit rating was downgraded last year was due to long-term debt the state has endured. By reducing this debt, our credit rating should have a more positive outlook.
Beginning to repay the education shift early is the right thing to do for our children, for our schools and for the state. This is a win-win for everyone.
Let me know if you have any legislative questions, you can reach me at 651-296-4946 or by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org